Hundreds of British Muslims have taken out an advert to highlight their “united condemnation” of terrorism after the attacks in Paris.
The advert, issued by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and endorsed by more than 300 of the body’s affiliates, features an image of the Eiffel Tower and the words: “With one voice, British Muslims condemn the Paris attacks unreservedly.
“The barbaric acts of Daesh [Isis] have no sanction in the religion of Islam, which forbids terrorism and the targeting of innocents.
“Muslims have held vigils and donated blood for the victims. It is not the terrorists who represent our faith but brave individuals like Stade de France security guard Zouheir, who risked his life to stop the attackers.”
Dr Shuja Shafi, the secretary general of the MCB, said it was important to make sure the UK heard the MCB’s condemnation of the attacks.
He said: “The advert aims to highlight how Muslims everywhere have consistently and without reservation spoken out against terror. It is important that our fellow Britons hear this message loudly and clearly.”
The advert appeared in the Daily Telegraph and on the Mail Online. It has since been shared elsewhere.
“The aim of attacks like those inflicted on Paris and other cities across the world is to turn communities against each other,” said Shafi. “As Muslims, Britons and Europeans, we must stand together to make sure they do not succeed.”
The advert is signed by both Shia and Sunni institutions,professional associations and youth organisations that represent varied Muslim groups from across the UK.
Harun Khan, deputy secretary general of the MCB, said: “The reaction has been hugely positive. Others have picked up on the hard copy and have re-circulated it. It has been a really good message to us.
“People say that Muslims are not really saying enough or that they cannot hear or see what is being said, so this advert gives us some good coverage.”
The advert paid tribute to the security guard at the Stade de France, where France were playing Germany on Friday night, who reportedly discovered a terrorist attempting to enter the ground and turned him away from the stadium.
Khan said: “We gauged the strength of feeling in Britain, especially with the link to Friday’s football match and France playing England in the UK on Tuesday night, by watching social media and seeing people’s shock at what happened.”
He added the statement mentions other cities across the world “because people are conscious of the fact that there were other bombings – there was Beirut, there was Ankara”, said Khan. “It was important to respect that and mention all the terrorism acts in our statement.”
The advert was also a reaction to examples of anti-Muslim behaviour which have surfaced since the attacks. On Monday, a 43-year-old woman was arrested by Thames Valley police after she wrote on Facebook that Muslims were no longer welcome in a beauty salon.
In another incident,Muslim takeaway workers in Fife, Scotland, were attacked by a gang allegedly shouting “Isis”, just 24 hours after the Paris attacks.
Khan said: “Another aspect is some of the hate crimes Muslims are facing in the UK as a reaction. The advert is a counter-measure to tell people that what these terrorists did in Paris does not reflect on what Muslims are like in the UK.
“We have some reports about people being threatened and this was also done to dispel any misconceptions about Muslims in general.”
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