London mosque near Olympics site aborted

Islamic group fails to submit a planning application in time


Plans to build a giant mosque near London's 2012 Olympic stadium have collapsed after local authorities said Monday an Islamic group failed to submit a planning application in time.

Tablighi Jamaat, a group with roots in India, wants to build a complex with space for 12,000 worshippers in east London which would be a hub for Muslim competitors and spectators at the Games.

But the group missed a deadline this month to formally outline its plans to the local London authority, and it has now been issued with a warning that it must close a temporary mosque it is operating on the site by Thursday.

There was an outcry when the group unveiled its plans for the site in 2007, with 48,000 people petitioning the government to prevent the development.

Tablighi Jamaat was founded in India during the British Raj. It says it is apolitical, but opponents of the mosque plan have expressed concern at the group's strict interpretation of Islam.

A spokesman for the local Newham Council said: "The council has a responsibility to be reasonable in such cases and the (mosque) trust was encouraged to submit a long-term strategy for the site, which is identified as having significant developmental opportunities for the local community.

"This did not happen."

"Temporary planning permission expired on Oct. 31, 2006 and any operations since then have been unlawful."

"The trust was given until January to submit a master plan for the site, although failed to meet this deadline."

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said Tablighi Jamaat had been "subjected to some unfair coverage."

"We would hope that they will be able to work in cooperation with the local council if they wish to set up a mosque in the area," spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said.

He added: "Tablighi Jamaat has no ties to terrorism. It has been subjected to some unfair coverage."