Monday, October 09, 2006

Battle to block mosque in east London

A plan to build a massive mosque in east London has become mired in controversy with allegations that it is being bankrolled by the so-called Islamist groups in Saudi Arabia. Opponents say it would promote a radical form of Islam. They accused its backers of not consulting local people.

Tablighi Jamaat, has applied for planning permission for the multi-million-pound mosque, was misrepresented because it declines to talk to the media.

With a planned capacity of 40,000 worshippers, to be expanded to take 70,000 if demand grows, the proposed Abbey Mills Islamic Centre would be Britain's biggest religious building. The largest mosque now in Morden, south London, holds 10,000 people, while Liverpool's Anglican cathedral, the largest Christian church in the UK, holds 3,000.

Designed by the acclaimed architects Mangera Yvars, the mosque, which will cost between 100m and 300m pound, depending on how big a scheme is approved, would become a landmark in east London.

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