Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Unmasking mosques: Muslim charity group cycles 600 miles across UK to challenge 'suspicious' stereotypes

Unmasking mosques: Muslim charity group cycles 600 miles across UK to challenge 'suspicious' stereotypes

| By Chris White

A group of Muslim cyclists pedalled their way through Manchester and the rest of UK in a gruelling 600-mile trek in just seven days – all in the name of charity.

Members of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) travelled from Glasgow to London trying to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation in the Ride4Peace.

The Muslim charity, who were also visiting mosques through the country, arrived in Manchester after the 120 mile route from Bradford last Wednesday.

Members of the public were invited to join the cyclists at each of the mosques they visited, including Manchester's Darul Aman Mosque on Greenhey's Lane.

On the significance of the visits, Ali Khan, former regional youth leader for AMC Manchester said: “We hope that opening up our mosques across the country to anyone and everyone will demonstrate that they are beacons of peace within local communities and not places to be suspicious of.”

The AMC volunteers competed in the exhausting ride to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation and Humanity First.

They also hoped their efforts will help to dispel some of the negative stereotypes faced by Muslims by demonstrating the positive contribution British Muslims are making to the UK.


CHALLENGING STEREOTYPES: The group is welcomed by Manchester's Lord Mayor along the way

On their travels they stopped at a Commonwealth Memorial graveyard, a WWI memorial site and also Bailiff Bridge Memorial Park, a First World War memorial originally built in 1921 and recently restored in 2007.

Explaining why they decided to stop and pay their respects to the fallen, Dr Khan said: “Like myself, many of the cyclists are of South Asian descent and our grandparents and great grandparents played a big role during both World Wars.

“About 74,000 members of the Indian army offered the ultimate sacrifice fighting for the British Empire in World War I and more than 1.5 million people from across the Commonwealth forces in both World Wars.

“It was the collective sacrifice of all those who served that helped to provide us with many of the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy today. Their memory is something to be cherished and celebrated.”


JOIN THE FUN! Salford's Lord Mayor poses with the group as they pass through the city

The Ride4Peace route saw the cyclists tour the British countryside, visiting cities such as Newcastle, Hartlepool, Bradford, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Feltham, and eventually finishing in London.

The Ride4Peace is just one of several events which the AMC has organised over the past month to commemorate 100 years since its establishment in the UK.

They also actively support the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal and over the past three years have raised more than £50,000.

More information about the Ride4Peace, how you can get involved and sponsorship, can be found at www.ride4peace.org.

Image via Adam Walker, with thanks