Butetown faith march boosts image of Islam
Between 40 and 50 took part in the event, a revival of a tradition instigated in Cardiff by the late Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, who served the Muslim community of Butetown for over 60 years.
Alice Street Mosque imam Zane Abdo organised the event in honour of Sheik Ismail.
Mr Abdo said: “Right now, Cardiff has been in the media because of Muslims for the wrong reasons.
“I want to put Muslims in Cardiff in the limelight for the right reasons.
“The arrests to do with the extremism in South Wales – that is not representative of Muslims in the community.
“This march was a reflection of the true nature of the community and what this community is about.
“I hope that the media will do it justice and give credit to what we did today.”
In February, Cardiff brothers Abdul Miah, 25, of Ninian Park Road, Riverside, and Gurukanth Desai, 30, of Albert Street, Riverside, were jailed for almost 30 years after plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange.
A third Cardiff man, Omar Latif, 28, of Neville Street, Riverside, was jailed for 10 years and four months, with an extended period on licence of another five years.
And city Islamic teacher Abu Hajar – quoted as a spokesman for terror group Islamic Path in 2009 – came under fire last month for calling on Welsh Muslims to “physically” support the fight for sharia law abroad.
Mr Abdo said: “What we did today was a big step in rejecting extremism.
“When people are happy and walking around and smiling and coming together, that reduces extremism and pushes it to the fringes, where it should be.”
The march through Butetown started at 1.30pm at Alice Street Mosque.
Mr Abdo said: “All ages took part. Some were very young – my little daughter is a year and a half – while some of the elders were in their 70s.
“And it was people of different faiths. There were Muslims and Christians and people who did not believe in anything.
“Granted, there were not great numbers, the majority were of Islamic faith.”
Mr Abdo added he was determined there would be more marches in the future.
“This is something that Cardiff really needs,” he said.
“We are going to continue this – it is just the first.
“When we have festivals we are going to march in the street and encourage people, whether Muslims or not, to participate like they used to.”
Mr Abdo claimed the experience was so emotive he wept.