The mosques of Forest Gate

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Around a quarter of Forest Gate's 30,000 population is Muslim and the district is served by 13 mosques.  What follows is a lay, non-believer, account of the local mosques. We are running the feature as a step towards explaining, at a fairly rudimentary level, how a significant section of our community organises itself.

There has been a small Islamic community in Britain since the 18th century. It grew in number with the development of the East India Company, which employed a large number of sailors from the sub-continent (primarily from what is now Bangladesh) to ship goods into London. Many of them stayed and developed  small communities initially around the London Docks and Whitechapel areas.

Somewhat surprisingly, however - for a range of one-off factors - the first mosque in Britain was opened in Woking in 1889.


Woking mosque - Britain's first, photo c 1900
London's first mosque was opened - in Whitechapel - as late as 1941; others followed fairly rapidly, particularly since the 1970's, as the city's Islamic community has grown.

Although Moslems are required to pray five times a day, Friday prayers (Salatul - Jum'ah) can only be professed in a mosque, by adult male Moslems. Women are permitted to pray almost anywhere and there is no requirement to attend a mosque on Fridays - hence the absence of provision for women in some of the  buildings listed below.

It is the Friday in-mosque worship requirement, together with the desire to create community centres for the faithful, that has lead to the quite rapid development of mosques in Newham (one for every five hundred or so of the faithful).

The vast majority of mosques in Britain today are not purpose built structures, but occupy previous shops, houses and other civil buildings. Forest Gate is no different from this - as the information, below, indicates.

Approximately 90% of British Moslems are Sunni, and the minority, 10%, Shi'a - a position reflected in the distribution of mosques in Forest Gate.

Deobandis and Bareilvis are the most populous divisions within the British Sunni community - largely because they are dominant in the Indian sub-continent. The Deobandis (about 50% of all London Moslems) tend to be more dogmatic in approach, and the Bareilvis favour a more charismatic approach to following the faith.

Quwwatul Islam Mosque

62-66 Upton Lane. 

Tel: 020 8475 0126. www.quwwatulislam.org

Capacity: 1600 (men only)

Theme:  Deobandi (Sunni)

Management: Guajarati

This mosque was established over 35 years ago, originally simply for Friday prayers (Jummah) and as a Madrasa for children. It was originally located in Manor Park, and moved to its current location in 1986, by purchasing a warehouse.



In 1999 the elders purchased bakery land at the rear (Chaucer Road), for girls' education. A school was established in 1999, initially as a primary school, which subsequently offered secondary education, too.  It is recognised by Ofsted and currently has a "Good" rating. It, additionally, caters for up to 110 girls per week for evening education.

Participated in 'Visit My Mosque Day' - 5 February 2017.

Adara or Idara Minhaj-ul-Quran Education Centre, co-located with the Muslim Youth League

292-296 Romford Road. 

Tel:  020 8257 1786. No website

Capacity: 700 (including women)



Theme: Sufi - Bareilvi - Tahir Qadri (a charismatic Sunni tradition)

The premises was formerly the Odeon cinema (for details of its history, see here). The fine building today looks particularly shabby and really could do with an empathetic facelift.

Imamia Mission

328 Romford Road. 

Tel: 020 8555 5363. Web: www.imamiamission.org.uk (website information open only to members)

Capacity: 400 (including women)



Theme: Shi'a (The only Shi'a mosque in Forest Gate - it is the smaller Moslem tradition - see above)

Management: Pakistani

The premises were formerly a house - once occupied by John Curwen, founder of the Earlham Grove Hall, and Tonic So-Fa music education system (see here, for further details of him and the system).

International Khatme Nubuwat Movement, also known as Darul-Uloom

11-13 St George Road. 

Tel: 020 8552 7052. No website

Capacity: 400 (men only)

Theme: Deobandi

Newham North Islamic Association (Green Street Mosque)

88 Green Street. 

Tel: 020 8586 8439. Web: www.greenstreetmosque.co.uk (seems to be defunct)

Capacity: 475 (including women)

Theme: Deobandi



Management: Pakistani and Bangladeshi

Affiliated to the Muslim Council of Britain

According to its latest returns to the Charity Commission, the Mosque's income is around £130k p.a.

Participated in 'Visit My Mosque Day' 5 February 2017.

Azhar Masjid Mosque, also known as Azhar Academy

235 Romford Road. 

Tel: 020 8534 5959. Web: www.aags.org.uk

Capacity: 600 (including women)

Theme: Deobandi

Management: Pakistani

Affiliated to the Muslim Council of Britain



The mosque was formerly a Congregational church, and is a Grade 2 listed building (see here, for further details).

The mosque also incorporates a girls' school. According to its March 2016 Ofsted judgement, the secondary school is "good" and early years provision, "outstanding".



There are approximately 260 secondary school aged girls and 75 fte equivalent mixed primary pupils.  Annual fees are £2,600. Further details on the building's listed status can be found here. Further details of the schools' Ofsted ratings can be found here).

According to its latest returns to the Charity Commission, the organisation has an annual income of £1.18m, employs 63 people and has 53 volunteers.

Massjid Al-Humera

183 Green Street. 

No further contact details

Capacity: 150 (including women)



Theme: Salafi (an ultra-conservative Sunni  tradition)

Management: Pakistani

It is located in the former premises of a Jehovah's Witness' Kingdom Hall.

Forest Gate Mosque

447-451 Romford Road. 

Tel: 020 8555 6258. No website

Capacity: 400 men

Traditions: Deobandi



Management: Bangladeshi

It was formerly two shops

It is co-located with Iman Zakariyah Academy primary School and The Bangladeshi Muslim Shomity Ltd.

According to its latest Charity Commission returns, its annual income is around £347k p.a.

Jamia Darus Sunnah

98 Woodgrange Road. 

Tel: 020 8530 0406. No website

Capacity: 300 (men only)



Tradition: Deobandi

Management: Pakistani

This mosque has recently undergone a substantial refurbishment. It was formerly a shop, and a century ago a printers/publishers, associated with then prominent Forest Gate artist and politician Charles Ward (see here for details).

Al Karam Mosque co-located with Al Karam Trust Masjid

411 - 413 Katherine Road. 

Tel: 020 8471 9273. No further contact details

Capacity: 450 (including women)

Theme: Bareilvi



Management: Pakistani

Affiliated to British Muslim Foundation

The mosque occupies the buildings of former shops

Masjid-e-Quba and Anjjuman - Raza-e-Mustafa Education Centre

198 Shrewsbury Road. 

Tel: 020 8470 6332. No website

Capacity: 300 (men only)

Tradition: Bareilvi



Management: Gujarati

Affiliated to the British Muslim Forum

The organisation has a record of submitting late returns to the Charity Commission. Its latest set of accounts showed it to have an income of £134k, in 2015.

Khatme - Nubuwwat Academe, co-located with the Islamic Dawa Council UK

387 Katherine Road. 

Tel: 020 8471 4434. No website

Capacity: 30 (male only)



Management: Pakistani

Tradition: Deobandi

The mosque occupies a former a shop.

Al-Hira Education Centre

12 Stukeley Road. Tel: 020 8552 7681

Capacity: 1500 men and women



Tradition: Bareilvi

Management: Pakistani

The information in this blog has been gleaned from a number of different websites - many, sadly, out of date. It is presented in good faith by a non-adherent.  We will be delighted to amend any errors within it, or add further useful information supplied to us.

5 comments:

  1. Sorry but which century are you living in? Surely its spelt Muslim and Moslem.

    A Muslim in Arabic means"one who gives himself to God," and is by definition, someone who adheres to Islam. By contrast, a Moslem in Arabic means"one who is evil and unjust

    I find it highly offensive that some people deliberatly insist on offending Muslims by using the spelling Moslem when no Muslim group uses that spelling due to the offensive meaning. Please stop its Islamophobic and offensive. Rupert Murdoch did the same in his recent tweets blaming 'all Moslems' for terrorism. I expected better from your blog.

    I think it should be corrected.

    Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Correction on line 1:

    Surely its spelt Muslim and not Moselm.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is a transliteration from Arabic issue: a bit like the many different spellings of the prophet's name. Moslem was more fashionable in 20th century, Muslim in this. In the same way that transliteration from Manadrin Chinese had the spelling of the country's capital as Peking until the late 20th century, when it more fashionably became Beijing. Neither is inherently offensive; it is simply a question of linguistic fashion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think its extremely offensive for you to persist and even justify the use of the ignorant term 'Moslem'. You even decide to call an organisation the Moslem Council of Britain when they themselves are officially known as the Muslim Council of Britain. How is that justified? You can't call a group by a name you choose. Especially one which they themsleves dont wish to be called and which they find offensive.

      I would invite you to re-word the article and use the proper and internationally accepted spelling of the word for followers of Islam as Muslim.

      Otherwise it smacks of the typical dinner table Islamophobia which has become more acceptable in todays society. Your justification is totally incorrect and I invite you to engage with Forest Gate Muslim and ask them what they feel.

      Delete
  4. I have just noted that you have changed the spelling and just wanted to thank you for that. It is well appreciated.

    ReplyDelete

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