The famous red buses of London and hundreds of others in cities like Manchester, Leicester, Birmingham and Bradford will carry advertisements praising ‘Allah’ as part of a huge fund-raising campaign by Islamic Relief, UK.
The money is intended for victims of war in countries like Syria. Imran Madden, UK Director for Islamic Relief, said it is also part of an initiative to break down cultural barriers and show Islam in a positive light across Britain. The charity has the backing of the British government. Islamic Relief is also active in Canada, with its headquarters in Burlington.
The buses will carry the advertisements, beginning May 23 and during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (June 6 to July 5), and has the phrase “Subhan Allah” across the side of the bus. The phrase literally means “Glory be to Allah”.
The campaign has alreada taken off on Twitter with the hashtag #YesWeKhan, playing on the success of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, who has become London’s first ever Muslim mayor.
“In a sense this could be called a climate change campaign because we want to change the negative climate around international aid and around the Muslim community in this country. International aid has helped halve the number of people living in extreme poverty in the past 15 years, and British Muslims are an incredibly generous community who give over £100 m to international aid charities during Ramadan,” Madden said.
Moeen Ali, is supporting the campaign and said: “I hope it will encourage debate and increase understanding.”
Generally, it is the policy of London Transport to ban political advertisement, but make allowances for religious posters. Cinemas usually do not allow religious advertisements and in November 2015, several cinemas banned a 60-second film featuring the Lord’s Prayer.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats equalities spokesperson and peer Baroness Hussein-Ece condemned the move to have these posters on buses, saying religion should be solely “a private matter.” – CINEWS