Thousands of British Muslims are gathering at a mass peace rally in Surrey aimed at promoting religious tolerance and rejecting extremism.
An estimated 5,000 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), considered the biggest Muslim youth group in the United Kingdom, will participate in the three day event starting on Friday to promote dialogue around peace and rejecting religious extremism.
“The Ahmadiyya Youth at the rally will be reminded of their duty, as Muslims, to serve their country and play a positive role in society,” the AMYA said in a press release on Friday.
“This is part of the community’s national campaign to remove misunderstandings about Islam, and their belief that reform is sustained with teaching their own youth about Islam’s commitment to peace,” the association said.
Rafiq Hayat, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, said that the community was “troubled by the violence and terrorism that is based on a highly toxic extremist ideology that uses religion to further a fascist agenda”.
“We share Prime Minister David Cameron’s concern about how events in Syria and Iraq can have a potential impact on the UK,” Hayat said.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the current Caliph of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and considered a spiritual leader to millions of Ahmadi Muslims across the globe, will attend the event and address participants.
“Britain has provided a home for people from across the world,” Ahmad said. “As Ahmadi Muslims, we give thanks to queen and country for allowing us to practice our faith freely.”
According to The Star newspaper, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association is an organisation that has the backing of both Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament Nick Clegg.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community was formed in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in India and subscribes to the same beliefs as most Muslims, but some of the community’s practices are opposed to mainstream Islamic thought.