Thousands of Muslims held a rally in London on Saturday to fight extremism and promote moderation and inclusiveness, and launched a campaign to get one million people to sign an online declaration of peace by 2012. The event at Wembley arena was led by Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a Pakistan-born Islamic scholar who gained recognition after he published a detailed fatwa - or religious ruling - against terrorism and suicide bombings last year. The event, which took one year to organise, was attended by people from across the UK, many of whom arrived in coaches. Some 12,000 people are said to have attended and the event was broadcast to several countries. Tahir-ul-Qadri told the audience: "In spite of statements and memorandum and condemnation of the terror, the voices of the 99% true, peace-loving Muslims have not been heard, they have been drowned out by the clamour and the noise of extremists Islam has nothing to do with any act of terrorism. We reject every act of extremism and terrorism unconditionally." "I want to address those who are lost, who have a total misconception of jihad I want to send them a message come back to normal life. Whatever you're doing is totally against Islam," he told the audience, which included families with young children and students. Some Islamic scholars, including Tahir-ul-Qadri, have warned that a power vacuum in North Africa and the Middle East could lead to militant and extremist groups gaining ground in upcoming elections caused by the so-called Arab Spring. "If these elements come into power, it will be a big disaster," Tahir-ul-Qadri told The Associated Press. He said his message is primarily aimed at people who are on the edge of being radicalized not those who had already been "brainwashed." The audience heard pre-recorded messages of support from, amongst others, Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, opposition leader Ed Miliband, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. And there were prayers for peace from representatives from a number of different religions including the Bishop of Barking, the Rt Rev David Hawkins, Jewish rabbis and representatives from the Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths. The declaration of peace, which is seeking one million signatures before 1 January 2012, includes a call for democracy and good governance in the Muslim world, respect for human rights, and alleviation of poverty throughout the world.
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