“Muslims themselves oppose this mosque.” — Asghar Bukhari, Spokesperson, UK Muslim Public Affairs Committee
A radical Islamic group has applied for a permit to build one of the largest mosques in the world, in London.
The East London super-mosque, known as the Abbey Mills Riverine Center, would hold up to 10,000 worshippers. It would be the largest religious building in Britain and the largest mosque in Europe.
By comparison, Britain’s largest cathedral, the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, can hold no more than 3,000 worshippers, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of the iconic features of the London skyline, has a capacity of 2,500.
The 16-acre site near the Olympic Village in West Ham in the London Borough of Newham would include two 40-foot minarets, an Islamic library, a dining hall, tennis courts, sports facilities, eight apartments for visiting Muslim clerics and hundreds of parking spaces (photos here).
Much of the funding for the super-mosque, which will cost an estimated £100 million ($160 million), is expected to come from Saudi Arabia.
The project to build a “contemporary Islamic sacred space” is so massive in scale that critics believe the mega-mosque is actually a smokescreen for an ambitious plan to establish a hardline Islamic enclave in East London.
The construction plans have been submitted by Tablighi Jamaat, a controversial Muslim missionary movement with roots in India. Tablighi Jamaat, which in English means “Society for the Spreading of the Faith” or “Proselytizing Group,” is the largest group of religious proselytizers of any faith in the world.
Tablighi Jamaat is active in Southwest and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, and has contributed to the explosive growth of Islamic religious fervor and conversion around the world.
Although Tablighi Jamaat promotes itself as open and socially integrated, and strives to project a non-threatening image, after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, members of the group were accused of having ties to Muslim terrorist organizations.