Muslim peace march: Hundreds take to Cologne streets to protest Islamist terrorism

'Love for all, hatred for none,' proclaims one banner

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The Independent Online

A Muslim "peace march" against terrorism has been held in the German city of Cologne.

The DPA news agency reported that a few hundred people gathered for the demonstration Saturday, with placards such as "Together against terror" and "Hatred makes the earth hell," and the crowd later grew to over 1,000. 

The organisers of the "Not With Us" march had expected several thousand protesters.

Marchers held banners including one that said: "Love for all, hatred for none," and another reading: "A Muslim protects lives and does not take them".

The country's biggest Islamic association had refused to take part in the march, which was led by groups representing the Ahmadi sect.

The Turkish-Islamic Union argued it would send the wrong signal by suggesting that international terrorism is mainly a Muslim problem.

It also said Muslims observing the Ramadan fast could not be expected to march for hours in summer temperatures. 

That stance drew criticism from the government, which welcomed the march.

The protest comes in the wake of recent terror attacks in the UK and around the world. 

"The attacks by people who justify their acts by invoking Islam, without justification, are becoming more frequent," protest organisers wrote ahead of the rally.

They added: "Our faith is being abused, defiled, insulted and distorted into something unrecognisable by this. Let us put a powerful sign against violence and terror."

Additional reporting by AP

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