A BUS campaign featuring messages of peace from Islam started this week in Manchester. The campaign, organised by Engagement 2030, began on Monday 5th December and will appear on a total of 128 buses across major cities in the UK including London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield.
The bus campaign is part of an annual global event called International Mawlid in the City, where Muslims across the globe take to city centres to spread peace and understanding of their religion.
“O mankind spread peace and feed people” is the quote that will feature on buses across Manchester and other UK cities and is one of the most well-known and central teachings of the Islamic faith.
“I’m just sick of looking at the news and all you see is stuff about ISIS” said Mohammed Abdul Azeem, representative of As-Siraat and one of the organisers of the event “Islam is a religion of peace. We want to counteract the image that is portrayed in the media.”
“We’re just normal people – I myself am very integrated – born and bred in the UK and a Manchester United fan. It’s good to engage and we want people to know that we’re here, we’re active. We’ve got respect for all other religions”
Engagement 2030 is a project that aims to “bridge gaps in understanding and wish to reach and convey a true message of Islam and Muslims direct to each individual.”
“It’s called Engagement 2030 because that’s how long it’s going to take”
In Manchester, there are already communities that are beginning to integrate and encourage diversity.
The University of Manchester held an inter-faith event at the student’s union on Wednesday 7th December, bringing together people of all faiths for an evening of discussions to celebrate diversity across Manchester.
“The event is part of community week here at the University” said Saffa Mir, Student union community officer at The University of Manchester and organiser of the event.
“It’s in collaboration with the Faith Network 4 Manchester and aims to celebrate the diversity of Manchester”
“Religious intolerance is a growing problem in the world” said Carl Thomas, Christian and student at the University of Manchester. “I think it’s a great privilege that we can all meet. I found some statistics that 322 Christians are beaten and killed a month globally – just for their beliefs. 214 properties destroyed and 772 accounts of rape, beating and forced marriage.”
Sima, a Muslim and student at the University of Manchester said “We’re all humans. One species. Things that make us different is our variations, the way we look. When I first came to university, people asked me, you know, ‘are you enjoying uni?’ and I told them I loved the diversity”
Communities across Manchester, and across the UK, are starting to come together and integrate.
Mawlid in the City will come to Manchester on Saturday 17th December.