Biggest mosque in the offing for London Olympics

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An Islamic group is proposing to build western Europe’s biggest mosque, with room for 40,000 worshippers, in east London in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.Tablighi Jamaat Envisions a futuristic design for the three-storey mosque, with wind turbines taking the place of minarets and an overall capacity of 70,000 when surrounding buildings are taken into account.

“It would be something never seen before in this country,” Abdul Khalique, a senior member of Tablighi Jamaat said.

The mosque would be a hub for Muslim competitors and spectators at the London Games as well as British headquarters for Tablighi Jamaat, a professedly apolitical group that was founded in India during the British Raj.

Besides the mosque itself, the complex — with a distinctive sweeping roof — would include a garden, school, library and accomodation for visiting worshippers. Islamic calligraphy would grace the walls and ceilings.

“It will be more than a mosque. The idea behind it is to break down barriers,” London- and Barcelona-based architect Ali Mangera, who is designing the project.

Officials in the east London borough of Newham said the planning application for the project — which could cost more than 100 million pounds (146 million euros, 171 million dollars) — would be finalised over the coming year.