“Top officials warn of possible international terrorist threats to Hong Kong” were the headlines of the South China Morning Post, a daily English tabloid in Hong Kong. The issue came about as a result of a now well known image, being used in a draft publication by a local Islamic organisation (Mujahiddah of Islam Hong Kong). This image of the declaration of faith (translated to: there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the messenger of Allah) which the worlds 1.7 billion Muslims attest to, has been hijacked as a symbol of hatred.
The MCHK executive decided to respond by publishing a ‘letter of peace’, the purpose of which was to inform and educate the wider community (especially the non-Muslims) on the message of Islam and what Muslims represent. The letter was distributed throughout Hong Kong by numerous Muslim volunteers who share the same understanding of Islam as a religion of peace, and was also sent to many of the daily tabloids. Adeel Malik, one of the founders and executive member of MCHK coordinated efforts with local Muslim organisations, twenty of which were also signatories, endorsing the letter of peace.
The campaign was successful on many fronts: bringing together the numerous Muslim organisations within Hong Kong, sharing the message of Islam to the wider community and addressing and correcting some of the views that were originally published. Hong Kong is a peaceful society with peace loving people. We look forward to working closer with the local community, establishing ties, contributing to society, and ultimately sharing the true message of Islam, in order to make a difference and to counter the anti-Muslim sentiment and hatred perpetuated by the media at large.
We would like to thank the local media outlets who worked with us in correcting some of the content within the published articles and for providing media coverage on the distribution of the ‘letter of peace’. We would like to recognise the efforts of all of our volunteers, translators and organisations who lent their support, and helped distribute the letter.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge all of the people we met and interacted with. To the members of the Hong Kong community who listened with attentive ears and open hearts and minds, we thank you.
Featured Image: Steven Depolo | Flickr Creative Commons