LONDON - An advertising campaign aimed at countering negative views of Muslims was launched in London on Monday as a survey showed that a majority of Britons linked Islam with terrorism.
The adverts, which will appear on London taxis, underground trains and bus stops, feature pictures of Muslim professionals.
The Inspired by Muhammad campaign is organised by the Exploring Islam Foundation, a group run by British Muslim professionals which aims to challenge "damaging stereotypes about Islam through the medium of creative resources."
A YouGov poll of 2,152 British adults conducted for the foundation last month found that 58 percent associated Islam with extremism and 50 percent associated the religion with terrorism.
Some 13 percent thought Islam was based on peace and six percent associated it with justice.
Asked if Muslims had a positive impact on British society, four in 10 disagreed.
The poll also found that 69 percent thought Islam encouraged the repression of women.
"We are very concerned about the way our faith is perceived by the public," said the foundation's campaigns director Remona Aly.
"We want to foster a greater understanding of what British Muslims are about and our contribution to British society. We are proud of being British and being Muslim."
They launched the campaign Monday against the backdrop of London's iconic Tower Bridge, with the slogan "The rights of women are sacred" and an Internet link written on the side of a taxi.
Other adverts have slogans like "I believe in social justice. So did Muhammad."
A spokesman for Quilliam, the counter-extremism think tank, said: "We welcome the Inspired By Muhammad campaign as a valuable and timely step to help improve relations and foster deeper understanding between British citizens."
At the last census, conducted in 2001, there were 1.6 million Muslims living in Britain -- 2.8 percent of the population -- making it the second most common religion after Christianity.
London had the highest proportion of Muslims in Britain, at 8.5 percent.