One of Britain's oldest established Muslim communities has launched a national doorstep and publicity campaign on London's buses featuring Islamic principles of peace, which is aimed at countering extremism.
John Denham MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Shahid Malik MP, a minister in the same department, have both expressed support for the campaign by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
The initiative was launched with a message of 'loyalty, freedom and peace' on 100 buses in Central London today (18 January). Ahmadi Muslims say they will be personally calling on nearly three million households and presenting people with a leaflet that highlights Islam's commitment to 'fundamental values of loyalty, freedom, equality, respect and peace'.
The nationwide grassroots campaign, supported by a new website seeks to change the perception of Islam "by clarifying its true teachings and emphasising the need for these to be put in practice by all Muslims".
This drive to promote peace has been repeatedly emphasised by the worldwide leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who said: "A true Muslim can never raise his voice in hatred against his fellow citizens, nor for that matter against the ruling authority or government of the time...he should remain loyal and fully abide by the laws of the land of which he is a subject."
The campaign comes after a survey by an independent agency found that a quarter of respondents described Islam as the 'worst religion' on earth.
Rafiq Hayat, the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK said: "The true peaceful Islam is poles apart from the hatred that is preached by a minority. Such extremists do not represent Islam yet, through the media, their words and deeds have a damaging impact on Muslims and non-Muslims every day.
"By emphasising the values highlighted in this campaign we hope to facilitate a better understanding of Islam so that people are able judge for themselves the actions of those who claim to speak and act in its good name. Islam stresses the promotion of peace in words and deeds."
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community's track record of promoting peace was acknowledged by Minister Shahid Malik MP, who said that the Community "...can be proud of their commitment in championing the themes of 'loyalty, freedom, equality, respect' and 'peace' - themes which help build stronger, more cohesive communities."
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, established in 195 countries with 160 million followers, is know for its interfaith activities and humanitarian efforts that reflect its motto of 'Love for All, Hatred for None'.