‘Its arrival in
will be a significant coup for Islam and a major event for the country as a whole. It will also make Abu Izzadeen’s depiction of that part of east
as “a Muslim area” seem remarkably prescient.’
- Philip Johnston, from ‘The shadow cast by a mega-mosque’
According to an article that appeared in the Evening Standard, the mosque will be part of a giant ‘Islamic village’ situated next to the Olympic site. It will be known as the Abbey Mills Islamic Centre, located in the lower
at West Ham near the station.
At the moment, those travelling to West Ham by District Line see to the north a group of non-descript low-level brick buildings on an otherwise derelict site. The buildings are a temporary mosque for which planning permission actually expired on 31st October 2006. Tablighi Jamaat want to replace the temporary buildings with the MegaMosque but to date they have not put in a planning application for it.
The architects Mangera Yvars have written that the centre will take up to 50,000 square metres at Abbey Mills in West Ham.
The mosque and the surrounding buildings are expected to have a capacity of 70,000. This is only 10,000 fewer than the Olympic stadium itself, making it the largest place of worship in all of
The site will include:
- a school
- youth facilities
- a library
- a massive dining area
- an exhibition zone
- residential accommodation
- an Islamic garden with a built area of 180,000m2
- millions of translucent tiles that will be illuminated at night
- an inbuilt system for recycling water
- an internal tidal power plant
- combined heat and power units
- CHP and photovoltaic technology
- wind turbines built into the minarets
- solar panels to generate energy
- 50,000 square metres of interior surface space on which the entire text of the Koran will be written
‘It will be something never before seen in this country’, a senior member of Tablighi Jamaat was quoted as saying in a Sunday Times report. ‘It is a mosque for the future as part of the British landscape.’
British Muslim sources estimate the project will cost at least £300 million.
already has more mosques than any other western city, including Europe’s largest mosque on a five-acre site in
. So why do they want to build yet another
mosque? The answer was suggested by Melanie Phillips in her recent book Londonistan. ‘The cultural significance and symbolism of a project on this scale are unmistakable. It would make the most powerful statement possible, on the back of the high-visibility Games, about the primacy of Islam in
. That is why it is being proposed.’
(For more information, read the reports of Philip Johnston, Fresh Technology, World Architecture News, Sky Scraper News and worldchanging.com)
The London Thames Gateway Development Corporation have published a brochure setting out their vision for the
. In it they write that ‘a large mosque…will, if realised, significantly increase the importance of West Ham as a cultural and religious destination.’ This is part of their vision to ‘transform West Ham into a vibrant, mixed use centre…’
But what will really happen if the mosque is allowed to go up in West Ham? Tablighi Jamaat, who plan to use the site as their new European headquarters, have a history of taking over towns. If the mosque is built, there is little question that West Ham will be Islamicised.
Tablighi Jamaat’s current European headquarters is in the
area of Dewsbury, west
, where a mosque and school were built in the late 70s and early 80s. Since then, the area has been practically taken over by Muslims. One local expert said that
has been colonised by Tablighi Jamaat.
West Ham locals fear that a similar effect will happen in their community and the surrounding areas if the Olympic mosque is built. ‘This part of
has always been a very diverse community and that is how it should be kept,’ said Alan Craig, a Newham councillor representing the Christian People’s
. ‘We can’t have one group taking over.’
Mr. Craig’s words were echoed by Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of the Barnabas Fund. Mr. Sookhdeo was quoted in the Observer as saying that ‘The mosque would bring a radical transformation of the local community. The mosque is the centre of the community and people gravitate to it. You would end up having a completely Muslim community... It would create a separate district, a parallel society.'
The Islamic teaching and Quran study to be carried out in the complex is another cause for concern. The radical Tablighi Jamaat are not expected to teach tolerance and integration in the mega-mosque. They will teach the way of Jihad, the path of martyrdom, the superiority of Shariah law and the supremacy of Islam in
. Waves of destabilization and terror will spread like ripples from West Ham over the whole