Mosque leaders condemn 'political' demonstration that forced Town Hall closure

A still from the video on the Newham People's Alliance website.

A still from the video on the Newham People's Alliance website. - Credit: Archant

Newham Town Hall closed temporarily earlier today as protesters blocked the entrances demonstrating against legal action involving the controversial site for plans for a mosque with capacity for around 9,000 worshippers.

Trustees of the Riverine Centre, who are behind the mosque development, have condemned the action involving around 300 to 500 people.

The crowd outside was believed to have been orchestrated by a group calling themselves the Newham People's Alliance who posted a video to their website calling for widespread support for the Town Hall demonstration.

The group stated that it was protesting against Newham Council's decision to take legal action to clear the Riverine Centre site currently used to house the London Markaz, a temporary hub for up to 2,500 Muslims.

The protest was peaceful and lasted around an hour but council officials decided to close the Town Hall in East Ham as a precaution for public safety.

Solad Sikander Mohammed, a spokesman for the Trustees of the Riverine Centre, condemned the Alliance's action as 'trying to use the Riverine Centre planning issue for their political benefit and they have nothing to do with our organisation and they do not have our support.'

The Trustees have been campaigning to build a new mosque at the site in Canning Road, West Ham, but the plans were rejected last month on the grounds that the land is designated for mixed residential commercial use and not enough consideration had been given to transport issues.

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Muslim community leaders had said that the 90,000 Muslims in the borough were growing and needed a bigger base for worship.