CAIRO – As UK puts final touches on London Olympics, a British government charity department has launched an investigation into allegations that one of London’s major mosques has been taken over by extremist groups.
“I am upset that my beloved mosque, where I led prayers for over 25 years, is being formally investigated by the Charity Commission for links to extremism,” Dr Usama Hasan, a prominent theologian and one of Leyton Mosque imams, told The Independent.
“I have challenged extremism and tried to defend the mosque against it for many years.
Leyton’s Masjid-al-Tawhid, which overlooks the Olympic Park, has been at the center of a bitter dispute between rival factions for more than a year.
These concerns maximized following the resignation of Dr Hasan after his lectures on Darwinism and comparatively progressive interpretation of Islamic teaching sparked criticism.
Now it has emerged that the Charity Commission is investigating the mosque over concerns that it has links to extremism.
A commission spokeswoman confirmed the investigation.
“We cannot comment further on the case until our investigation is complete,” she said.
“It is our usual practice to publish a report following the conclusion of a statutory inquiry.”
Saddened by the probe, imam Hasan said he hopes the investigation would prove the peaceful, balanced image of Islam.
“I hope that the investigation will help us, the mosque congregation and its trustees that represent us, to move forward and ensure that divisive, extremist viewpoints are not promoted and that the beauty of the balanced message of Islam shines through,” he said.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
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