Suhaib Hasan, longtime Imam at Masjid Tawhid in Leyton and whose family has been at the centre of a long-running dispute there, has published his version of events on a rival ‘official’ mosque website.
There had been an arbitration process which sought to bring the two factions together but it has broken down. Suhaib Hasan says “Justice Nizar Boga [the arbitrator] had asked us not to make comments on this dispute in public, whether to the media or from the pulpit. We have abided with this agreement, but Mr Sethi’s party broke the silence.”
Is this true? According to an email from Nizar Boga dated June 8th 2012 which has been published on the ‘official’ website of the rival faction, he says he ended the arbitration process because the Charities Commission had announced that they were launching their own investigation into Masjid Tawhid. The CC investigation came after a letter which had been written to them by Usama Hasan, the son of Suhaib Hasan alleging that the mosque had been taken over by extremists – just days after he resigned as a trustee of the mosque. Usama – now a full-time employee of the Quilliam Foundation – repeated these claims just yesterday on his blog in which he described a number of his opponents as being extremists and ‘terrorism-sympathisers’.
By the way, it is important to note that Friday June 8th date. In his published statement, Suhaib Hasan says:
“Taking advantage of the fact that I was leading Jumah at the Rabita Al Alami headquarters on Friday 8 June2012, Talat Sultan [from the rival faction] took the microphone after prayer and launched into a personal and filthy criticism of me, my wife, my daughter, my son and my son-in-law.”
Coming back to the June 8th date – what happened on that day? Well, Tom Harper, a vile journalist from the Evening Standard wrote a story about Masjid Tawhid entitled ‘Mosque near Olympics site in ‘terror link’ investigation’. The story contained a quote from Usama Hasan welcoming the Charities Commission investigation in order to “deal with extremism”. See this fine analysis by Islamophobia Watch into the ES story.
In his email – sent the same day as the ES story – ending the arbitration process, Nizar Boga clearly says that the reason he was ending the arbitration was because of the CC investigation which had ‘undermined’ his own arbitration process.
Meanwhile, the rival faction which has control of the mosque (for how long?) says that they have held a public consultation event and want the community to be more involved in the running of the mosque.
There are plenty of lessons to absorb from the Masjid Tawhid dispute. Meanwhile, one can only hope that Friday prayers are performed peacefully tomorrow.