The Mega Mosque Unravels a Little More
One of Islam’s most secretive sects has begun a charm offensive to win support for plans to build Britain’s biggest place of worship.Tablighi Jamaat, an ultra-orthodox religious movement, abandoned its traditional dislike of modernity and politics to set up a website, broadcast on YouTube and hire a Westminster lobbying company.The group, which intelligence agencies fear is a gateway to extremism, wants to build a mosque with a capacity for 12,000 worshippers. It would cost up to £75 million. Outline proposals for the site, beside the London 2012 Olympic Park, also envisage a religious boarding school with places for 500 pupils.If the scheme goes ahead the new mosque would dwarf other mosques and churches; Britain’s largest Anglican cathedral, in Liverpool, holds a congregation of 3,000.Tablighi Jamaat’s plans have been in a state of flux for months. Strong local opposition has generated bad publicity about a “mega-mosque” and there have been reports that government ministers will seek to block planning permission. The group claims that it has dismissed Ali Mangera, the award-winning architect who drew up futuristic designs for the mosque complex, and is revising its plans. But Mr Mangera told The Times he was still involved in the project and expected an announcement soon.
An ultra-orthodox Islamic sect has delayed plans to build a "mega-mosque" in East London after the Government warned it could "raise tensions" in the community.Tablighi Jamaat had intended to submit plans to build Britain's largest place of worship next to the Olympic site, this September. But the group told Times Online that no plans would now be submitted until next year at the earliest.A spokesperson for Tablighi Jamaat said that plans for the 18-acre site in Newham were being drawn up, but he added: “There's no expectation of any planning application before the end of the year, because of the size of the application."Plans for the mosque have been blighted over the last few months. The group, which intelligence agencies fear is a gateway to extremism, recently claimed they had dismissed award-winning architect Ali Mangera from the project, and has yet to announce his replacement.
Under planning legislation, local planning authorities are responsible for the day to day control of development in their area. In doing so they are required to take into account all material considerations including the views of interested persons and particularly local communities.With respect to the proposal associated with a site near the Olympic development in Newham, we understand from Newham Council that there is no current planning permission or application for a mosque and Newham Council do not expect a planning application in the near future.The Government believes that where controversial issues such as this arise, all involved should ensure that discussions are conducted in a manner that respects the views of all sections of our communities and in a way that does not raise tensions in local areas.
The London Borough of Newham and the Trust agree that they are both committed to achieving the comprehensive and lasting redevelopment of the land known as the Abbey Mills Riverine Centre/former RTZ chemicals site London E15.The Council wishes to see a mixed use development of the Riverine site and confirms that it has no objection in principle to the inclusion of a major new, high quality mosque and related study and community uses as part of the comprehensive redevelopment of the site.The trust commits itself to the principle of achieving the comprehensive redevelopment of the site which includes a mix of uses as well as a major new, high quality mosque and related study and community uses.The Trust recognises that the council has a proposal for a new road and canal in the Lea valley as part of its overall proposals to transform the Lea Valley as expressed in the Lea Valley Framework plan. The road and canal proposals traverse The Trust site.
- The Borough Council have agreed in principle to the building of a Mosque.
- Planning permission may not be applied for until next year but a new architect will be engaged and plans will be drawn up. No one permanently uses a £1.6 million site via old huts and marquees.
- Meanwhile worship continues on the site in the existing old buildings.
- Tablighi Jamaat are not an organisation we should be encouraging.
- Local Muslims are as suspicious as any of us.
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