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The Exploring Islam Foundation relies on private donations to fund its work, and we have depended on a lot of very able people to give their time free in developing this campaign.
Of course, there is a cost in booking ad spaces at tube stations, bus stops and cabs that we have used in our campaigns, but we are a charity and have not been able to spend mega-bucks. But we hope that what we have been able to do will start to make some impact on improving the perceptions of Islam in Britain today.
We know that turning around perceptions takes a long time but this campaign helps communicate the true values of Islam and the contribution that Muslims make to British society. It will hopefully encourage others to talk more openly and positively about being a Muslim in Britain today, and how their faith strengthens not weakens their commitment to British society and its core principles.
Who is behind the campaign?
Exploring Islam Foundation specialises in creative resources and high profile media campaigns to challenge misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. The Foundation is managed by a board of British Muslim professionals from a diverse range of expertise – strategy consultants, magazine editors, journalists, authors, public-relation experts, and art directors. The patron is Lord Adam Patel of Blackburn.
EIF was established in 2009 to fulfil the following aims:
- Challenge misconceptions surrounding Muslims and Islam
- Raise awareness about the belief, practice, history, and cultures of Islam
- Collaborate with organisations on humanitarian issues
- Highlight the contribution of Muslims to society
Our vision is of establishing a Foundation that combats the damaging stereotypes about Islam through the medium of creative resources. These information packages will provide a comprehensive insight to the faith. We envisage working across the spectrum of media outlets, from traditional print media to innovative e-media. We expect to build strong coalitions with like minded organisations and campaigns that are addressing global challenges in which we have a common aim.
At EIF we appreciate that the relationship between Islam and various aspects of modern life are continually under scrutiny. We want to play an active part in that debate and discuss the place of Islam in 21st century Britain. Our ambition is to engage in stimulating and thoughtful discussions on a spectrum of issues from economics, politics and social customs to history, art and spirituality.
Crucially, we want to dispel the common stereotypes and myths about Islam and Muslims by using strategic media campaigns and creative resources. We understand the immense value of tailoring the style of communication to suit and address the information needs of distinct user groups.
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Visit the campaign website here
Inspired by Muhammad: Media Campaign 2010
In June 2010, EIF launched its first awareness campaign across media platforms in London. The Inspired by Muhammad campaign was designed to improve the public understanding of Islam and Muslims. The campaign coincided with a national poll conducted by YouGov which found that 69% of people believed that Islam encourages the oppression of women, that just 6% of people associated Islam with justice and that a mere 6% believed that Islam promotes active measures to protect the environment. Overall, nearly half of all people in the UK believed that Islam does not have a positive impact on British society.
It showcased Muslims in Britain demonstrating how Muhammad inspires them to contribute to society, with a primary focus on women’s rights, social justice and the environment.
The vibrant poster-led campaign featured three Muslim individuals linked with each area. The info-ads were placed in key locations on London transport: in underground stations, at bus stops and a fleet of the capital’s iconic taxis. Tube stations featured in the campaign included Oxford Circus, Westminster, Bank, and Leicester Square.
The posters led onlookers to a unique website www.inspiredbymuhammad.com which gave further information about other areas promoted by Muhammad: charity, human rights, education, healthcare, animal welfare, and coexistence. It also related the life of Prophet Muhammad, and provided bite-size information about the basics of Islam.
The campaign generated a high level of media interest and was covered by Sky News, the BBC, Al Jazeera, MBC, Al Hurra TV, Voice of America, and hundreds of newspaper and online articles including The Times, The Independent, The Metro, and The Guardian.
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Prior to the success of Inspired by Muhammad, EIF launched ‘The Art of Integration’, a book by internationally renowned photographer Peter Sanders, at an event hosted by at the Royal Commonwealth Society in 2009, attended by Jack Straw MP and chaired by BBC anchorwoman Mishal Husain. Art of Integration is a collection of images from a cross-section of the British Muslim community. These beautiful, insightful and moving photographs capture the essence of the British Muslim identity and opens up a largely unseen world.
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