Wednesday, 6 April 2011


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury. After Leicester Secular Society ran their campaign encouraging people to tick the "No religion" box in the recent Census using bus posters, here's another example of that medium employed in a religious context.
Campaign aims to drive home true message of Islam

An advertising campaign to tackle Islamophobia will be coming to Leicester.

Last week, 160 buses in London and Glasgow began carrying the message "Muslims for loyalty, peace and freedom'', paid for by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association.

The UK group hopes it will educate people about Islam and stop people connecting Islam with terrorism.

During the next six months the campaign is due to be rolled out across Leicester, Birmingham, Leeds and Bradford.

Volunteers will also distribute leaflets door-to-door throughout the UK explaining the peaceful and positive principles of the faith.

Rafiq Hayat, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association's national president, said: "Through this campaign we are trying to clarify the true teachings of Islam, to speak out against injustices, suicide bombings and terrorism."

Last year, a YouGov poll of 2,152 people found that 58 per cent of those questioned linked Islam with extremism, while 69 per cent believed it encouraged the repression of women.

In a recent speech in Leicester, Baroness Warsi, the co-chairman of the Conservative party, said anti-Muslim prejudice had passed the "dinner table test" to become uncontroversial and socially acceptable by Britons.

Eagle-eyed readers will see, from the above photo of a London bus, that the poster also features that phrase that has come to be so strongly associated with the Ahmaddiya Muslim Association: "Love for all. Hatred for none".

I don't know; are we missing a trick here? Should Leicester Council of Faiths do something like this for our 25th anniversary? "We have faith in Leicester!" could make a real impact if used like this.

Oh and can you see what they did there? "Drive home" - on a bus? Good one, Mercury.

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