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Our formal letter to Newham Council

This is the formal submission from our experts to Newham Council.

Background Summary

  1. The large size of the proposed mosque and the controversial nature of the backers, Tablighi Jama’at (TJ), first came to public prominence via The Sunday Times in November 2005.

Tablighi Jamaat

Tablighi Jamaat was founded in 1926 in India by Muhammad Ilyas in order to assert a separate Muslim identity over and against the Hindu/Muslim syncretism that he found in the Mewat region south of Delhi (The Origins and Development of the Tablighi Jama’at by Yoginder Sikand (Orient Longman) p 13)


Despite TJ’s Indigo-tutored claims of inclusiveness and community-minded openness at their West Ham project (“We’re glad to be part of Britain’s multi-cultural multi-faith society”, deliberate separation from non-Islamic communities has been TJ’s teaching from inception.

Subjugation of Women

TJ claims to have a high view of women and that it is through women at home that pure Islam is passed on to the next generation. ‘A mother’s lap is the first madrasa of her child’ (Khan). But in effect women are chattels who are confined and controlled by their husbands (or fathers) as their masters.

Radicalisation and jihad

TJ claims it is a non-violent, non-political, pietistic organisation along the lines of the Methodist Church or Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some academics such as Prof Barbara Metcalf, now of the Center for South Asian Studies at Michigan University, support this view (see eg

Others such as Alex Alexiev of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy strongly dispute this (see eg

Muslim opposition to the Mega Mosque

Tablighi Jamaat is controversial within the wider Muslim community for a variety of reasons. Some of this is undoubtedly the normal criticism that any organisation employing unusual methods might receive within its own community. However TJ and the mega-mosque project have received more significant criticism:

Planning issues

Planning track record

TJ has an irresponsible record over planning control compliance since it bought the West Ham site in 1996. It has:

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