IN A bid to create a warm, cuddly, tolerant brand of Islam in the UK, and also counter negative views of Muslims in Britain, the Exploring Islam Foundation has launched a series of Inspired by Muhammad ads in London.
A spokesman for Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank which seeks to promote a “British Islam. . .Â free from the bitter politics of the Arab and Muslim world”, told London’s Independent:
This campaign is important because it can help non-Muslims to better understand the faith that inspires and guides their Muslim friends, neighbours and colleagues. This initiative also helps British Muslims reclaim the Prophet Mohamed as a time-honoured guide for peace, compassion and social justice from those who seek to twist his teachings.
According to Islamonline, a YouGov poll of 2,152 adults conducted for the foundation last month found that 58 percent associated the Religion of Peace with extremism and 50 percent associated the religion with terrorism.
Only 13 percent thought Islam was based on peace and six percent associated it with justice.
Asked if Muslims had a positive impact on British society, four in 10 disagreed.
The poll also found that 69 percent thought Islam encouraged the repression of women.
Said the foundation’s campaigns director Remona Aly.
We are very concerned about the way our faith is perceived by the public. We want to foster a greater understanding of what British Muslims are about and our contribution to British society. We are proud of being British and being Muslim.
A spokesman for Quilliam said:
A recent survey in the US revealed that Islam has a pretty poor image there too.
We welcome the Inspired By Muhammad campaign as a valuable and timely step to help improve relations and foster deeper understanding between British citizens.
According to a new report from the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies:
More than 50 percent of Americans said they had unfavourable opinions of Islam, while 29 percent of those reported a strong degree of prejudice towards Muslims.
Gallup questioned 1,002 interview subjects about different aspects of Islam and Muslims over a month-long period last year and married the results with those found in the Gallup World Religion survey, which surveyed Americans’ opinions on Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam and their followers.
Of the faiths, Islam and Muslims elicited the most negative perceptions.
Senior analyst Dalia Mogahed, who is the Executive Director for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, noted that though more than half of respondents said they knew someone who was Muslim, that didn’t deter from having negative attitudes towards Islam.
Much of this antipathy, she insisted, stemmed for negative reporting of Islamic issues in the media
She asserted that all the negativity exposed by the survey was disheartening because there had been so much hard work done by Muslim-Americans and Muslims worldwide to inform the non-Muslim public about the beauty of Islam.
Update: A far more credible version of the ad has been created here: