The purple, pink and green sign on the yellow London taxi reads: “The rights of women are sacred.” This is not some spiritual feminist mantra born of the New Age, but comes out of one of the most traditional religions in the world.

The advertisement marks the launch of a campaign to promote a positive image of Islam, a religion not widely known for its promotion of the rights of women. The negative view of a faith followed by nearly 1.6 billion people, or one fifth of the world’s population, is the main reason for the launch of the Inspired by Muhammad campaign.

After a new poll showed that 58 per cent of people associate Islam with extremism and 50 per cent with terrorism, the campaign is intended to promote a positive Islamic message about the environment and social justice as well as women. The campaign was launched by the Exploring Islam Foundation, a new and privately funded group run by young British Muslim professionals.

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