NEWPORT’S Muslim umbrella organisation is continuing its battle against extremism and is aiming to present a positive image of Islam to the wider community, its Ramadan meeting was told this week.

The Council of Mosques and Muslim Organisations – Newport (Common) met at the city’s civic centre on Wednesday night, joined by councillors, Assembly Members, representatives of Christian churches, the armed forces and police service, health board and Welsh government, and representatives of its member organisations.

Chairman of the organisation Ifthir Ahmed-Miah told the gathered guests that the work of the body set up in 2009, formed from a vigil held in response to a planned march by the English Defence League, is ground-breaking in Wales.

In 2010, he hit out at Muslim extremists who “craved publicity for their appalling” views.

On Wednesday night, he said: “It is fitting that we renew our work at Ramadan when we examine our relationships with people and with God.”

He praised the Argus’ positive coverage of the organisation’s launch, and said Newport has some notable firsts – including the response to the threatened EDL march which has since been adopted by communities in places such as Cardiff.

“We have not had to mobilise a second time to oppose them,” Mr Ahmed-Miah said.

“We can be justifiably proud of the community relationships we have in Newport.”

The meeting was told that Newport was the first Muslim community in Wales to organise the production and circulation of leaflets opposing extremist teachings, and that Common had a role to play in the safeguarding of the teaching of children in mosques and madrassas.

He said the organisation’s work to “marginalise extremist voices” had been used as a model throughout South Wales.

Speakers including AM William Graham also paid tribute to the late Nasim Babur for his role as chairman of the Newport Pakistan Association.