Economist misreports ‘mega-mosque’ controversy

The current issue of the Economist carries a report on the controversy over the proposed Islamic Centre at Abbey Mills in East London. It would be difficult to fit more inaccuracies and distortions into a single article.

The estimate of the size of the proposed development is evidently based on the old design by Mangera Yvars, which has of course been scrapped. The new architects have yet to produce their replacement design, so the claim that the mosque will be “Britain’s largest religious building and almost five times the size of St Paul’s” lacks any basis in fact.

The article doesn’t mention that the 10 Downing Street e-petition against the Abbey Mills development was posted by a BNP supporter. It refers to the earlier Sunni Friends of Newham/Minhaj-ul-Quran petition against the mosque but omits to mention that they have since suspended their campaign.

It says that Christian Peoples Alliance councillor Alan Craig, who has headed the local agitation against the mosque, “plays down fears of terrorism” – whereas in reality this has been a central plank in his scaremongering campaign.

It concedes that Tablighi Jamaat is not a political movement but concludes: “There is endless panic about political Islam. Is apolitical Islam much better?”