For the foreseeable future this website is not being updated.

Tablighi Jamaat seeks to keep mosque - The Guardian

8th February 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/08/tablighi-jamaat-mosque-plann...

By Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent for the Guardian.
Tablighi Jamaat seeks to keep mosque

Controversial Islamic group before planning inquiry to extend temporary permission for facility near Olympic site in London

n Islamic group once described as an "antechamber of fundamentalism" is attempting to extend temporary planning permission on its mosque near the Olympic site in east London.

Tablighi Jamaat, a global proselytising movement, which has no fixed constitution, hierarchy or membership scheme, secured temporary planning permission for the mosque – an assortment of pre-fabricated buildings and portable cabins – in 2001.

That permission expired in 2006 and last year Newham council issued an enforcement notice to stop the site being used for worship. The mosque serves about 5,000 people a week

Today, Russell Harris QC, on behalf of the mosque trustees, told a planning inquiry at East Ham town hall that there would be "significant harm" if the group failed in its bid to keep the facility operating.

"Its importance as a social and community facility now owes almost everything to its location and the scale of congregation which that allows, he said.

"Should there be a premature cessation of the use of the buildings, there is a very substantial if not overwhelming risk that the community will fracture and dissipate.

"There are no alternative premises within which the Thursday congregation could be viably accommodated. There would be nowhere for the community, which has prayed and debated together now for 13 years, to meet together."

But the presence of Tablighi Jamaat – and its plans to build a permanent place of worship – have aroused years of intense hostility and opposition, notably from former local councillor, Alan Craig, campaign director of Newham Concern.

John Pugh-Smith, representing Newham Concern, told the inquiry that Tablighi Jamaat was a "sect" that preached "separation and segregation" and that "expert witnesses" would explain how it promoted "hardline separatism and intolerance, including of other Muslim denominations" while also drawing attention to its "misogyny and refusal to open their current facilities to women".

Much of the controversy around Tablighi Jamaat comes from a common thread linking terror attacks and plots.

The group has been connected to Kafeel Ahmed, one of the Indian suspects arrested for the failed attack on Glasgow airport. He died from his injuries. Two of the 7/7 bombers, Shehzad Tanveer and Mohammed Siddique Khan, are said to have prayed at a Tablighi mosque in Dewsbury, Yorkshire.

French intelligence officials are widely reported as once describing Tablighi Jamaat as an "antechamber of fundamentalism" while Michael Heimbach, the deputy chief of the FBI's international terrorism section, was once quoted as saying that al-Qaida used the movement for recruitment purposes.

The group has always insisted it is peaceful and apolitical. The planning inquiry is expected to conclude next week.

Latest Locals Leaflets

Download PDF leaflet

Secretary of State, Greg Clark, refuses the appeal of the mosque trustees
Massive Step Forward as Secretary of State Refuses Appeals from Mosque Trustees

What can I do?

Donate



Follow us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Stay informed on our latest news!

Contact

Newham Concern Limited
Tenison House
Tweedy Road
Bromley
Kent
BR1 3NF

Phone: 07957 209456

Text: 07957 209456

Email us here »