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  •  December 19, 2012, 03:21 PM

    There has been something of a controversy in the last few days.

    An advertising campaign of billboards at a number of London railway stations, organised by a group called the Quran Project, and offering free Qur'ans in English to commuters, has become a rallying point for activists after some of the posters were taken down.

    A commenter on Reddit explains the affair in more detail.

    Following numerous requests for the English translation of The Quran from non muslims who have seen the Billboards at the Major London Railway Stations and 5 Shahadas at Victoria Station on Saturday, Network Rail and Chiltern Railways began to order our billboards to be removed on the grounds of no religious advertising on their premises despite allowing other faith groups to carry out similar campaigns in a move which can only be seen as clearly discriminatory.

    It appears that the English Translation of The Quran is a book too controversial for them to allow to be advertised on their premises. However, we know that "...And God is the best of planners." [Quran 8:30]

    By trying to remove the billboards this has created a massive movement on social media in support of the billboard campaign and bought more attention on The Quran itself, which can only be a good thing God willing!

    After receiving large numbers of complaints against the hypocrisy and discriminatory behavior of the rail-stations, the stations have now allowed the project to continue until the 24th of December, and the interest for the Qur'an has only grown more as a result.

    Verily, Allaah is the best of planners.

    Unless some contractual rules were violated, the decision to remove the posters was utterly egregious.

    If it is the case that other religions have advertised on billboards in the same manner, there is no just cause for non-offensive Islamic posters to be removed from these hoardings.

    On a wider issue, we wonder if it was complaints from members of the public which may have resulted in the billboards being removed.

    As Ex-Muslims, we often find ourselves being censored in a similar manner, and for this reason, and for the principles of freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, we support the decision of the company to re-instate the billboards.

    We hope that this affair can help to spark a debate about matters of freedom of expression and religion in the UK, and we hope that finding common ground on these matters can help to advance the cause of Ex-Muslims, when they too find themselves confronted with issues of censorship, and curtailment of their freedom of conscience and expression.

    This may, for example, involve a critical engagement with the claims made by the Qur'an Project in regard to the truth claims of Islam. In a secular society, such critical engagement is vital.

    We hope that Muslims who campaigned against this unfair decision to remove the Quran Project billboards can join with us in having this debate, and supporting the free expression of ex-Muslims in the future.

    To comment on this article, please reply in this topic: The Quran Project Billboards Removal - An Opportunity For Common Ground
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