The sectarian differences among Muslims have gone for a big test in London, with plans by the Tablighi Jamaat to build a mega mosque in East London facing fierce resistance, not only from non-Muslims but fellow Muslims as well.
The Tablighi Jamaat movement on 5 September 2012 resubmitted their plan to build a three storey mosque that will house eight apartments, an Islamic library, parks, a school and other community facilities.
The 16-acre complex will be able to hold between 10,000 and 70,000 people. America’s largest mega-church, Lakewood Church in Houston, seats only 25,000. Britain’s largest cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral in Liverpool, accommodates a mere 3,000. If completed, the mosque, with its space-age design will become the biggest place of worship in the whole Europe. It is feared that the mega-mosque would eclipse London’s iconic Christian landmarks, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
Critics claim that the Islamic movement preaches separatism and segregation. Two of the July 7, 2005, London bombers – Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Sidique Khan – are believed to have prayed at a Tablighi mosque in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, before committing their alleged terror attack.
“They teach that if you want to be a good Muslim you must separate off from non-Muslims… It’s only Tablighi Jamaat – of all the Islamic groups – that has created ghettos over in Toronto, in Canada. They’re all around the world, this is a huge group and wherever they go they create barriers, hostility, division, they create separatism,” Alan Craig, campaign director of ‘Mega Mosque No Thanks,’ which is actively opposing its construction, told RT.
That view is shared by many Muslims in East London. Asqhar Bukhari, a spokesperson for the UK branch of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, told RT, “Muslims themselves oppose this mosque. Not on the grounds that, they don’t want to worship their God, but on the grounds that women aren’t allowed, the local population, the Muslim population, has no say in how the mosque itself is governed.”
The mosque would take over much of the Borough of Newham, the home of West Ham Football Club. Other Muslims are already moving into the area in anticipation of changes to come.