Peace message marks end of Ramadan
Up to 15,000 people have been given a message of peace between communities at the largest Eid celebration in the UK marking the end of Ramadan.
Thousands of believers gathered at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, south London - the largest mosque in western Europe.
The Eid celebration, which follows a month of fasting for Muslims, was organised for the British-based Islamic group Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK. The group has been praised for its commitment to peaceful co-existence and charitable works.
His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad - the Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya, a figure similar to the Pope in Catholicism - delivered an hour-long sermon shown live on television to more than nine million people and translated into seven languages.
Rafiq Hyat, national president of the Ahmadiyya community in the UK, said the group's main message on Eid was one of peace. "His Holiness has always encouraged all the various communities to come together in peaceful dialogue and try and achieve peace in this world through justice," he said. "He feels the only way we are going to have peace in this world is if there is justice from all sides and once we have justice we will have peace."
Asked about life as a Muslim in the UK following the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby by Islamist extremists in May, Mr Hyat said: "I have lived in London most of my life and I feel that London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world now, it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities. I think there is generally an understanding that these people that do such acts are just pure criminals, they have nothing to do with the faith. In fact in this mosque 5,000 people gathered to say prayers for Drummer Lee Rigby's family after his demise.
"We stood shoulder to shoulder with the British people to mourn the death of one of our soldiers. The people who committed the crime have no idea of what their faith teaches because the word Islam itself means peace."
Crowds of worshippers packed into the huge mosque, which is located on a former milk bottling plant and uses a re-clad chimney as its minaret. Many were unable to fit into the main prayer room and watched the Khalifa's sermon on television sets within the building.
Addressing them, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad made reference to the sectarian strife currently affecting Muslim countries such as Syria.
Nasira Rehman, president of the Ahmadiyya women's association in the UK, explained why men and women celebrated in separate rooms. She said: "In Islam, ladies and men are segregated but we do exactly the same things. To make things easier for us to follow Islam the right way, women and men have their separate prayer hall, but I would say that the women's prayer hall is more colourful than the men. We have all got our nice clothes on, etc, but we thank God for everything in exactly the same celebrations. It is one of the fundamental teachings of Islam that men and women should have modesty with each other and this is the way we have been taught to have modesty, with that segregation."