Leading Muslim figures are joining London Mayoral candidate, Alan Craig,in his long-standing opposition to the the proposed Olympics Mega Mosque at West Ham, Newham. Councillor Craig is Leader of the Opposition on Newham Borough Council and is running for Mayor and the London Assembly for The Christian Choice. The mosque, if approved, will be Europe's largest.
Last year 2,500 Muslims in Newham signed their own petition against the mega-mosque. Now these leading Muslims have spoken to Alan Craig and are both expressing their support for his stance and are speaking out publicly against the mosque:
Irfan al-Alawi, UK & European Director of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism
Asghar and Zulfiqar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee
Dr Taj Hargey, Chairman of the Muslim Education Centre at Oxford
Haras Rafiq of the Sufi Muslim Council
Ed Husain, ex-Newham Hizb-ut-Tahrir and now Muslim moderate and media commentator
Joining them recently is co-founder of the Muslim Parliament, Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui. The Indian-born elder-statesman of political Islam in Britain said: "We have too many mosques. I think it should not be built."
This week the proponents of the mosque, Tablighi Jamaat announced a "charm offensive" in the run-up to submitting planning proposals. They have retained a public relations company, Indigo PR and have organised three events, the first on 15th and 16th March, inviting residents to visit the site, learn about what goes on there, and hear about initial plans.
Commenting, Alan Craig said: "Opposition to the mosque is growing in the Muslim community and I am delighted to have the support of these leaders in their Muslim communities. I have talked with them and they are firm in their views.
That is why after some months silence, Tablighi Jamaat and their PR agents Indigo have suddenly come out spinning a smooth but misleading story. But they have some way to go to convince moderate sensible Muslims, let alone local people, that this mosque should be built."
"Tablighi Jamaat is a global and ambitious organisation with a secretive, separatist nature. Its narrow medieval form of Deobandi Islam is deliberately hostile to the modern and open democratic societies of the West. Its frequent claims to be non-political and non-violent are at best a superficial cloak that hides a deeper agenda."
Proponents claim that the mosque will meet existing need in the borough. However, The Christian Choice says it is likely to attract sect supporters in a classic ghetto settlement pattern.
One local Pakistani-born former Muslim Zafar Ismail who lives near the mosque site, has said he knows of at least three families who have moved into his street from elsewhere in the country in the last couple of months, just to be near the new mosque.
Known adherents to Tablighi Jamaat include Glasgow airport bomber Kafeel Ahmed, shoe bomber Richard Reid and the July 7 London bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer.
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