Hundreds of young Muslims descended upon a Cumbrian town in a bid to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.
More than 700 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) took part in either a 5km or half marathon event in Keswick’s Fitz Park on Saturday.
Now in its 33rd year, the event is held all over England, and Keswick was chosen as a result of the close friendship built up between townsfolk and the association following Storm Desmond.
In the days and weeks after the devastating floods of 2015, the young Muslims travelled to Cumbria to offer practical help and support to flood victims.
They have also returned since as part of a fundraising cycle ride in aid of Cumbria Community Foundation.
Imam Farhad Ahmad told the News & Star that the aim of the event was partly to fundraise, but also to highlight ‘true Islam’.
“We had 10 vans from London, with children as young as five getting in,” he explained.
“They were all doing this to express the fact that the true teachings of Islam are of peace and tolerance.”
In a poignant moment, the runners and walkers stood shoulder-to-shoulder with locals to bow their heads to remember the victims of last week’s Spanish terror attacks.
The Mercy for Mankind Charity Challenge helped members practice the Islamic teachings of serving humanity, as they raised cash for charities including The Royal British Legion, Cumbria Community Foundation, Save the Children, NSPCC, Barnardos, CLIC Sargent, Unicef, British Red Cross, Mind Cumbria and others.
Since its inception, AMYA has raised more than £2m for UK charities.
Farooq Aftab, event organiser and deputy head of AMYA said: “Nowadays people have many misconceptions about Islam.
“We raise hundreds of thousands of pounds every year for British charities because we practice the true teachings of Islam.”
Imam Ahmad continued: “We’ve built very good relations with the locals in and around Keswick because of the floods, and since last year we have reached out to them.
“The event was very well-received, with many locals joining us or stopping to ask questions and listen to us and learn about Islam.”
The challenge is also expected to have provided a boost to the town’s economy.
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