A MUSLIM group, which is holding its major annual event at East Worldham this weekend, is launching a walk for peace.
Ahmadiyya Muslims, who are holding their 51st Jalsa Salana at the former Oaklands Farm site, plan to hold the walk in a bid to build bridges and mend divisions across the community.
The tolerant group is calling on people to walk shoulder to shoulder with them at a charity walk for peace between Bentley Station and Alice Holt Forest Centre.
Rizwan Ullah Khan, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Elder Association (AMEA), said: “Our message is love for all, hatred for none. This message is as important in these times as it has ever been and I hope that all people who want to live in peace together will come to the event and walk with us.
“This walk is inspired by tenets of Islam, of peace and understanding to your fellow man regardless of colour, creed or race.
“We hope to raise money to help relieve the suffering of others but also to bring people together to promote peace and goodwill.”
The five-mile walk, organised with the support of East Hampshire District Council (EHDC), will be held on September 9.
EHDC’s portfolio holder for customer relations Cllr Julie Butler said: “In East Hampshire we are lucky to live in such tight-knit and tolerant communities.
“But it is no longer just enough to live that way – we must also demonstrate to the world that these are our values so that others may follow our lead.
“That’s why the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association’s Charity Walk for Peace is so important and why we are happy to support it.”
Walks for Peace were launched by the AMEA in London in 1985 and since then more than £3.5m has been raised for more than 250 charities.
This is the first time the walk has been brought to East Hampshire and the AMEA hopes residents will turn out in force to support it.
The walk will focus its fundraising on two charities each year. This year the primary recipients will be Home-Start Butser and Home-Start Weywater and the Southern Domestic Abuse Service.
For more information, visit the website at: www.charitywalkforpeace.org
* With up to 35,000 visitors expected to attend the Jalsa Salana, drivers around the B3004 between Alton and Kingsley can expect delays. A park and ride service will operate from a special car park at Country Market at Kingsley and bus shuttles will run between Alton Station and the farm, now known as Hadeeqatul Mahdi.