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Socalled mega mosque fuels protest fears ahead of Newham council meeting

08:00 05 December 2012

Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad calls for 15,000 people to gather outside the Old Town Hall in Stratford this evening.

Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad calls for 15,000 people to gather outside the Old Town Hall in Stratford this evening.

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A controversial Islamic preacher has called for 15,000 protesters to gather in Stratford tonight in support of a socalled mega mosque in Newham.

Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad, who sits on the Islamic Sharia Council, has posted an internet video on YouTube urging families, including women and children, to congregate outside the Old Town Hall on Broadway ahead of a council meeting to decide on plans for the mosque in West Ham.

He claims to be speaking on behalf of the group behind the Riverine Centre in Canning Road, who he says want people to attend a peaceful demonstration so councillors can see the crowds supporting the mosque.

Council officers have recommended councillors reject the plans and refer the proposal to London Mayor Boris Johnson for a decision.

In the video Al-Haddad said: “They are putting so many obstacles in place for brothers to get planning permission.

“It’s a big Islamic symbol in the heart of London. It belongs to all Muslims. Everyone should go.”

A spokesman for Newham police said: “We are aware of the YouTube video and appropriate policing plans will be in place to account for that.”

The meeting starts at 7pm and places in the public gallery will be limited.

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