Category: EDL News Published on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 22:45 Written by simonxml Hits: 3701
Mega Mosque!! Biggest religious building in Britain!! Largest mosque in Europe!! 40,000 visitors!! Potential to accommodate 70,000 people!!
Some pretty amazing statistics. They were enough to shock the local residents in 2007 when the owners of the site off the Canning Road in the London Borough of Newham announced their plans. The £300 million mosque was intended to serve as a reception centre for athletes and fans from Islamic countries during the 2012 Olympics games. However, the thought of such an imposing structure on the doorstep of the new Olympic stadium was also enough to stir the government into action and announce that it would never allow such a monster to be constructed so close to the stadium. Coincidentally, a series of compulsory purchases nibbled away at the land holding, making the original plans somewhat impossible, and things went quiet for a while. Until September 5th 2012 that is, when the owners of the site submitted new plans for approval to the council and the residents’ protest movements swung back into action(http://www.megamosquenothanks.com/).
Mega mosque or just hype?
The site for the Masjid-e-Ilyas (or its more appeasing name the London Markaz) was very quietly purchased in 1996 for £1.6 million by the Anjuman-e-Islahul Muslimeen and Al-Medina charitable trusts and a number of anonymous holding companies.
Over the following years, a rudimentary mosque was constructed that could accommodate about 2,000 people. Deadlines came and went, the council issued warnings and threats but, it having been an industrial site owned by RTZ, despite this being possibly one of the worst contaminated sites in the country the mosque quietly continued, never stepping over the line so far as to trigger real action, until in 2007, plans were announced for a mosque with a maximum capacity at 12,000 worshipers. This would have made it the largest religious building in Britain and the largest mosque in Europe. However, it wasn’t so much the public concern that stalled plans as the fact that the site is close to the Olympic site. It is ironic that at around the same time Kingsway International Christian Centre, Europe's biggest evangelical church, was pulled down to make room for the Olympics.
In a later design contest the community was shocked awake by plans for a complex that could accommodate 40,000 visitors simultaneously, with the potential for expanding to cater for as many as 70,000 people. It was enough to ring the alarm bells. Some local politicians finally got a clue and The Daily Telegraph reported that the Newham planning department would refuse the mosque's application as a project of that size “had the potential to cause damage to community relations in the area” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1542995/Supermosque-for-70000-will-be-blocked.html). In response, the owners downscaled the plans.
The plans submitted in September 2012 for the newly renamed Riverine Centre (riverinecentre.com) talk of a “building that provides a landmark and a destination not only for the Islamic community but for the whole of Newham and beyond”.
The main part of the construction is a prayer hall that will be capable of accommodating a maximum of 7,440 men with a separate prayer facility on an upper level that can accommodate 1,872 women. The facility will therefore have an overall capacity to accommodate 9,312 people. In addition, there will be a dining hall with a capacity for 2,000 people eating at any one time. Mega mosque? Well, let’s try a little comparison ... The Riverine Centre will be one of the largest mosques in the UK. Liverpool Cathedral, the largest church in the UK (and the 5th largest in the world) can at a stretch, for special events, accommodate 3,500 people standing, or about 2,300 seated. Some mosque!
Does Newham need such a monumental mosque? A good question. According to varying statistics there are between 43 and 95 registered mosques in the London Borough of Newham. That must mean a lot of Muslims? … well, in the words of the new mosque’s developers, “The community is modest in nature but the reality is that the growing community needs now require a new, large centre. The new building will be instantly recognisable in the urban landscape ... [a] unique space, meeting the needs of the community … a symbol of our shared values of tolerance, diversity and inclusion at the heart of Newham”. It certainly will.
So where is the money coming from?
In September 2006, The Guardian reported on concerns regarding funding for the £300 million construction project. Documentation filed with the Charity Commission indicated that Anjuman-E-Islahul Muslimeen's annual donations were on the order of only £500,000, suggesting the need for significant extra financial support to come from somewhere to fund the building project (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/sep/24/communities.religion). Allegations were made that the project would be funded by Saudi fundamentalist groups. The Muslim leaders concerned claim that funding would be raised by contributions from local Muslim communities (and the British government firmly denied rumours that they were preparing to contribute £100 million).
Whether a British Muslim organization could have raised £300 million to build a mosque on the scale planned in 2007 is an interesting question. Although the 2012 plans are not as adventurous, they still represent a significant amount of money.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the Saudis have spent at least $87 billion propagating their form of the Islamic belief - called Wahhabism - abroad during the past two decades. It is estimated that more than 1,500 mosques have been built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years (Giles Kepel, “Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam”).
Saudi funding is directly responsible for the radicalization of much of South Asia. Based on US intelligence, it is believed that in 2005 the rulers of Saudi Arabia approved a $35-billion plan to build mosques and madrassas in South Asia (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/saudi-charities-pump-in-funds-through-hawala-channels-to-radicalise-kashmir-valley/1/165660.html).
Could this mosque be funded by Saudi Arabia? Perhaps looking at who the owners of the site are will cast some light on the matter.
So who are the owners?
The Anjuman-e-Islahul Muslimeen and Al-Medina charitable organisations, as well as some of the companies involved such as Ranger Ltd., are fronts for an organisation called the Tablighi Jamaat.
Tablighi Jamaat is a Deobandi Muslim organisation that has close links with the Wahhabi form of the religion practised by the Saudi royal family. They preach a return to the teachings and customs of Islam's seventh-century founders, including the segregation of women and the rejection of modern institutions such as democracy. Voting apparently distracts Muslims from the “worthier task of preparing for judgment day”.
Wahhabism (an ultra-conservative offshoot of Salafism, which is not one of the four schools of Muslim jurisprudence) is a violent fundamentalist Islamist doctrine that rejects all non-Wahhabi forms of Islam, especially the spiritual forms of Islam such as Sufism. Wahhabism is an expansionist sect that is intolerant of Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism. It is anti-homosexual, anti-women, and anti-democracy. It is opposed to all other forms of Islam and considers Shi‘ites, non-Salafi Sunnis and Sufis to be worse than infidels; having known Islam, they are apostates, traitors who have perverted the true belief and deserve only death. Wahhabism is the most extreme, intolerant and oppressive form of Islam. It seeks to destroy western civilisation and anyone who does not ascribe to its beliefs.
But the Tablighi Jamaat are Deobandi, pacifists, preachers … they say they are peaceful! While it cannot be said that Tablighi Jamaat are as extreme as Wahhabism, and the leaders behind the Newham mosque have repeatedly insisted on their peaceful intentions, their lack of any connection with terrorism and the non-political nature of their beliefs, it is this very refusal to be drawn on these issues that is said to fuel the fires of budding extremism.
“… [they] teach people to exclude themselves, that they don't fit in, that the modern world is an aberration, an offense, some form of blasphemy,'' Khaled Abou El Fadl, professor of Islamic law at UCLA. ''By preparing people in this fashion, you are preparing them to be in a state of warfare against this world.''
''We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States, and we have found that Al Qaeda used them for recruiting, now and in the past,'' Michael J. Heimbach, deputy chief of the FBI's international terrorism section (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/14/us/a-muslim-missionary-group-draws-new-scrutiny-in-us.html).
“The Deobandi interpretation holds that a Muslim's first loyalty is to his religion … secondly, that Muslims recognise only the religious frontiers of their Ummah and not the national frontiers; thirdly,that they have a sacred right and obligation to go to any country to wage jihad to protect the Muslims of that country (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/intro/islam-deobandi.htm)
“A global Islamic missionary group has emerged as a key influence on terrorists targeting Britain. Tablighi Jamaat, a powerful, grass-roots religious organisation based in South Asia, is a common link to a string of attacks and conspiracies. Some see them as the Islamic equivalent of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a faintly cultish but ultimately harmless group. Others see a more sinister side to the organisation, whose teachings have become a plain-clothes recruiting sergeant for jihad. American intelligence has voiced growing concerns about Tablighi after a number of detainees in Guantanamo Bay said they had been affiliated to the organisation. A French counter-terrorism official called it the ‘antechamber of fundamentalism’ because it acted as a stepping stone to more extremist action.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1557111/The-peaceful-group-linked-to-radical-Muslims.html).
Shoe-bomber Richard Reid and 7/7 bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were all members of Tablighi Jamaat (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1557111/The-peaceful-group-linked-to-radical-Muslims.html).
But the Riverine Centre (also known as the London Markaz or, to use the name given it by its owners, the Masjid-e-Ilyas) isn’t the first Tablighi Jamaat mosque in the UK. There is already one other in Dewsbury. Has that been a centre for terrorism? A recruiting centre?
“The Markazi’s mullahs don’t condemn those of their devotees who try to blow up American passenger planes or succeed in murdering ordinary users of the London transport system; they merely stand serene behind benign philosophical platitudes of upholding ‘peaceful’ religious goals.” Danny Lockwood, ‘The Islamic Republic of Dewsbury’.
So who wants the mosque?
Of course the owners do, but obviously not the locals. A 2007 e-petition gathered a stunning 255,000 signatures, the most ever recorded on the government’s site (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6902367.stm). Not that this stopped the politicians; Prime Minister Cameron passed the buck by claiming that it was a local issue to be decided by the Newham council, while Ken Livingstone (then still Lord Mayor) said that the campaign against the mosque was part of a "vicious" campaign to spread untruths about the scheme.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, who co-founded the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, says there is no need for another mosque in East London.
Dr Siddiqui, an Indian-born elder statesman, said: "We have too many mosques. I think it should not be built. What we need first is more integration between the existing mosques and the wider community." (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/we-dont-need-this-olympics-mosque-6619129.html) .
Irfan Al-Alawi, Europe director of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism, who has expressed "extreme concern" about the spread of Tablighi Jamaat.
Turkish premier Erdogan, often quoting Ziya Gokalp: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers ...”
Not this Islamic sect. Not this mosque. Not here.
 Salafism is not aligned with any of the four schools of Muslim Jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali and Shafi’i), and whilst many of its adherents now condemn the schools for committing ‘shirk’, early writings by Muhammad Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabist movement, suggest that they originally did not.