Young Muslims reclaim space after Forest Gate mosque clean-up

A group of young painters set about reclaiming their Forest Gate mosque from litterbugs and street drinkers.

Members of the Minhaj-ul-Quran in Nursery Lane have completed a project to brighten up the back of the building.

The 12 to 25-year-olds were given the freedom to pick whatever designs they wanted, and picked landscape imagery and Indo-Persian floral patterns.

They were fed up of having to step over discarded beer cans and used condoms.

Project organiser Allegra Mostyn-Owen, an artist who was introduced to Minhal-ul-Quran in 2005, said they will write to Newham Council’s waste collection team.

She said: “I am hoping that having done this we can show how this area can look.

“The idea was to show (the painters) are active citizens with a role to play in re-appropriating their open space.”

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Boys and girls have their own surface areas on the wall. The theme of the boys area is ‘peace’, while the girls picked ‘to God do we belong and to Him we must return’.

The painting session, which cost around �200, was made possible thanks to a donation from an anonymous banker. Ms Mostyn Owen has funded most of the project with financial backing from the likes of Hoare’s Bank and the Mercers Company.