'We don't need this Olympics mosque'
International Director Al-Alawi on the London Megamosque
by Katharine Barney
Evening Standard [London]
March 4, 2008
A leading Muslim figure has spoken out against plans for a 12,000-seat mosque next to the Olympic site.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, who co-founded the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, says there is no need for another mosque in East London.
His opposition follows that of mayoral candidate Alan Craig - who found his own "obituary" posted on internet site YouTube after making his views known.
Dr Siddiqui, an Indian-born elder statesman, said: "We have too many mosques. I think it should not be built. What we need first is more integration between the existing mosques and the wider community."
The "megamosque" in Newham is being planned by Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat, which the FBI has described as "a recruiting ground" for al Qaeda - a claim it denies. Shoebomber Richard Reid and 7/7 bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were members.
Tablighi Jamaat have now employed a PR company in the run-up to submitting proposals. They have planned three events, the first in March, inviting residents to visit the site.
A spokesman said: "These are the view of just one man and there are other voices to be heard. We must also point out we are at a very early point in the consultation."
But Dr Siddiqui's comments will add weight to the growing Muslim resistance. His views are in line with Irfan Al-Alawi, Europe director of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism, who has expressed "extreme concern" about the spread of Tablighi Jamaat.
Councillor Alan Craig, who leads the Christian People's Alliance opposition group and in whose ward the mosque would be built, has called the plans "ludicrous".
He said: "It's fantastic that Dr Siddiqui has come out in opposition to the mosque.
"There are many more that are reluctant to be involved with anything to do with Tablighi Jamaat because of their rumoured connections to the Taliban."
Related Topics: British Muslims
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