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Groups using our old housing office for a mosque—unofficially

PUBLISHED: 11:25 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:54 05 October 2010

Dear Editor, I AM SURPRISED to hear that two different East London Muslim groups have petitioned Tower Hamlets council to use our former housing office "for community purposes" and that public consultations took place. It was complete news to me that such plans exist

Dear Editor,

I AM SURPRISED to hear that two different East London Muslim groups have petitioned Tower Hamlets council to use 73 Bishops Way in Bethnal Green, our former housing office, “for community purposes” and that public consultations took place.

I certainly had not been consulted and it was complete news to me that such plans exist.

Both groups pledged to make the proposed community centre available for the whole community—men woman, children of all religions and creeds—but say the size is too small to accommodate communal groups.

I have been told it is already in use as a mosque. Somebody has got a key to get in through the backdoor and is using it for prayers, when it is officially closed!

So there is very little chance that it will be used for the whole community, as the petitions stated on December 17, because it is already in use as a prayer facility for Muslims only (unofficially).

I am keen as chair of a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme to avoid potential communal conflict between rivalling Islamic factions. This building would make an excellent annex to Mowlem school’s new community services for families, as it has a kitchen and shower.

More facilities are also needed to cope with the influx of families with the new housing development right opposite, who no doubt will bring a strain on Mowlem School’s already-restricted space.

Other uses could be for caretakers as a local base. Or why not put it back into use as housing office? We held protests over the closure of the building last year and now miss a local housing service dearly.

Johanna Kaschke

Sewardstone-road, Bethnal Green

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