The East London Mosque.
The East London Mosque.

Islamic group blocked from building 'megamosque'

THE British government has blocked plans to build the UK's biggest mosque by an ultra-conservative Islamic group.

Plans by the Tablighi Jamaat sect would have created a "megamosque" which would have had three times the floor space of St Paul's Cathedral.

The proposed site, near the Olympic Park in east London, would have housed around 9,300 people in segregated prayer halls, as well as a further 2,000 in a separate hall.

A bitter 13-year struggle surrounding the construction of the mosque has seen street blockades, accusations of racism and High Court action.

There was also a video "obituary," linked to from the mosque's website, making implicit death threats to the main protestor against the plans, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

Far-right extremist groups such as the BNP and EDL campaigned online against the plans.

The scheme, officially called the Abbey Mills Markaz or the Riverine Centre, was rejected by Newham councillors in 2012, the BBC reported at the time.

But Tablighi Jamaat appealed, taking the application to a three-week public inquiry in summer last year.

The inquiry inspector's report was submitted to the Government in January, but ministers reportedly held it back because of its political sensitivity.

However, sources close to the process told the Sunday Telegraph the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, has made the decision to block the scheme.

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."

Tablighi Jamaat, an ultra-conservative Islamic sect believes Muslims should not integrate into non-Muslim society, already has a temporary mosque for 2,500 worshippers on the site.

In 2013 the High Court ordered the sect to close the temporary mosque because it did not have planning permission, but is has so far refused to do so.

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