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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 10:51 GMT
'Find out about Islam' - vicar
South West Muslims at prayer
South West Muslims are being asked about their religion
A vicar in Cornwall is urging the county to acknowledge their Muslim neighbours as the deadline approaches for Iraq to give up banned weapons.

The Reverend Ian Morris, minister at Probus Parish Church, says Islam and Christianity have many similarities in their teachings, including peace.

He told his parishioners in his monthly magazine that now is the time to forget their differences in a bid to attain peace.

Muslims in the county have welcomed the Rev Morris's views.

There will always be good Muslims and bad Muslims. We cannot let a bad example reflect on the whole of Islam
Waiel Elgonaids
There are now around 1,000 Muslims in the South West.

Rev Morris said it did not matter that Muslim people make up a small minority in Cornwall.

He said: "We can't live in Cornwall and just think of ourselves as a comfortable isolated community.

"I feel passionately we should all be well informed about what it is that Muslims believe and are seeking from the rest of the world."

Usef Elgonaids lives with his family in Truro and says there has been more interest in his religion since the terrorist attacks in America in September 2001.

He said: "I think, since September 11th, people are interested to find out more, as opposed to coming to conclusions before finding out more."

Usef's sister, Rahuf, says this has been bringing communities closer.

She said: "I've never really had any problems because of my religion. But I'm glad they want to find out more because it does lift barriers. "

Bad examples

Their father, Waiel, says attitudes that Muslims are for war are completely wrong, and often these prejudices come from a muddying of ideas.

He said: "People think that East is Islam. But no, there are many other religions.

"It is about people. When you practice Islam, there will always be good Muslims and bad Muslims. We cannot let a bad example reflect all of Islam."

Rev Morris feels everyone has a responsibility to look out for their community, regardless of religion.

He said of his experience of Islam: "Love, relationships within the family and friendships are as important to them as they are to us."


SEE ALSO:
Battle for UN Iraq votes
10 Mar 03 |  Middle East
Insults traded at Islamic summit
05 Mar 03 |  Middle East
'Islamic' art banned from show
13 Feb 03 |  England
Islamic cola launched in the UK
04 Feb 03 |  Business


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