East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre
|The East London Mosque and|
London Muslim Centre
View of the mosque and centre on Whitechapel Road
|Location||Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets|
London, United Kingdom
|Administration||Islamic Forum Europe|
|Ownership||East London Mosque Trust Ltd.|
Sheikh Abdul Qayyum
Imam Abul Hussain
Muhammad Abdul Bari
Dilowar Hussain Khan
|Architect(s)||John Gill Associates|
The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, is situated in the inner London Borough of Tower Hamlets between Whitechapel and Aldgate, serves the UK's largest Muslim community. It lies near the edge of the City of London, the capital's busy business area, and just a couple of miles from the fast-expanding London Docklands. It is one of the largest mosques in United Kingdom in terms of capacity holding up to 4500 people. Built in 1985, with two large halls, a gallery, classrooms and offices. In 2004 it was expanded by the addition of the adjacent London Muslim Centre which has two multipurpose halls, a seminar suite, a nursery, classrooms, a fitness centre, a small Islamic library, a radio station, retail units and offices.
At the beginning of the twentieth century London had no mosque, though it was the capital of the extensive British Empire containing millions of Muslims. A place was needed for Muslim diplomats and merchants, and for the many Muslim sailors coming into port in Tower Hamlets. On 9 November 1910, at a meeting of Muslim and non-Muslims held at the Ritz Hotel, the London Mosque Fund was established with the aims of organising the weekly Friday prayers and of procuring a permanent place of worship for Muslims.
Over the years many distinguished personalities were associated with the London Mosque Fund. Amongst them was the Rt. Hon. Syed Ameer Ali, the first Indian Privy Counsellor, who was the Chairman of London Mosque Fund Executive Committee until his death in 1928. His Royal Highness the Aga Khan served as life President of the Board of Trustees while both Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, the famous translators of the Qur’an, were trustees of the Fund. Non-Muslims who recognised the need for a Muslim place of worship in London were also part of the Fund. Lord Lamington (d. 1940) became a Vice-Chairman of the London Mosque Fund. Sir Hassan Suhrawardy was also the chairman of the executive committee of the fund. The famous historian, Professor T. W. Arnold, became its Secretary and was later replaced by Sir Ernest Houston. Sir John Woodhead became its Treasurer and the Rt. Hon. Earl Winterton was also a trustee of the Fund.
For thirty years various rooms were hired for the Jumu'ah prayers on Fridays. Finally in 1940, three houses were purchased at 446-448 Commercial Road in the east end of London as a permanent place of prayer. On 2 August 1941, the combined houses were inaugurated as the "East London Mosque" and Islamic Culture Centre at a ceremony attended by the then Egyptian Ambassador, Colonel Sir Gordon Neal (representing the Secretary of State for India). The first prayer was led by the Ambassador for Saudi Arabia, Shaikh Hafiz Wahba.
From the late 1950s the local Muslim population began to increase due to immigration from the Indian subcontitnent, particularly from Sylhet in East Pakistan (which became Bangladesh in 1971). During the 1970s, this immigration increased significantly.
In 1975, the local authority bought the properties in Commercial Road under a compulsory purchase order, in return providing a site with temporary buildings on Whitechapel Road, next to the Fieldgate Street Great Synagogue. The local community set about raising funds to erect a purpose-built mosque on the site, and were aided by a contribution from the King of Saudi Arabia. Seven years later, the building of the new mosque commenced with foundations laid down in 1982 and completion achieved in 1985.
The new mosque had a capacity of over 2000, with prayer areas for men and women, and classroom space for supplementary education. It was the first mosque in Britain to broadcast the Adhan (call to prayer) from the Minaret using loudspeakers. By the 1990s the capacity was already insufficient not only for the growing congregation but also for the range of projects based there. The land next to the mosque had been left vacant after bomb damage during World War II, and was used only for parking. The mosque launched a campaign to buy the land, and succeeded in 1999.
2001–2004: London Muslim Centre
There began a new period of fundraising, and in 2001 HRH Prince Charles launched the project to build the London Muslim Centre (LMC). Construction began in 2002, and the new centre opened on 11 June 2004, with over 15,000 people attending the opening prayers. The new prayer capacity was now well over 4000, with a greatly increased range of services. The building had cost over £10 million, more than half of which had been raised by ordinary Muslims, which aims to promote inter-faith dialogue and understanding between muslims and non-non muslims.
On the opening day 15,000 people came to see the new building and the facilities it had to offer. There was a fairground for children and many guests had arrived at the opening. Shaykh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais, Imam of the Ka’aba in Mecca (Islam’s holiest mosque) had also come from Saudi Arabia to open the centre. He told the thousands that had gathered that day that this was a shining example of how the British Muslim community were taking great steps forward to enhance community cohesion. Amongst the guests were Racial Equality Minister Fiona Mactaggart, Trevor Phillips, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and senior officials from the Muslim Council of Britain. Prince Charles, who was in Washington for the funeral of the former US president Ronald Reagan, sent a video message of support. 
LMC is situated on the right-hand side of East London Mosque who were responsible for its construction and development. The building is a six-story building. It has a gym, a library, a créche and classrooms. There are many lessons/ courses that take place within the classrooms. All of them are taught by fully qualified teachers. The building can hold over four thousand worshippers.
In July 2004 the Malaysian prime minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, visited the mosque and centre.
In November 2004 HRH Prince Charles returned to see the centre he had launched three years earlier. The following month HM The Queen featured excerpts of his visit in her Christmas Message.
In October 2008, The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre won Islam Channel's Super Model Mosque award presented at the Global Peace and Unity event at the Excel Centre, with a shared prize of £50,000 in consultation work.
The East London Mosque provoked the outrage of The Daily Telegraph by hosting a video-teleconference by Anwar al-Awlaki in 2008, and former Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve expressed concern over al-Awlaki's involvement.
In August 2009 Labour’s Jim FitzPatrick complained the mosque was radicalizing the community, after walking out of a wedding at the East London Mosque because it was gender segregated and he could not sit with his wife. But a few days later Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, visited the Mosque calling for greater understanding among communities and refused to call for a ban on gender segregated events.  Johnson also urged non-Muslims, "to find out more about Islam ... particularly during Ramadan."
In September 2009 (22nd Ramadan): The East London Mosque raised over £1 million in one night on Channel S, Sky 814, breaking a record in the category of ‘most money raised by an ethnic television channel in one night’ in the whole of Western Europe and America. The money is to go towards a much needed extension project which will see women’s services being incorporated extensively into the ELM complex. For the East London Mosque it was a momentous display of support, confidence and legitimacy they have enjoyed from the local community, which very few mosques or community centres can muster from its local populace.
Sepetmber 2009 (27th Ramadan): The East London Mosque Raised £770,000.00 from its appeal from its main prayer hall and via the MCR radio station, beating the previous years record of £600,000.00
According to some sources the mosque was at the centre of the campaign to elect George Galloway, the local Respect Party candidate and "vocal critic" of Britain's New Labour government, in the 2005 general election. However, the mosque claims it maintains strict neutrality by not advocating support for any candidate or party, though it does encourage participation in the democratic process.
The mosque is a member of the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum, a founding member of The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO), and also an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The mosque has a stated mission to:
|“||… provide a range of holistic, culturally sensitive services for the communities of London with a view to improving the quality of life and enhancing community cohesion||”|
—Annual Report 2005-06, East London Mosque Trust Ltd
As the community base changes so does the services offered, previously sermons or announcements were given in Bengali or Sylheti only. Today the sermon is delivered in Arabic, Bengali and English, to meet the needs of the diverse communities living in the United Kingdom.
To further its mission a number of services are provided to the community including:
- ICT Training and English classes
- ISAP — Improving School Attendance in Partnership, a scheme in partnership with the local authority, to raise attendance and attainment in school
- Junior Muslim Circle (JMC) — Recreational activities for children
- New Muslims' classes — Islamic teaching for new converts to Islam
- ELM Evening Madrasah — after school education for children
- ELM Women's Link — support services for women
- Faith in Health — health awareness and lifestyle facilities
- Way to Work — a project assisting people to enter training and employment
The mosque also runs Muslim Community Radio (MCR), in partnership with Islamic Forum Europe, which started to broadcast since 1998 through a RSL, then through Spectrum, and since 2001 acquired the rights to broadcast 24 hours across east London during the month of Ramadan. In 2005 it moved into a new studio in the London Muslim Centre. It is run by volunteers at the mosque, it provides programs for women, children's shows, quiz shows, fiqh sessions, taraweeh prayer, and shows such as Daily Halaqa, Qur'anic class, Easy Talk, Drive Time and many more, all in English and Bengali.
- Islam in London
- Islam in the United Kingdom
- Islamic architecture
- List of mosques
- London Muslim Centre
- Brick Lane Mosque
- British Bangladeshi
- ↑ Mehmood Naqshbandi (2008) [muslimsinbritain.org UK Mosque/Masjid Directory] Muslims in Britain. Retrieved on 2009-05-01.
- ↑ The Times 2 August 1941
- ↑ History of East London Mosque East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre
- ↑ Visit the City - East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre City of London
- ↑ FAQs about the mosque and centre. East London Mosque. Retrieve on 2007-09-12.
- ↑ Kershen, Anne J. (2005), [Expression error: Missing operand for > Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields 1660-2000], ISBN 0714655253
- ↑ Prince joins Ramadan ceremony BBC website
- ↑ Crowds flock to new Muslim centre BBC website
- ↑ New Muslim centre opens its doors BBC website
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Annual Report 2005-06. East London Mosque Trust Ltd. Retrieved on 2007-09-13
- ↑ Royal seal of approval for centre BBC website
- ↑ Queen calls for tolerance in UK BBC website
- ↑ Video of Queen's Christmas message 2004 requires Real Player
- ↑ Equality Before the Law
- ↑ Model Mosque Competition Global Peace and Unity
- ↑ Britain's Muslims Vote their Best Mosques IslamOnline (5 Nov. 2008), by Emdad Rahman.
- ↑ Raynor, Gordon, "Muslim groups 'linked to September 11 hijackers spark fury over conference': A Muslim group has provoked outrage after inviting an extremist linked to the 9/11 hijackers to speak at a conference which is being promoted with a picture of New York in flames," The Daily Telegraph, 27 December 2008, accessed 12 November 2009
- ↑ Boris tells MP Fitzpatrick to 'get on his bike' over Muslim wedding 4 September 2009
- ↑ Boris Johnson converts to Islam, Dave Hill 8 September 2009
- ↑ The East London Mosque Trust Limited Charity Commission
- ↑ The London Mosque Fund Charity Commission
- ↑ The East London Mosque Trust Limited Companies House
- ↑ Media 'contributing to rise of Islamophobia' Telegraph. Date: 10 Sep 2006. By David Harrison.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 Open Democracy. Bangladeshis in East London: from secular politics to Islam. Delwar Hussain
- ↑ Dr David Garbin (17 June 2005). "Bangladeshi Diaspora in the UK: Some observations on socio-culturaldynamics, religious trends and transnational politics" (PDF). University of Surry. http://www.surrey.ac.uk/Arts/CRONEM/SOASBangladeshi%20diaspora%20PaperDRAFT-7June2005.pdf. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- ↑ FAQs, East London Mosque website
- ↑ Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum
- ↑ TELCO
- ↑ Muslim Council of Britain
- ↑ Rima Berns McGown. (1999), Muslims in the Diaspora: The Somali Communities of London and Toronto. Page. 38. ISBN 9780802082817
- ↑ Annual Report 2005-06. East London Mosque Trust Ltd. Retrieved on 2007-09-13
- ↑ ELM News. East London Mosque. September 2007.
- ↑ MCR Radio
- ↑ Islamic Forum of Europe
- ↑ MCR Programs
- Official site for East London Mosque
- "Nigerian in aircraft attack linked to London mosque; Probe into bomber's contact with UK radical groups and visits to East London mosque," The Independent, By Kim Sengupta and David Usborne, 28 December 2009