Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Pro-West ads to target extremism

Campaign video featuring cricketer Moeen Ali

A new campaign to stop extremists by showing the UK is not anti-Islam has been launched in Pakistan.

"I Am The West" is aimed at men between the ages of 15 and 25 who could be influenced by extremist propaganda.

The campaign will show there is no contradiction between being Muslim and British through adverts and events.

Backed by a 520,000 government grant, the adverts feature high profile Muslims such as Communities Minister Sidiq Khan and cricketer Moeen Ali.

The campaign is intended to show Britain is not anti-Islam by demonstrating how well British Muslims have integrated into society.

'Proud Britons'

The campaign was proposed to the government by a group called Deen International, led by Khurshid Ahmed, chairman of the British Muslim Forum.

The three-month project will initially focus on three areas in Pakistan, Islamabad, Mirpur and Peshawar, which all have strong connections with the UK.

The first television advert, featuring Worcester cricketer Moeen Ali will be broadcast on Wednesday, featuring him playing cricket and reading the Koran.

There is no incompatibility with being a Muslim and having liberal British values
Dr Khurshid Ahmed
Chairman, British Muslim Forum
Dr Ahmed said: "By seeing successful British Muslims, those who are alienated from society can see that Britain is not as they perceive it.

"We are proud of our Pakistani heritage, we are proud of our Muslim faith and of being British.

"There is no incompatibility with being a Muslim and having liberal British values."

The advertising campaign, on TV, radio and in the press aims to stimulate interest and debate about the project.

It will be followed up by a series of high-profile events, lectures and focus groups involving high profile British Muslims.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "The government is committed to keep working with communities around the world to build safe, prosperous and inclusive societies.

"This project is a worthwhile part of that effort."

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