The proliferation of militant groups around the world claiming linkage to Islam is putting the religion in a bad light. This is contributing to the damning perception in the West that Islam advocates terrorism. However, true believers of the faith are determined not to allow a handful of terrorists to tarnish the image of the religion with over a billion followers.
Recently, in the Canadian city of Mississauga, over 20,000 Muslims gathered for a three-day conference aimed at providing education and denouncing terrorist groups who claim to be committing their heinous crimes in the name of Islam.
The gathering was organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a sect in Islam founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889 in India. Currently, the sect has about 10-20 million followers worldwide. Its headquarters is in London.
The conference featured an Islamic exhibition, a series of lectures denouncing terrorism, and a question and answer session with Muslim scholars.
At the sideline of the gathering, a press conference was held to allow the media to ask questions on issues relevant to the Muslim community. However, because the big corporate media largely ignored the conference, the session was covered by local and alternative media outlets.
Imam Azhar Haneef, a representative of the religion’s leader, Caliph Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, gave a speech denouncing all forms of terror.
He said extremist groups’ concept of Islam was “illiterate”, adding: “If the youth are provided a true understanding of Islam, they would never commit any violent acts”.
While the efforts of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were commended, the mainstream media was slammed for ignoring an important conference. The Free Thought Project noted:
“While the media froths at the mouth to run 24/7 fear porn of terrorist attacks, they seemingly loathe showing images of peaceful Muslims denouncing terrorism.”
This is not the first time the mainstream media failed to report on Muslims who condemn terrorism.
On December 6, 2015, thousands of Muslims took part in the annual UK Arbaeen Procession, organized by the Husaini Islamic Trust UK. Members flooded the streets of London, holding signs that read: “Islam promotes human rights” and “terrorism has no religion,” to highlight Islam’s core promotion of peace. However, despite the importance of the organization’s message, the event did not receive the coverage it deserved.
Hundreds of Muslims flooded the streets of London yesterday to condemn terrorism.
Media’s response: Silence.
— Mohammed Al-Sharifi (@Malsharifi) December 7, 2015