A leading Islamic scholar has received a standing ovation from thousands of UK Muslims as he denounced terrorism and called for peace.
Wembley Arena in north-west London was a sea of colourful robes as an estimated 12,000 Muslims gathered to give their backing to a global declaration of peace.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) movement, was repeatedly applauded during a speech in which he said the « terrible » 9/11 attacks in the US had distorted perceptions of Islam over the past decade.
« In spite of statements and memorandum and condemnation of the terror, the voices of the 99% true, peace-loving Muslims have not been heard, they have been drowned out by the clamour and the noise of extremists, » he said.
« Islam has nothing to do with any act of terrorism. We reject every act of extremism and terrorism unconditionally. »
Dr Qadri’s speech was the keynote address at the peace for humanity conference organised by MQI.
The conference heard a series of lengthy and impassioned speeches, some in Arabic, from Islamic scholars denouncing terrorism and extremism.
There were also prayers for peace from a range of representatives from different religions including the Bishop of Barking, the Rt Rev David Hawkins, Jewish rabbis and representatives from the Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths.
The declaration of peace includes a call for democracy and good governance in the Muslim world, respect for human rights, and alleviation of poverty throughout the world.
Dr Qadri’s speech was made in spite of death threats he has received after issuing a fatwa against terrorism last year.