UK IslamExpo Shows Islam
By Radwa Khorshid, IOL Staff
Coming from all walks of life and religious and social backgrounds, thousands of Muslims, Christians and Jews gathered in London on Friday, July 11, to attend Europe’s biggest Islamic cultural event.
"I’m participating today as a European Muslim artist," Ali Ahmed Shokran, a Turkish Muslim artist in Tokyo, told IslamOnline.net as he attended the opening of IslamExpo.
"I believe that this is one of the most unique36that I have ever attended."
The four-day exhibition brings together a galaxy of dignitaries including former London mayor Ken Livingstone, Swiss-based Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan, Secretary General of the umbrella Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) Muhammad Abdul Bari and prominent Muslim singer Yusuf Islam.
The gala features lectures and seminars on diverse topics such as art, literature, science, architecture, technology theology and politics as well as films, dramas, a photographic exhibition, concerts, comedy, theatre, live shows and fun educational activities for children.
"We have focused this year on inviting a lot of educatory organizations to introduce the real Islam to them," said IslamExpo’s director Anas Altikriti.
"We have adopted the open-door policy, so any one in the world is welcomed to attend IslamExpo.
"Jews and Christians are spread peacefully around the event’s halls and even some Jewish visitors told me that they want to attend the Friday prayers and for sure they are welcomed."
Seven-year old Millia joined his schoolmates and his teachers in touring the Islamic exhibition.
"I’m here with my school’s colleagues and teachers to attend the artistic workshops as we study Islamic arts and we are here to have some applications," Millia told IOL.
"We are really enjoying our time here. You can find millions of interesting stuff to do," added his colleague Jeth.
Their teacher Ms. Kissinger from South Marry school said the school wants the students to learn more about other faiths.
"We do openly teach a lot of subjects that have to do with Islam," she said.
The Islamic exhibition is also attracting many sports bodies.
"We are here today for the first time in IslamExpo as there is a promising sports zone," said Tracey Bates of the Football Association (FA).
"We are planning to give some coaching sessions, engage people more in football and make football available for everybody regardless to his/her background, race or religions and that is how we can contribute passively to the society."
Many Jews were also keen to attend IslamExpo.
"We are dismantling here today to prove that Jews and Muslims used to live peacefully together and in a unique harmony and our presence is an initiative for a peaceful life," said Rabbi Elhanan Beck from Neturei Karta movement.
Some Muslim attendees are using the event to do business.
"As I’m launching a new project presenting a moderate Islamic doll to Europe, I found IslamExpo the right place to start from," said Farazana Rahman, the director of the Desi Doll.
She said the dolls speak some Islamic phrases and read some verses of the Qur’an from which the English speaking young Muslim ladies can learn.
"The dolls’ main purpose is: encouraging the Muslim kids to learn Islamic phrases and remember the Qur’an whenever of wherever they are."