Muslims gather for faith festival

The organisers of a Muslim festival hope thousands will attend in a bid to reclaim their faith in light of the recent bomb attacks.

The four-day family event aims to celebrate Muslim life and will feature seminars, sporting activities, entertainment and open air prayers.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Wahhabis, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

It will include a number of speakers, including Islamic scholar Professor Tariq Ramadan.

The event at Lincolnshire showground, near Lincoln, begins on Thursday.

‘Universal values’

Organisers of Living Islam 2005 said on their website: “It is time for everyone to know what we really stand for… nothing in Islam can ever justify the evil actions of the bombers.

“Islam is the faith of 1.6 million Britons – its teachings fly in the face of the messages of hate that were behind the attacks on our capital.

“Living Islam 2005 is an opportunity to live the universal values of compassion and care and to provide our youth with a positive, wholesome self-image.”

Swiss academic Prof Ramadan is regarded by many young Muslims as being the leading thinker in forging what they regard to be a “European Muslim identity”. He has called on Western Muslims to effectively split from their co-religionists in the East, saying they need to recognise more than ever how European societies can benefit their faith.

A number of newspapers have accused Prof Ramadan of supporting suicide bombings – although the academic says all his books and public statements have made very clear that he absolutely opposes terrorist violence.

He has accused some US and European commentators of having put the report around to discredit his work.

‘Positive note’

Obaid Siddiq, one of the organisers of Living Islam 2005, said they had been working with Lincolnshire Police on “low-key” security measures in the wake of the bombings.

He added that he hoped the event would attract visitors from a range of backgrounds.

“I think they are going to go home on a positive note,” he said.

“They are going to go back to their homes, back to their communities, saying that it’s good to be British and it’s good to be a Muslim as well.”

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July 28, 2005

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