Wednesday June 19, 2024

Trustees lose legal battle for construction of Tableeghi Markaz, mosque in London

By Wadood Mushtaq
January 28, 2018

LONDON: Trustees of Tableeghi Markaz and Ilyas Mosque in East London have lost a legal battle against Newham Council regarding construction of their Tableeghi Markaz of Abbey Mills Mosque, also known as the London Markaz or Masjid-e-Ilyas, a mosque located in Stratford, accommodating up to 2,500 people.

The high court judge also disallowed the trustees’ plea for an appeal to the judgement reviving chances of demolishing of Masjid-e-Ilyas or Tableeghi Markaz. Judge Walden Smith also ordered to pay £22,207 as expenditure within a period of four weeks.

Trustees have also filed an appeal in the European Union Court of Human Rights where the date of hearing has not been set, sources told this correspondent. The petition was filed by Trustees of Tableeghi Markaz against the Newham Council’s decision to demolish the project of the mosque, that has no planning permission, the Council says. The petition to suspend the demolition injunction for a period of one year was filed on behalf of three trustees of Tableeghi Markaz -- Solat Sikandar, Ibrahim Sheikh and Zulfiqar Ali.

During hearing of the case on 19 January, the court was told that there was currently a mosque with a capacity for 2,500 worshipers and a large parking area on the site. About 15,000 of Tableeghi Jamaat members from different parts of London gather at the mosque every Thursday night for listening “Khutba” and go out for their missionary work.

The counsel for the London Borough of Newham informed the court that it wanted to demolish the mosque, parking lot and other structures which it considers illegal after the trustees’ appeal against secretary of state’s decision to disallow temporary planning permission was rejected by the appeals court in July 2017.

Representative of the trustees informed the court that they were in touch with a group of developers and could sign agreements with it in days if given an opportunity with extension in the current suspension order. He pleaded that their mission was a different organisation where all the decisions are made through consensus (Shoora). He said the trustees wanted to move fast but circumstances were beyond their control. The trustees also informed the court that there would be considerable disturbance in the large number of people in the Muslim community as it catered to the large catchment area in and around Greater London Authority. They informed the court there was a possibility of return of protests previously organised by the Newham Community Alliance.

The judge, however, disregarded the hardship resulting from the enforcement, saying that the current activity at the site was unlawful and it had to stop and the court wanted to hold the trustees to account for legally binding undertakings they had given during the court proceedings in the past. The judge said that there was very little progress on part of trustees to find policy compliance partners to develop the huge property located in the lucrative area of London.

The trustees of Ilyas Masjid or Tableeghi Markaz have already shifted their missionary work from Abbey Mill Mosque to another Tableeghi Markaz near Whitechapel, London.