LONDON: A high court judge last week dismissed Tablighi Jamaat’s (TJ) plan to build Europe’s biggest mosque in East London and disallowed their plea for an appeal against the judgement,
...high court judge last week threw out their petition seeking suspension of an injunction for the demolition of a smaller mosque located on the site. The high court judge also disallowed the TJ plea for an appeal against the judgement reviving chances of the demolition of existing structures starting within weeks.
Only a restraining order from the European Court of Human Rights, where trustees had filed an application in the second week of this month, can save Masjid Ilyas and stop council bulldozers rolling into the 17-acre land...
In the absence of any restraining order from the European Court of Human Rights, the Newham Borough Council can start demolition of the mosque if it is not pulled down by the trustees within six months. The council can also initiate legal proceedings to get a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) if it faced resistance from the TJ trustees or their followers.
The trustees of Tablighi Jamaat have been directed to pay London Borough of Newham £22,207 as costs within four months and can be acted against if the payment is not made by Feb 23.
During the latest hearing of the case on Jan 19, the court was told that there was currently a mosque with a capacity for 2,500 worshippers and a large parking area on the site. A large number of Tablighi Jamaat members from different parts of London gather at the mosque every Thursday night for listening to sermons of senior clerics and go out for their missionary work involving door-knocking in different areas, inviting ordinary Muslims to mosque for prayers. There is unlikely to be any major disruption for the majority of TJ members as a group led by TJ’s London emir has already shifted Thursday weekly Mashwara or consultative meeting to 800-capacity old London Markaz in Tower Hamlet area.
Moiz-ur-Rahman, a representative of the trustees, informed the court that they were in touch with a group of developers and could sign agreements with it in days if given an opportunity with extension in the current suspension order. He said the TJ was a different organisation where all the decisions are made through consensus and after consultations with elders. He said that the trustees wanted to move fast but things were not in their control. The petition to suspend the demolition injunction for a period of one year was filed on behalf of three trustees of Tableeghi Markaz -- Solat Sikandar, Ibrahim Sheikh and Zulfiqar Ali.
Mr Rahman also informed the court that there would be considerable disturbance in the large number of people in the Muslim community as it catered to the large catchment area in and around Greater London Authority. He informed the court there was a possibility of return of protests previously organised by the Newham Community Alliance.
The judge, however, disregarded the hardship resulting from the enforcement saying that the current activity at the site was unlawful and it had to stop and the court wanted to hold the trustees to account for legally binding undertakings they had given during the court proceedings in the past. The judge said that of the 12-month suspension period sought by the trustees, five months had also passed and there was very little progress on the part of trustees..
Alan Craig, campaign director of Newham Concern, a local group campaigning against the construction of 9,500-capacity mosque, told Dawn, "Tablighi Jamaat has procrastinated and delayed, has ridden roughshod over planning regulations and regularly broken the law. . . It is now time for Newham Council to send in the bulldozers and knock down the illegal temporary mosque on the site and liberate the land for a mixed use development that will benefit the whole community,”
Photograph E Weatherwax September 2012
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