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Mangera Yvars dismisses petition protest against east London 'mega mosque'

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Mangera Yvars Architects has brushed off recent reports claiming the Muslim community is becoming increasingly concerned about the practice's 'mega mosque' in east London.

The reports follow a petition against the scheme in Abbey Mills, West Ham, which is said to have attracted more than 2,500 signatures, but practice principal Ali Mangera believes the document means little, and that many people were 'duped into signing it'.

'I don't think it [the petition] means anything,' said Mangera. 'An overwhelming majority support the project. Obviously, the Muslim community has a number of different sects so some are bound to oppose it.

'But a lot of people who did sign felt they were duped into it,' he added. 'Petitioners were standing outside their mosques, and they didn't understand what they were signing. Many people have since apologised for signing it.'

The concern surrounding the mosque, which will have a capacity of 70,000, is not about the building but rather the client - the evangelical Tablighi Jamaat movement.

Security organisations have repeatedly raised concerns over the sect's strict interpretation of Islam and it has been linked to a number of British terror suspects, including several of those arrested over an alleged plot to blow up passenger airliners.

The petition claims that allowing Tablighi Jamaat to build the giant mosque would aggravate community tensions.

The site, which sits alongside the London 2012 Olympic Park, currently has temporary planning permission for a makeshift mosque, but that has since expired. Talks are expected to start between the group and Newham Council imminently.

by Richard Vaughan

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