An international Muslim group, which runs the largest mosque in London, has celebrated its centenary year in the UK at an event in Theydon Bois.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, which aims to promote a positive image of Islam, held the event at Theydon Bois Village Hall on Saturday.
Ahmadiyya Muslims vary from mainstream Islamic belief in that they believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who lived between 1835 and 1908, was a prophet.
The community is persecuted in some countries and they are not even recognised as Muslims in Pakistan.
Referring to the killing of Lee Rigby last year, association president Rafiq Ahmed Hayat said: “Some people forget the fundamental teachings of their faith and some are misconstrued and used to gain power.
“The killers of Lee Rigby were two criminals using the name of Islam to carry out their acts.
“Islam allows aggression to defend yourself but does not allow indiscriminate killing which has nothing to do with faith.”
Epping Forest MP, Eleanor Laing, Epping Forest District Chairman, Mary Sartin, and Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston attended the event.
Guests Jim Watts and partner Linda Tilling, of Hornby Road, Theydon Bois, welcomed the association’s visit.
Mr Watts said: “It’s a good idea to counter any narrow minded views of Islam.
“Theydon Bois is a very close community and I would like to say we get on with everyone but that hasn’t been tested because it’s a predominantly white area."
“This group has shown they want to integrate and accept the values of the community they are part of while still retaining their own identity which I think is a good thing.”
The association runs a mosque in Morden.