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Architects sacked over designs for huge mosque
Trustees behind plans to build Europe's largest place of worship have sacked their architects. The Tablighi Jamaat sect took the decision after the proposals for the mosque were criticised by residents, Christian groups and even Muslim leaders.
In response, architects Ali Mangera and Ada Yvars Bravo have threatened to sue for breach of contract and defamation.
The pair drew up the plans for a £100 million mosque on 18 acres of derelict land at Abbey Mills, next to West Ham Underground station.
They envisaged a building in the style of a tented city, incorporating a prayer room, library, school, gardens, restaurants, residential accommodation and exhibition halls. It would have a capacity of 40,000, increasing to 70,000 if demand grew.
Critics argued that a building of that size would dramatically alter the character of the area.
Relations between the mosque and the local community worsened when it was claimed that Tablighi Jamaat, which has an estimated 80 million followers worldwide, has links with Islamic extremist groups.
It was described by the French intelligence services as "an antechamber of fundamentalism" and two of the 7 July London bombers attended the group's
HQ in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, which is financed by Saudi Arabia.
In a letter to the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, trustees of Abbey Mills mosque said they had severed links with Mr Mangera and Mr Bravo and their intermediary Abdul Khaliq Mian - an activist with George Galloway's Respect party.
Tablighi Jamaat said the new mosque's capacity was only ever going to be less than 12,000, although this would still make it the largest religious building in the country. New plans will still include a school for 500 pupils, a visitor and conference centre and a 20-bedroom residential centre for visiting VIPs.
Still too big and unneccessary. Perhaps the breach of contract court fees will reduce the amount available to spend.