London bus
Ahmadiyya has been advertising its messages of peace on London buses

Thousands of British Muslims are gathering in Surrey this weekend at a mass peace rally aimed at rejecting religious extremism.

Some 5,000 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), the largest Muslim youth group in the UK, will take part in the annual event in Tilford and engage in dialogue aimed at promoting peace and religious tolerance.

Members of the British armed forces, the police, fire brigade and ambulance service are expected to attend the three-day event, which includes sporting competitions, exhibitions and screenings of World Cup games.

The current Caliph of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who is spiritual leader to millions of Ahmadi Muslims across the globe, will attend the event and address participants.

"Britain has provided a home for people from across the world," Ahmad said. "As Ahmadi Muslims, we give thanks to queen and country for allowing us to practise our faith freely.

"When we say Islam means peace, we practise that very fact and demonstrate it with our actions. Our ethos is 'Love for all, hatred for none'."

Adam Walker, spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, told IBTimes UK: "During each day of the gathering, all participants offer a verbal pledge of allegiance to the UK. This has been done for decades because for Ahmadi Muslims, loyalty to one's country is considered an important part of the Islamic faith.

"The AMYA has worked with tens of thousands of practising young British Muslims for decades and instilled in them the understanding that peace, respect and tolerance are values shared by both their religion and nation.

"As a result, AMYA members have always rejected extremism, contributed tirelessly towards British society and have been commended by every part of society for their work."

The event also hopes to influence government education policy by stressing the importance of keeping schools largely secular.

"While everyone has a right to a more in-depth religious education if they choose, we feel that it should take place outside school," Walker said.

"A generic religious education syllabus aimed at creating general awareness and understanding of other faiths and cultures, inclusive of the beliefs of people of no faith, is healthy."

Deputy UK Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "This volunteer work represents an essential part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community's really important contribution to UK national life whether through helping to raise wider awareness and understanding of the Islamic faith, or fundraising and feeding the homeless, donating blood, and other charitable acts."

Earlier this month, 24 Muslim cyclists took part in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association's Ride4Peace charity event. The cyclists stopped at 10 mosques along the 600-mile route from Glasgow to London, and raised an estimated £100,000 for British charities.