Over 270,000 people have signed a Christian petition to oppose the proposed building of a supposedly enormous mosque in Newham. The petition, which closed this week, stated:
We the Christian population of this great country England would like the proposed plan to build a Mega Mosque in East London Scrapped. This will only cause terrible violence and suffering and more money should go into the NHS.
Human rights organisation Blink lobbied the No. 10 website to edit the wording of the petition and remove some particularly venomous racism from the signature list. They also made efforts to expose the alleged personal racism of the petition instigator to dissuade others from putting their names to it. It seems their intervention may well have led to the “English Rose” blog being taken down but didn’t stop other people signing up in droves.
Yesterday the government made its official response to the petition confirming that no planning permission had been granted for such a project, neither were they expecting such an application. The statement also disassociated the government from the wording of the petition apparently designed to stoke fears of terrorism and incite religious intolerance.
Ken Livingstone also made a statement. With rather more feeling, he reiterated that the rumours, which were publicly scotched back in April, in response to a vicious email campaign on the back of an Evening Standard poll, were completely untrue and damaging to community relations. The GLA was never in the frame to fund such a development and there was no link to the 2012 Olympic development. Rumours of the super size of the mooted Mosque had also been inflated.
What is particularly appalling about this petition and associated email campaign is its determination to set Christians against Muslims, stoking fear and hatred at a time when all Londoners are living with the constant awareness of terrorist alerts. It’s also sickening how the BNP jumped so keenly on the malicious bandwagon without fact-checking first.
It's sad sign of the times that a proposal to build a place of worship on an empty piece of land should end up an issue on the PM's and Mayor's desks. Whoever the signatories are to this piece of hysterical and inflammatory tripe it seems to us they’re straying rather far from the Christian teachings of unconditional love and tolerance.
Image of another mosque entirely courtesy of babasteve's Flickrstream .