LONDON – A Muslim property developer and social activist in Croydon, South London, has been announced an international peace ambassador by the United Peace Federation UK for his work promoting young people and fighting extremism.
“We try to promote and install humanistic values within our community to counteract the voice of extremism where it exists,” Abdul Basit told Croydon Advertiser on Sunday.
The 32-year-old British-Indian migrant works to counter extremism in Croydon through promoting young talents within the community and creating role models for young Muslims to look up to.
He also teaches community leaders to recognize and approach those who may be influenced by extremists.
“We arrange local gatherings where we talk to communities with imams at the masjids and mosques in places like the one opposite Croydon University Hospital. People portray Islam in the wrong image – it should be young talents in the community that inspire, not these idiots who make these young people think that the people they grew up with are their enemies,” Abdul Basit thinks.
“I believe young people, who are most exposed to the online world, are the most vulnerable and they need to be inspired, protected and shielded more than anyone.”
He added, “Islam orders that you should be loyal to the country you come from, where you live, where you make your bread and butter.”
Abdul Basit and his team members of the congregation at Croydon Mosque hold talks and lectures within the Islamic community across the UK and lobby the government to promote their inclusive message.
“These are the brothers and sisters you grew up with,” the immigrant activist said. “That’s what Islam says – we’re all born from Adam, no matter our faith.”