Butetown faith march boosts image of Islam

May 14, 2012 5 Comments »
Butetown faith march boosts image of Islam

Walkers enjoyed the sunshine yesterday as they took part in an interfaith march designed to boost the image of Islam in Wales.

Between 40 and 50 took part in the event, a revival of a tradition instigated in Cardiff by the late Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, who served the Muslim community of Butetown for over 60 years.

Alice Street Mosque imam Zane Abdo organised the event in honour of Sheik Ismail.

Mr Abdo said: “Right now, Cardiff has been in the media because of Muslims for the wrong reasons.

“I want to put Muslims in Cardiff in the limelight for the right reasons.

“The arrests to do with the extremism in South Wales – that is not representative of Muslims in the community.

“This march was a reflection of the true nature of the community and what this community is about.

“I hope that the media will do it justice and give credit to what we did today.”

Earlier this month, a 40-year-old Cardiff man was among seven arrested on suspicion of funding overseas terrorism with money linked to the smuggling of stimulant khat.

In February, Cardiff brothers Abdul Miah, 25, of Ninian Park Road, Riverside, and Gurukanth Desai, 30, of Albert Street, Riverside, were jailed for almost 30 years after plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

A third Cardiff man, Omar Latif, 28, of Neville Street, Riverside, was jailed for 10 years and four months, with an extended period on licence of another five years.

The three Cardiff men were part of a nine-strong cell which included four men from Stoke-on-Trent and two from London.

And city Islamic teacher Abu Hajar – quoted as a spokesman for terror group Islamic Path in 2009 – came under fire last month for calling on Welsh Muslims to “physically” support the fight for sharia law abroad.

Mr Abdo said: “What we did today was a big step in rejecting extremism.

“When people are happy and walking around and smiling and coming together, that reduces extremism and pushes it to the fringes, where it should be.”

The march through Butetown started at 1.30pm at Alice Street Mosque.

Mr Abdo said: “All ages took part. Some were very young – my little daughter is a year and a half – while some of the elders were in their 70s.

“And it was people of different faiths. There were Muslims and Christians and people who did not believe in anything.

“Granted, there were not great numbers, the majority were of Islamic faith.”

Mr Abdo added he was determined there would be more marches in the future.

“This is something that Cardiff really needs,” he said.

“We are going to continue this – it is just the first.

“When we have festivals we are going to march in the street and encourage people, whether Muslims or not, to participate like they used to.”
Mr Abdo claimed the experience was so emotive he wept.

“It brought tears to my eyes and to some of the elders’,” he said.

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  1. Stephen May 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I don't see the point of a 'faith march', just serves to emphasise how strange & different some faith communities are from the rest of us IMO.

    I think they would be more accepted in society if they dropped their weird attire and integrated more with the larger population.

    It also saddens me, as is common with most religions to impose religion on children before they have the chance to decide for themselves.

    Indoctrinating children from birth is a good method of keeping a religion alive.

  2. Guest May 16, 2012 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Such a breath of fresh air and representative of what real Islam is – not what hijacked Islam becomes internationally defamed for.
    Islam brought civilisation (testimonies of the Crusaders in the Holy Land are only a little dot of what the Golden Age of Islamic Civilisation was during the Medieval Ages of Europe), the shampoo (and hygiene), modern paper making technique from linen and large editions of print not seen in Europe for centuries, street lighting, the welfare system, navigation and mapping of Mersa (created my a Muslim navigator over 1,000 years ago at the request of a Mersa King – part of Britain) and so much more to the British Isles, in fact, to the world – why should they not be recognised for their peace-loving community spirit?
    The computers we sit in front of require algebra, the mind behind this was Al Jabbar (one of the great Muslim mathematicians). Cambridge and Oxford exist not as the first universities but a continuation of the first ever university in the world set up my a wealthy Muslim lady in Morocco around 850 CE.
    Pastas and sorbetti were brought to Italy by the Muslim Arabs when they arrived in Sicily back in the 8th century. The coffee many love is from the Arab world.
    Works of ancient philosophers, like Aristotle, and others were translated in the Muslim Golden Age in Arabic to be spread into Europe; the Bible was preserved in Arabic for the Christian world to translate later.
    Astrolabes, our equivalent of the modern GPS was pioneered by the Muslim Al Astrulabi (back in the 10th century).
    Islam was, had been, and still is a way of life and one that preaches humanity, cohesion of society and benefit to mankind, irrespective of race, gender, ability, faith, geographical region and so on.
    Islam encourages diversity in cultures and does not impose a particular dress, or indoctrination on anyone – period.
    Anyone who has such a beautiful way of life that brings harmony in the world we live in should be allowed to practice their peaceful faith without being oppressed in anyway. Perhaps that way mankind can live peacefully and be a witness of more tolerant societies blossoming around them.
    God bless.

    • Robert May 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      Yes and the Nazis invented a lot of things which have also been beneficial for society and people…

      Churchill had this to say on Islam and Muslims…I much prefer his take on things than your ramblings…

      "A quote from an 1899 book by Winston Churchill, "The River War", in which he describes Muslims he apparently observed during Kitchener's campaign in the Sudan"

      "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science – the science against which it had vainly struggled – the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient" Rome.

      Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_was_Winston_Church

  3. Stephen May 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Yes early Islam did appropriate many ancient Greek ideas…

    'such a beautiful way of life that brings harmony in the world we live' so why is it not working in the middle east??

    Supernatural beliefs such as Religions are irrelevant to good behaviour & progress as can be seen in the middle east and other so called Islamic countries Religions serve only to attempt control and straight-jacket humanity.

    The world ould be better off without troublesome supernatural beliefs in my opinion, we only have to look to our humanity to know how to behave well etc..

  4. Yusuf Abdulrahman May 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Peace be with all of you,

    We owe the people of the West an apology. We have failed to uphold the beauty and virtues of our faith, and as a result have brought upon ourselves comments like those above. Yet perhaps through engaging with Blessed Men such as Habib Ali, the light of Islam can illuminate this Island, not as an aggressive, frightening, intimidating movement, but as a beautiful demonstration of the highest virtues of humanity. Winston Churchill does not speak about my faith, but I understand why you believe he does. I pray that we are able to see beyond the media rhetoric and horrendous examples demonstrated by those who adhere to my faith, and come to interact with the true message of Islam, that calls towards uprightness, chivalry, compassion and honour. I am sorry you feel passionately enough about Islam to have to write a negative post on a forum, and I call upon all Muslims reading this to enhance themselves, to live the noble Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saws), to smile as Habib Ali does, and to demonstrate to the world the reality of this religion. Perhaps then we can move away from vitriol and anger, and towards understanding and peace.

    May Almighty God bless you all with guidance and true insight as to the purpose of our existence,

    With Peace,

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