On September 11, 2001, the horrendous attack on the day is considered by many to be the beginning of a new focus on Muslims, Islam and the relationship between the so-called Western and so-called Muslim world.
Such actions by people in the name of Islam (thou it is a minority), combined with an increased political and media focus on such actions (in addition to other factors) have unfortunately created a situation where Islam and Muslims in the eyes of many people is associated with unrest.
As a response to the above-mentioned association with unhappiness, and under the guidance of Khhalifa Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Ahmadiyya Muslims world chief, Ahmadiyya Muslims worldwide launched campaigns that should focus on peace and Islam’s peaceful teachings.
One of these campaigns was called ‘Muslims for Peace’, which was first started by the American Ahmadiyya Muslim congregation, followed by many other countries around the world. In Denmark, the campaign was first launched officially Saturday, 21 July 2012 – on the 45th anniversary of the initiation of the oldest mosque of Denmark, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Nusrat Djahan Mosque in Hvidovre.
The first initiative this Saturday was to get out of town to hand out leaflets entitled ‘Muslims For Peace’ and talked with non-Muslims as Muslims to remove prejudices and misunderstandings about Islam’s teachings against all forms of terrorism. Muslims For Peace have been on the streets of many cities in Denmark, including Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg, Esbjerg, Holbæk, Roskilde, Nakskov, and others.
The initiative was incredibly well received, and support for the campaign has since grown steadily, as did the initiatives.
The probably most famous initiative has since been the cleanup at Copenhagen City Hall Square New Year’s Day. It was an initiative that had started around the mosque in Hvidovre several years before, and then moved to the City Hall Square and was “adopted” into the Muslims For Peace campaign. The cleanup was first known when photographer Niels Hougaard accidentally passed by and saw us work in 2014, took a picture and put it on his Facebook. Then the news went viral. ‘And the rest is history’. In 2018, the initiative took place for the first time in Aarhus.
Another annual initiative is the distribution of food in the Christmas month to wish merry Christmas. The initiative takes place at the City Hall Square in Copenhagen and in Aarhus, where soup and other refreshments are served to several thousand passers-by.
It has also been collected for charity through the years. DKK 100,000 for ‘Families with cancer-affected children’, DKK 10,000 for the Save the Children Youth and DKK 10,000 for Humanity First Denmark are some of the collections that have taken place.
In 2016, Muslims participated in peace for the first time at the popular Political Festival on Bornholm with great success and good reception. Therefore, we could not help but repeat the success of 2017 with an expanded program, including ‘Coffee, Cake and 3 Imams’ with a presentation of the more controversial topics where people could come and ask all the questions they wanted for our 3 participating imams. Bridges were built, and a lot were broken down on these 4 days.
Other initiatives over time have, for example. been blood donation, dialogue events, interreligious meetings, or our young boys who have been out and helped with the annual cleaning of Christianshavns Vold.
When we speak Muslims for peace, one cannot fail to mention our Facebook page, which plays a very central role. It currently counts to 10,000 followers, here questions are answered and discussed, in addition to updates of informative character.
There is no doubt that the Muslims for Peace campaign has been successful, both abroad and in Denmark. With each initiative, we have reached more, both non-Muslims and Muslims, with our positive message. There has been and continues to be a great need for this work. Thanks to God, the reception has been so great that in Denmark today, the Ahmadiyya Muslims are better known as Muslims for peace.
Muhammad Akram Mehmood, Muslims for peace