South Leeds charity Aspiring Communities this last weekend (Sunday 7 June) organised their annual gathering to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Now in its fourth year, the event attracted 600+ people from across the city and the north of England.
It featured a long, colourful procession through the community, leading to a gathering for speeches, poetry and more at the John Charles Centre for Sport – opened by Lord Mayor Cllr Judith Chapman, and featuring representatives from both other local faith communities and different branches of Islam.
In particular, one of the headline speakers was acclaimed Leeds-based scholar Imam Qari Asim, who gave a powerful testimony emphasising the contradiction of extremist bodies like ISIS, the Taliban, and Boko Haram with the religion of Islam – and the need to work collaboratively to ensure vulnerable people don’t become tempted to join or support them.
Ash Mahmood from the organising committee commented:
“There are a lot of challenges and misunderstandings in the world, but our aim (through this annual event, and in general) is simply to promote the message of love, peace and harmony as taught by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the true message of Islam. In partnership with people of other faiths and none, we want to help build strong trusting communities, and also show that extremism is not a true reflection of our faith. This annual event is a challenging task, but we’ve learnt a lot over the years, work closely with the police and other partners, everything ran smoothly, and we were really well-received by a wide range of local people.”