BBC News London report on 9000-capacity 'mega mosque' rejection

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BBC News London report on 9000-capacity mosque rejection. Features Alan Craig.

good evening and welcome to BBC London News with me Riz Latif it was to be one of the major religious buildings of Europe three times larger than st. Paul's Cathedral with a capacity approaching 10,000 but tonight the sixteen year battle by a Muslim group to build a so-called mega mosque in East London received a major blow the government rejected an appeal against the plans which had been opposed by new um Council and local campaigners our political correspondent Karl Messer reports it seems an unlikely spot for a mosque of any sort let alone the biggest in Britain but this former chemical factory in East London has been a place of worship for 15 years and a place at the center of controversy for nearly as many worshippers had wanted to put this on the site a mosque capable of holding nine thousand worshipers with a visitor's centre and accommodation it was turned down by the local council a planning inquiry and now the government have a large community all around West Ham and people around all around Newham they usually come here to pray so it's been up one of their things that we're doing for a couple of years and yeah they'll be a disgraceful if day sort of the decision goes down and against them absolutely wrong every person has a right to obey his religion and religion is the main thing I don't know where else everybody can pray because this is the main one where it's quite large as well quite big where everybody can come and pray today's decision by the government means that not only can the mega mosque not go ahead but the Mossler is currently on site and has been here since 2000 we'll also have to go worshippers will have to be out within three months the local council says it wants to put something like 1,100 homes on the site this former office block next to the site is already being turned into flats it's sold out already demand here for housing is high so campaigners have welcomed today's decision by the government I'm delighted I'm delighted first of all for the local people of West Ham and um this is a very divisive project and there is no need for a mosque this sort of size so it was a great statement taking a great deal of space strategic space important space in the council's planning strategy no one from the mosque was available for comment today it is still possible though that they could appeal to the High Court over today's ruling Karl Mercer BBC London News