A mosque opened its doors to the public to promote its message of peace and community values.
Christians, charity workers, councillors and members of the public attended the event in the Noor Mosque, in Langley Green, on Sunday (June 1).
Ahsan Ahmedi, regional president of the Ahmadiyya community in Sussex, said: “This event is to tell everyone that we are here to serve and build a peaceful town.
“I hope that today’s event will continue the work we are doing in order to diminish that anxiety people have about Islam and Muslims in the West.”
Mr Ahmedi said Islamic extremists’ beliefs were “corrupted” by external factors such as politics.
He said: “Instead of going back to the founding teachings they create their own religions.
“They start creating fences on their beliefs and their teachings and understanding has become corrupt.
“Once that happens that religion becomes destructive, one of the signs is terrorism.”
On Islamophobia, Mr Ahmedi blamed the media for giving disproportional coverage to the minority of terrorists within the faith.
He said: “It’s a minor percentage of Muslims that are terrorists but the only thing you hear is terrorists.”
Mr Ahmedi called on the wider Muslim community to do more to denounce terrorism within their communities.
He said: “The real problem is the people themselves for carrying out the terrorism and second for the wider Muslim community not to speak out against it as they should.”
He urged other Crawley mosques to “be more open”.
He said: “It’s the best way of getting people to have a better understanding of Islam.
“If we keep to ourselves the wider community will grow in suspicion.
“I urge all mosques to be more open - show them what you do and do with them what good they do.”
Brenda Smith (Lab, Langley Green), said: “They’ve always done these events over the last 14 years. Their motto - love for all hatred for none - is an important statement for all of us to try to adhere to. I feel a part of this community even though I’m a Christian.”
She said plans were made for a discussion of women’s issues in Islamic countries at the event.