An Islamic group called Tablighi Jamaat has been refused plans to build what would have been Britain’s largest mosque. The so-called ‘megamosque’ in east London would have housed more than 11,000 people in a number of prayer rooms and halls.
If granted permission, the mosque, which would have been close to the Olympic Park, would have had three times the floor space of St Paul’s Cathedral and 190-ft minarets.
Opponents to the plans claim the sect promotes an “ultra-conservative” brand of Islam and that the plans would have led to heightened tensions in the area. Supporters have been attempting to have the plans agreed for 13 years but in 2012 the scheme, officially called the Abbey Mills Markaz, was rejected by Newham councillors.
The group appealed and took their application to a three-week long public inquiry in summer last year – the report of which was handed to the Government in January. A source is reported to have said: “This proposal has created a great division in Newham.
“That would get a lot worse if the thing was built.”
Alan Craig, a former Newham councillor who led the campaign against the plans, said: “This is fantastic news.
“For a decade and a half, Tablighi Jamaat has pulled out every stop to get its way, but at last the spectre is over.” Before the decision was made, the plans were subject to furious scrutiny and campaigning by far-right extremist groups such as the BNP.
The Islamic group behind the plans already has a temporary mosque for 2,500 worshippers on site and despite a 2013 High Court order to close it, it remains open.