Mega-Mosque Plans Could Make London "Muslim Capital of Europe"
by Dale Hurd
LONDON – Today, a neglected piece of real estate on London's east end sees little more than commuter trains rumbling past it.
But it's the future location of what some say will be the biggest Islamic in-road into Christendom in 400 years – a gigantic mosque complex, the likes of which the West has never seen.
This is the site for the proposed mega mosque. Currently, a small building is the present makeshift mosque on an undeveloped piece of land. Imagine a huge modern Islamic complex – in effect, an Islamic village for worshippers.
Video from the website of the mosque architect Ali Mangera shows what will be called the London Markaz, a 17-acre Islamic worship center for as many as 70,000 Muslims. Planned to be the hub of an Islamic quarter for the 2012 London Olympics, it will dwarf many of Britain's Christian cathedrals.
"It's going to be very large," said Alan Craig of the Christian Peoples' Alliance. "It's going to be a mosque, it's going to be an Islamic garden, there's going to be a library, there's going to be residential accommodation."
Craig, who is a councilman for the London borough of Newham where the mosque would be built, is fighting its construction.
"I'm not anti-Muslim," he said. "I'm a Democrat – I believe Muslims have the right to build mosques. But there's a difference between your average mosque down the road and this monster mosque, this mega mosque, which they want to build."
But it's not just the size of the mosque that's a concern. It is also about who is behind it – a shadowy group called Tablighi Jamaat. The Federal Bureau of Investigation states that Tablighi Jamaat has ties to al-Qaeda. Shoe bomber Richard Reid was associated with this group, as were two of the bombers who struck London's public transportation system in 2005. The money for the project comes from sources in the Middle East.
Even moderate British Muslims oppose the mosque and have circulated a petition against it. Dr Irfan al-Alawi, who says the mosque will be a security threat, is one of the leaders of the Muslim opposition.
"This mosque would lead to more violence in the U.K.," al-Alawi said. "I think, yes. Once the youth have been brainwashed, and been captured by the satanic ideology of the Tablighis, yes, it will come as a very hard-hitting movement."
But while some moderate British Muslims may think the mega-mosque is a bad idea, it has one important booster – the Lord Mayor of London.
"The person who is really behind it is Ken Livingstone," al-Alawi said.
Livingstone has what some would describe as a pro-Islamist, anti-Jewish track record. He's called Ariel Sharon a "war criminal" and has said that British Muslims who go to the Middle East and kill Israelis should not be called terrorists. He has welcomed London radical cleric Yusef al Qaradawi, who defends suicide bombings against Israelis.
The mega mosque project might have sailed through before Sept. 11, 2001. But in 2007, Britain is now considered a major base for homegrown Islamic terrorism. Newsweek reports that Britons are traveling to Pakistan where they're being trained to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.K.
Al-Alawi says Pakistan is also where Tablighi Jamaat sends young British born Muslims to be brainwashed into extremism.
"The British government (is) really going to turn a blind eye on that and say let's go ahead and give these people a chance," he said. "I don't think so. If they want a 9-11 in England, then by all means."
Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, says the British left still believes that accommodating radical Muslims will somehow pacify them.
"It's taken the line of least resistance and it, very foolishly in my view, believes that if you give in to the demands being made by extremists you kind of make the problem go away," she said.
But if anything, the "problem" in Britain is growing. Polls last year showed almost a quarter of British Muslims believe the July 7, 2005 London bombings were justified, and one in three want to live under sharia law.
Those kinds of headlines have helped galvanize grass roots opposition to the mega-mosque project.
Councilor Craig, who lives in a city with 300 mosques and 500 madrassahs, suggests Britain not allow anymore mosques until Muslims allow churches in Saudi Arabia.
"Why should the Saudis pay for a mosque in the U.K. when there is not one single church, temple, goodwara, synagogue in Saudi at all?" he said.
Spokesman for Tablighi Jamaat Abdul Khalique refused an interview request by CBN News. But he told the British press the mega mosque "…will be something never seen before in this country. It is a mosque for the future as part of the British landscape"
If the mega mosque is built, you can be sure of one thing: it will be the symbol for the incredible growth of Islam in Britain and in Western Europe.
Note: The content of external articles does not necessarily reflect the views of Center for Islamic Pluralism.