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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
Muslim 'peace' adverts launched
Regent's Park mosque
Islam requires its followers to reject terror, organisers say
An advertising campaign promoting British Muslims as integrated citizens who reject extremism has been launched.

Islam is Peace - formed after the bombings in London in July 2005 - has initially placed adverts on the capital's buses and Underground trains.

They show a range of Muslims - including a policewoman, a Scout group and the chef Michael Barry - with the slogan "Proud to be a British Muslim".

Organisers say research shows many Britons associate Islam with terrorism.

Nationwide tour

The group insists that the religion demands that its followers live in peace with their neighbours within non-Muslim societies.

But it says it recognises that Muslims have a duty to show that the vast majority of them wish to do so.

After the initial London campaign, Islam Is Peace intends to launch a nationwide tour.

Ifhat Shaheen-Smith, one of the campaign organisers, said: "In the current atmosphere of suspicion and fear about Islam and British Muslims, truth is often confused with fabrications and stereotypes.

"Prejudice has become entrenched and sensationalistic media reporting is creating a climate of paranoia.

"There is a desperate need for openness, mutual understanding and a mature debate."

'Bust myths'

Following the 7 July bombings, the group has spent tens of thousands of pounds placing adverts in national newspapers in which Muslims reject extremism.

Sadiq Khan MP said: "This is a fantastic initiative. Islam is a faith whose primary focus is peace and submission to one God.

"This campaign will help to bust some of the myths about Islam and allow the true face of Islam to reach all parts of our country."

Secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain Muhammad Abdul Bari said: "The silent majority of Muslims are coming forward and now challenging the islamophobia in sections of our media - it is a brave undertaking."

The campaign is launched as a new law banning incitement to religious hatred comes into force.

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