Islamists’ plans to build one of the largest mosques in Europe within a stone’s throw of the site of the 2012 London Olympic Games hit a bureaucratic snag when the planners failed to meet a deadline. Right now — thankfully — the 12,000 capacity mosque can’t be built.
The proposed London "Mega-Mosque" wouldn’t just have stuck out like a sore thumb. It would have stuck out like a defiant, upraised middle finger sending a very clear signal from the world of militant, conquering Islam to Western civilization. "Hasta la vista, baby!" It would have said. " Welcome to the Caliphate!"
Which is why one or two of us here in Britain, right now, are sighing a rather huge sigh of relief at the news that the Mega-Mosque is no more. At least we hope it is. There’s always the grim possibility that — as it did after its first rumored death a year and a half ago — that the Mega Mosque may yet try to stage a Terminator-style comeback.
But the auguries so far are promising: the 12,000-seater (or should that be 12,000-prayer-matter?) mosque, which was supposed to have been built in East London in time for London’s 2012 Olympic Games, has been denied planning permission by the local borough council. This means that with luck, the Mega-Mosque will never be built — especially if the council goes ahead with its plans to impose a compulsory purchase order on the land so as to stop its current owner Tabligli Jamaat from developing it.
Why would the Mega Mosque have been such a disaster not just for London, Europe, and the whole of the Western world? A number of reasons, perhaps the most worrying one being its symbolic impact.
Had the Mega-Mosque gone ahead, it would have been erected on a site perilously close to that of the London Olympic stadium. Not only would Olympics fans have had to walk past it when going from the tube station to the stadium, but in every aerial shot of the event, it would have been London’s most visible religious building — far more, so, than, say St. Paul’s Cathedral, or that 1000-year old irrelevance Westminster Abbey. Its effect on U.S. viewers, no doubt, would have been especially marked. "Just as we thought," many of you reading this would have gone: "Europe is now Eurabia."
Another big concern would have been the people actually in charge of this mosque. Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) — literally "Proselytizing Group" — is a highly secretive organization, founded in India in the late 19th or (reports vary) the early 20th century. Its goal, according to the invaluable, Islamic-extremism-monitoring website “Gates of Vienna,” is to purify and renew Islam throughout the world, without recognizing any borders to the ummah. It has perhaps as many as 80 million followers.
“Gates of Vienna” reports: "Within the Islamic world TJ draws its greatest success from the marginally Muslim communities, those isolated and neglected corners of the Ummah such as the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Islam has languished there; its traditions have fallen into disuse, and the poor and ill-educated people there are often only nominally Muslim. They have proved fertile ground for TJ’s proselytizing, and the group has had an impressive rate of success there."
"In the lands of the infidel, TJ seeks out the Western analogue of the same people: the underclass. In the United States their preferred strategy is to convert African-American felons in the prison system."
Though Tablighi Jamaat isn’t explicitly involved in terrorism, it’s viewed by intelligence services as a gateway organization. A senior FBI official once described it as "a recruiting ground for Al Qaeda" and the French secret services called it "the antechamber for fundamentalism." A disturbing number of its adherents have gone on to do very bad things. Among its alumni are shoe bomber Richard Reid, white American jihadist John Walker Lindh, spree killer John Allen Muhammad, and dirty bomb plotter Jose Padilla.
The reason we know so little about it is because that is TJ’s policy. It communicates with its members only by word of mouth, meaning that there are no propaganda journals or incriminating websites which might reveal its goals and scare the liberal useful idiots.
London, which already has more mosques than any other Western city, has had a lucky escape. Although notionally designed for 12,000, the Mega-Mosque — which would have been funded by around $150 million of Saudi money — was to have had room to accommodate a further 70,000. There was talk (quite against the Olympic spirit of harmony and integration) that it might have housed some of the Islamic competitors at the 2012 games.
It would have done little to create social cohesion among London’s divided ethnic communities — as even moderate Muslims appreciated. Many of the 48,000 people who petitioned against the Mega-Mosque were local Muslims, disgusted at the thought of having their religion represented by a mosque run by ultra-conservative separatists. In the end, though, it was not local objection which did for the Mega-Mosque but (perhaps conveniently for local councillors who didn’t want to find themselves the victim of Jihadist vendettas) the bureaucratic process. The Mega-Mosque had been asked to submit an application detailing its plans and how they might benefit the area. This it failed to do by the deadline date.
So: a cause for celebration then? Not especially, according to Douglas Murray, head of Britain’s leading monitor of Islamist activity, the Institute for Social Cohesion. "It’s a victory. But a token one," he says. The problem he points out, is that Mega-Mosque or no, Britain is now all too firmly established as Sharia Central. Fully 40 per cent of the CIA’s terrorism-monitoring program is now directed at the UK. Understandably so, when the British security services currently have under surveillance at least 2,000 British citizens with Islamist sympathies believed to be plotting terrorist outrages. And those are the ones they DEFINITELY know are dangerous. Detroit bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — the Nigerian-born Islamist believed to have been radicalised while studying at University College London — didn’t even make the cut.
What’s really depressing, says Murray, is the failure of the British political establishment to take the problem anywhere nearly seriously enough. Not even David Cameron’s Conservative opposition are prepared to take a firm line for fear of sounding "Islamophobic."
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter