How a goodwill offer of land for a new mosque turned sour

TABLIGHI JAMAAT Muslims are threatening to take an English council to court over a land deal for a prestige new mosque, in a case that illustrates the perils of state involvement in religion.

Reading Council gave Jamme Masjid, who are part of the worldwide Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) mission movement, a 125-year lease on an acre of land in 2009 at a peppercorn rent on condition it be used for all the Muslim community.

Three years later, without a stone being laid, the project is mired in controversy after ‘the community’ fell out.

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‘I don’t repent’, says Farooq, who accused imams of ‘mind-boggling banality’

Farooq Siddique-1

Farooq Siddique. Photo by Paul Blakemore

A CRISIS of leadership in British Islam is causing violence and encouraging ‘cults’ among Muslims.

A ‘desperation for guidance’ is driving ordinary Muslims into the hands of groups whose sole aim is to gather more adherents, says a Bristol businessman.

Farooq Siddique, Bristol Post columnist, who complained of the ‘mind-boggling banality’ of local imams’ concerns had a paving slab thrownthrough his car windscreen earlier this month.

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Is Mormonism a cult?

ann romney

‘BUT WHEN did it dawn on you, that thing that you couldn’t tell them, couldn’t tell anyone?’ Vernon’s eyes are fierce behind his glasses as he asks his friend this.

I am talking to two young men, both residents of Salt Lake City, Utah. Both ex-Mormons.

They have had very different experiences. This is the first time Vernon has become impassioned like this, even as he has detailed his upbringing in a small and very Mormon Utah town, his rejection of the church, and the subsequent severing from his family.

‘They wanted you to pray to see “The Truth”, which means they want you to verify their truth.’ He laughs, pushing his glasses up his nose.

‘Do you know that when Joseph Smith [the 19th century founder of Mormonism] claimed to have found the golden plates [from which he read the Book of Mormon] he “showed them” to his disciples, and when they didn’t see them, he told them they needed to go pray until they did? I felt like them.’

‘I did pray, only I always prayed to find the actual truth, not Joseph Smith’s. Maybe my prayers were answered, because I study science now.’ He smiles, but is not joking.

Rationalism has been a refuge for Vernon, and leaving the church was a veritable conversion.

‘The way I look at it is it kind of a mind virus that infects people. It is definitely a cult. Cults try to cut themselves off from society.’

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