Hundreds of volunteers, politicians and Muslims joined for the launch of a sponsored walk that will raise money for 60 UK’s charity.
Last year’s Charity Walk for Peace resulted in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (AMA) raising £500,000 for UK charities.
With 2017 marking the walk’s 29th year, regional AMA co-ordinator Mubashir Siddiqi, of Ilford, welcomed charity representatives to a launch dinner where about 300 people were invited to sign up to this year’s walk.
“We’ve done this walk 28 times because the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association’s motto is ‘love for all, hatred for none’,” the 54-year-old said.
“Everybody on this walk works really hard and the beauty of our Charity Walk for Peace is that every single penny raised goes to charities.”
Mubashir, who is vice-chairman of the annual walk, also thinks the fundraiser eases community cohesion.
At last year’s walk thousands of people came together for the walk, which begins at 1,000 Dockside in Silvertown, to walk five miles through Redbridge and other boroughs, raising more than £16,000 for charities in east London.
Fundraisers will meet at the walk’s start this year on May 14 at 8.30am to register, with the walk beginning at 10.30am.
Mubashir said the walk, which was launched at Stratford’s Old Town Hall in Broadway, also served a wider purpose for his minority Muslim sect as fellow Ahmadis are persecuted as non-believers by the state of Pakistan.
He believes that a encouraging people of different faiths to join in the walk is an effective way of healing divisions in communities.
“There’s a lot of negative propaganda about Muslims in the press so we’re trying to bring the community together as one,” he said. “The launch dinner was brilliant and this year we expect about 500 walkers.”
AMA will aim to best last year’s total donation by £250,000. It has raised more than £3.5million since its first Walk for Peace.