A temporary mosque, once billed to be the largest mosque in the UK[1], in Stratford, East London faces demolition after being refused planning permission in 2012, 2015, and by a recent high court ruling. The Islamic missionary movement, Tablighi Jamaat, was refused permission in the basis of “concerns that include local housing provision and conflict with the council’s local plan for the borough”[2]. The high court also ruled that the mosque’s owners pay more than £22,000 in costs to the council, which said it “would welcome positive dialogue to bring forward a comprehensive development proposal that the council can support”[3].

The building had also been opposed by a 2007 petition, the creators of which claimed to represent “the Christian population of this great country England”, signed by more than 250,000 people. It claimed the mosque would “cause terrible violence and suffering”[4]. When the group was applying for planning permission in 2012, the Christian Peoples Alliance had also criticised the proposal, expressing concerns it would create an “Islamic enclave” or a “ghetto”[5]. This was combined with concerns from some in the local Muslim community itself who thought it would mean the community was dominated by one Islamic group[6].

The Tablighi Jamaat movement began in the 1920s and “has been accused of spreading an isolationist interpretation of Islam”. It has also been accused of “radicalising young Muslims”[7]. “It has said that it is apolitical and wants Muslims to return to the core principles of Islam”[8] and that it “promotes social and religious integration”[9].

[1] BBC, 2012.

[2] Sherwood, 2018.

[3] Sherwood, 2018.

[4] Sherwood, 2018.

[5] BBC, 2012.

[6] BBC, 2012; see also BBC, 2010.

[7] BBC, 2012.

[8] Burgess, 2018.

[9] BBC, 2012.

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BBC. (2010) ‘Plans collapse for Britain’s biggest mosque in London’. [online] 18 January. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8465694.stm. [Accessed 13 February 2018].

BBC. (2012) ‘Biggest UK mosque: Newham Council rejects plans’. [online] 5 December. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20605213. [Accessed 13 February 2018].

Burgess, K. (2018) ‘Judge orders demolition of Abbey Mills mosque in Stratford, east London’. [online] 7 February. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/judge-orders-demolition-of-abbey-mills-mosque-in-stratford-east-london-m79757bk0. [Accessed 13 February 2018].

Sherwood, H. (2018) ‘Mosque in east London to be demolished after high court ruling’. [online] 7 February. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/07/abbey-mills-east-london-mosque-to-be-demolished-after-high-court-ruling?CMP=share_btn_fb. [Accessed 13 February 2018].