The name of Islam is being ‘tarnished’ by the actions of terrorist groups claiming to represent the religion, a Sheffield peace conference has heard.
Maulana Ata ul Mujeeb Rashed, the keynote speaker at the weekend event in Sheffield and the Imam of the central Ahmadiyya mosque in London, said the actions of such groups are contrary to the teachings of the religion.
He told the event at the Baitul Afiyat Mosque on Sussex Street: “People who kill in the name of Islam are those whose claims and actions differ totally.
“It is they who should be punished for their actions and not the religion.
“Islam is tarnished when it is portrayed as the cause of these atrocities and I believe the media can play a vital role in promoting socio-religious harmony by making this important differentiation.”
Dr Nadeem Ahmad, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Sheffield, added: “The definition of a Muslim given by the Prophet Muhammad is that a Muslim is a person from whose hand and tongue no harm comes to his fellow human beings.
“This is the true essence of Islam, and this is the message we are trying to get across by arranging these peace conferences.”
Councillors, religious leaders, local community groups and guests from across South Yorkshire attended Saturday’s conference, which was called ‘Muhammad: A Messenger of Peace’.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a religious organisation, which is established in more than 200 countries around the world.
The worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held the first peace conference in the 1920s as a Religious Founders’ Day, to help relieve the growing tension among different faiths in the Indian sub-continent.
A previous peace conference held by the group in Sheffield in December condemned the actions of ISIS as an ‘inaccurate representation of Islam’.