Top 10 facts about Abbeymills Mosque1. The community around our Mosque will be a major focus for our ongoing work. From our initial studies, we are confident that most local people are happy with their current neighbours in the temporary mosque and respect the desire to build a more lasting structure. It’s very important that we are outward looking in our development and that at least part of our development can be open to all people, irrespective of faith.
2. A new poll shows 96% of Muslim Londoners think everyone should respect the law in Britain – which is virtually identical to the percentage of all Londoners at 97%. The same poll found that 89% of Muslim Londoners believe that everyone in Britain should be free to live their lives as they want so long as they do not prevent others from doing the same (88% for Londoners as a whole). These findings show that Muslims are not so different to other people and they should be treated the same.
3. Transport will be a major factor in how we develop our site. That’s why we are employing specialist transport consultants to look at this aspect. We have West Ham station next door and we are thrilled that part of our site is being used to provide a new entrance to this excellent station.
4. As part of the development, the decontamination of the site from its previous use as a chemical factory will be a major benefit. We’ve taken precautionary measures in the mean-time. The environmental improvements will enable the area to be opened up, with excellent landscaping and garden area.
5. The £1.6million cost of the site was paid for by generous contributions from Muslims in London – according to a survey from the Mayor’s office one in twelve Londoners are Muslim. We expect to raise the construction costs for the development in the same way. Certainly we are not actively seeking overseas money, nor will we be seeking public money.
6. The mosque will be able to accommodate 12,000 people at a peak, although we estimate most weeks there will be fewer than half that number.
7. The Olympics will be great for Newham and, like everyone else, we’re going to play our full part in welcoming athletes and visitors to London. We bought the site long before the Olympics was even a thought, so we’re very lucky to have it so close to us, but we can’t lay claim to foresight.
8. Cllr Alan Craig, together with the BNP, appear to be the main detractors for the mosque. Cllr Craig's colleagues, from the major political parties on Newham Council, have rebuked Cllr Craig suggesting that he ‘promotes division’.
9. We have just appointed world-class architects, Allies and Morrison, to produce stunning designs of a type that we hope will be welcome into the community. We won't be submitting a planning application until sometime during 2008. The image of a design the media often show is from an architect we did not progress with.
10. We think Londoners as a whole will welcome this mosque – that’s our aim. We suspect that most people who signed that petition on the Prime Minister’s website would be horrified to see it being used against Muslims expressing their faith – they signed it because they were persuaded to believe a great deal of untrue information in the petition.
We are looking forward to working with local people in Newham to ensure that achieve something excellent for this great West Ham location.