6 December 2012
A planning application for a massive mosque in West Ham has been refused planning permission. The missionary Muslim group Tablighi Jamaat had been waitin g for years to build a mosque in West Ham. But some Christian groups have been campaigning against the mosque.
Local Councillors finally agreed with Newham planning officers that the proposed design was not appropriate and refused it, saying it did not fit with their vision of bringing housing and jobs to the area.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today:
‘We give thanks to God that councillors agreed with their planning officers last night despite massive pressure from Muslims supporting the proposal.
‘The battle is far from over and the focus of our prayer must now shift to Bristol and the appeals process. But the unanimous vote and what appear to have been robust grounds for refusal were welcome at this stage.’
The Olympics is meant to promote solidarity – but the 2012 Games has become a question of faith for some in East London as Christianity and Islam vie to become the most visible religion around the 500-acre park. Muslim leaders have begun a charm offensive with residents in the borough of Newham over controversial plans to build a 12,000-capacity “super-mosque” on the edge of the Olympic Park. Trustees of the Abbey Mills Mosque conducted tours of the 18-acre site in West Ham last week to show they had “nothing to hide”, say their Westminster lobbyists. The tours are a prelude to a summer exhibition of plans for the _75 million mosque designed by architects Allies and Morrison, whose buildings include the Royal Observatory and the Royal Festival Hall. The mosque is likely to be Europe’s largest and four-times the size of Britain’s largest cathedral. Their proposal, which includes a 500-place Islamic school, has met with resistance from Christians, whose plans for an _80 million “mega-church” in neighbouring Hackney were rejected by planning officials last month. The Kingsway International Christian Centre, which claims to be the fastest-growing church in western Europe, wanted to build a church capable of holding 8,000 people – or five times the size of Westminster Abbey – after it was evicted from its home on the Olympic site.
Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary group plans to open a madrasa for 500 boys near London’s 2012 Olympic village. The school will be part of an 18 acre complex that includes a visitor and conference centre and a new entrance to West Ham tube station. A submission to planning authorities is some months away but the scheme has attracted much criticism, with more than 270,000 people signing a Downing Street petition opposing it.