Make Way for the Mega-Mosque

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LONDON - Some now call London the "Muslim capital of Europe."

No Western city has more mosques.

And now London could be home to the largest Mosque outside of the Middle East.

Today, a neglected piece of real estate on London's east end sees little more than commuter trains rumbling past it. But it's the future location of what some say will be the biggest Islamic in-road into Christendom in 400 years: a gigantic mosque complex, the likes of which the West has never seen.

The land for the proposed mega-mosque now only hosts a small building -- a make-shift mosque. But imagine a huge modern Islamic complex right in London; in effect, an Islamic village for worshippers.

A video from the Web site of the mosque architect Ali Mangera shows what will be called the London Markaz, a 17-acre Islamic worship center for as many as 70,000 Muslims. Planned to be the hub of an Islamic quarter for the 2012 London Olympics, it will dwarf many of Britain's Christian cathedrals.

Alan Craig of Christian Peoples Alliance said, "It's going to be very large. It's going to be a mosque, it's going to be an Islamic garden, there's going to be a library, there's going to be residential accommodation.

Craig is a councilman for the London borough of Newham where the mosque would be built. He's fighting it.

"I'm not anti-Muslim," Craig said. "I'm a democrat. I believe Muslims have the right to build mosques. But there's a difference between your average mosque down the road…and this monster mosque, this mega-mosque that they want to build."

But it's not just the size of the mega-mosque that's a concern. It's who's behind it -- a shadowy group called Tablighi Jamaat.

The FBI says that Tablighi Jamaat has ties to al-Qaeda. The shoe bomber, Richard Reid, was associated with Tablighi Jamaat, as were two of the 7/7 bombers who struck London's public transportation system in 2005.

The money for the project is coming from sources in the Middle East.

Even moderate British Muslims oppose the mosque, and have circulated a petition against it. One of the leaders of the Muslim opposition is Dr Irfan al-Alawi, who says the mosque will be a security threat.

Al-Alawi said, "I think, yes. Once the youth have been brainwashed, and been captured by the satanic ideology of the Tablighis, yes, it will come as a very hard-hitting movement."

But while some moderate British Muslims may think the mega-mosque is a bad idea, it has one important booster, the Mayor of London.

"The person who is really behind it is Ken Livingstone," al-Alawi said.

Far-left London Mayor Ken Livingstone, also known as "Red Ken," has what some would describe as a pro-Islamist, anti-Israel track record. He's called Ariel Sharon a "war criminal" and has said that British Muslims who go to the Middle East and kill Israelis should not be called terrorists.

The mega-mosque project might have sailed through before 9/11. But in 2007, Britain is now considered a major base for homegrown Islamic terrorism.

Newsweek reports that Britons are traveling to Pakistan where they're being trained to carry out terrorist attacks in the UK. Al-Alawi says Pakistan is also where Tablighi Jamaat sends young British-born Muslims to be brainwashed into extremism.

Al-Alawi asked , "Is the British government really going to turn a blind eye on that and say, let's go ahead and give these people a chance? I don't think so. If they want a 9/11 in England, then by all means."

But Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, says the British left still believes that accommodating radical Muslims will somehow pacify them.

"It's taken the line of least resistance and it, very foolishly in my view, believes that if you give in to the demands being made by extremists, you kind of make the problem go away," explained Phillips.

But if anything, the "problem" in Britain is growing. Polls last year showed almost a quarter of British Muslims believe the 7/7 London bombings were justified, and one in three want to live under Sharia law.

And those kinds of headlines have helped galvanize grass-roots opposition to the mega-mosque project.

Councilor Craig, who lives in a city with 300 mosques and 500 madrassahs, suggests that Britain not allow any more mosques until Muslims allow churches in Saudi Arabia.

Craig said, "Why should the Saudis pay for a mosque in the UK when there is not one single church, temple, goodwara, synagogue in Saudi at all?"

The spokesman for Tablighi Jamaat, Abdul Khalique, refused an interview request by CBN News. But he told the British press that the mega mosque "…will be something never seen before in this country. It is a mosque for the future, as part of the British landscape."

If the mega-mosque is built, you can be sure of one thing: it will be the symbol for the incredible growth of Islam in Britain and in Western Europe.

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at