Eight hundred people recently assembled in Britain's largest mosque for a day-long peace conference. Yet the group that organised it is finding that its message of tolerance and respect is provoking increasing opposition — not from the far right, but from their fellow British Muslims.
The National Peace Symposium at the Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden was the 15th such event organised by the Ahmadi Muslim community, a sect of about ten million people worldwide that is based in south London.
Some Muslim groups have demanded that Ahmadis be prevented from promoting their faith as "true Islam". In February the Ahmadi community paid for billboards that declared "The messiah has come", alongside an image of Ahmad. An email was circulated urging British Muslims to complain to the advertising watchdog, the Charity Commission and the police, claiming that the billboards were inciting hatred.