10 May 2016, The Tablet

Buses to carry slogan 'Subhan Allah' ahead of Ramadan

Christian groups have voiced criticism comparing the campaign to the Lord's Prayer advert that was banned in cinemas

An advertising campaign by the Muslim development agency Islamic Relief featuring the Arabic phrase 'Subhan Allah' (‘Glory be to God’) will appear on buses across the UK.

Buses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and Bradford will carry the advert which includes the message "Gather the rewards of Ramadan" in English and an appeal for donations.

Islamic Relief, which works to alleviate poverty in 33 countries, hope the ads will encourage people to donate generously ahead of the start of Ramadan on 7 June.

But Christian groups have criticised the move after an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer was banned from UK cinemas in the run up to Christmas. It was cleared by the Cinema Advertising Authority and the British Board of Film Classification, but the Odeon, Cineworld and Vue chains refused to show the advert because they believed it “carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”.

Transport for London (TfL), which regulates the advertisements that appear on the city’s buses, can ban ads if it believes the campaign is likely “to cause widespread or serious offence” or if a campaign is linked to a “political party or campaign”.

In a statement on its website Imran Madden, UK Director of the Islamic aid agency, said: “This is a fundraising campaign first and foremost but I’d also like us to challenge the negative climate around international aid and the Muslim community in this country.

“How many people appreciate that international aid has helped halve the number of people living in extreme poverty in the past 15 years? Who realises that British Muslims donate over £100 million to international aid charities in Ramadan alone?

“Our advertising will heavily feature the word ‘Subhan Allah’, which means ‘Glory to God’. We want to celebrate and give thanks for the progress made in the fight against poverty, and the opportunity that Ramadan provides to give generously in support of people in need.”

According to Islamic law, Muslims are supposed to donate 2.5 per cent of their income to the poor and needy. The campaign has been orchestrated to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan in June, when Muslims traditionally fast and give to charity.



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