Claims Lea Bridge Road mosque committee are in breach of constitution

This Is Local London: There have been long-running tensions at Lea Bridge Road Mosque There have been long-running tensions at Lea Bridge Road Mosque

Factions at Waltham Forest's largest mosque are still locked in a long-running, bitter power struggle.

Infighting over elections for control of Waltham Forest Islamic Association (WFIA), which runs the Lea Bridge Road mosque, shows no sign of abating, with the current ruling committe refusing to hold a vote despite being in power for longer than the three years required by the charity's constitution.

Senior committee member, Asghar Ali, says the committee attempted to hold an Annual General Meeting and elections last year but claims fradulant registration forms were found and the poll was postponed.

He added the charity's constitution only allows the necessary AGM to take place in November.
But the opposition faction is urging the committee to hold elections as soon as possible.

Mohammed Ilyas Raja is an opposition representative and describes himself as the de facto  general secretary of WFIA.

“I think this is injustice,” he said.

“Everyone who is a member there is trying to have an election, fair and square, under the constitution. The community is very upset.”

He added that if elections were not held, legal action would be taken.

The police and Charity Commission have been invloved in the dispute over the last few years.
But the commission has recently distanced itself from the dispute.

In a recent letter to the WFIA ruling committee, the commission said it will cease to engage with the ongoing issues as they had been ongoing for several years, adding that members knew the appropriate course of action was to stage elections.

"If the parties cannot resolve the issues in question the Commission suggests engaging an independent third party to resolve the dispute," the letter added.

Mr Ali promised to hold elections in November and resolve the dispute.

He said: “We envision one common committee to stand in elections with all the people in our community on board the committee, which will eventually turn the mosque into a trust so that in future, whenever there is a squabble, there will be no more friction.”

Comments (14)

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11:54am Wed 8 Jan 14

mdj says...

'...the commission said it will cease to engage with the ongoing issues as they had been ongoing for several years, adding that members knew the appropriate course of action was to stage elections.'

Cowardice, and neglect of duty.. If it knows that the terms of charitable status are being flouted, it should suspend the Association as a charity. That will knock a few heads together. Knowing that the problems are long-running, it has even less excuse to wash its hands.

A year or two back, the local police commander was called in to mediate. It's odd that this never seems to be needed at the Friends' Meeting House.

This may seem to be an obscure matter for most readers, until we reflect that, according to Private Eye, about a quarter of our councillors worship at this one mosque.
'...the commission said it will cease to engage with the ongoing issues as they had been ongoing for several years, adding that members knew the appropriate course of action was to stage elections.' Cowardice, and neglect of duty.. If it knows that the terms of charitable status are being flouted, it should suspend the Association as a charity. That will knock a few heads together. Knowing that the problems are long-running, it has even less excuse to wash its hands. A year or two back, the local police commander was called in to mediate. It's odd that this never seems to be needed at the Friends' Meeting House. This may seem to be an obscure matter for most readers, until we reflect that, according to Private Eye, about a quarter of our councillors worship at this one mosque. mdj
  • Score: 19

12:36pm Wed 8 Jan 14

saladina says...

These things bring shame for the community.
These things bring shame for the community. saladina
  • Score: 8

1:03pm Wed 8 Jan 14

fabster says...

Come on Cllr Liaquat Ali, do your job. Isn't your Portfolio as Lead Member for Community Safety and Cohesion? Did you not secure an MBE for 'Services for the Community' after all?
Come on Cllr Liaquat Ali, do your job. Isn't your Portfolio as Lead Member for Community Safety and Cohesion? Did you not secure an MBE for 'Services for the Community' after all? fabster
  • Score: 30

4:10pm Wed 8 Jan 14

myopinioncounts says...

Getting charitable status gives huge benefits to an organisation but brings responsibilities. "Banana republic" politics has no place in UK organisations.
Getting charitable status gives huge benefits to an organisation but brings responsibilities. "Banana republic" politics has no place in UK organisations. myopinioncounts
  • Score: 20

4:15pm Wed 8 Jan 14

hursthill says...

Who is this "dodgy" bloke, who causes trouble ?
Who is this "dodgy" bloke, who causes trouble ? hursthill
  • Score: 7

7:22pm Wed 8 Jan 14

mdj says...

Googling 'WFIA Lea Bridge Mosque' brings up a large crop of You Tube films, bafflingly categorised under 'comedy', devoted to what is clearly intense controversy within the mosque. Non-Urdu speakers cannot fathom the issue, but it is clearly a matter of real pain to many attenders, as well as anger.

It is disturbing that numerous councillors, some of whom are clearly recognisable in the films, are involved in a contentious issue of alleged voting fraud - and the mass of their electorate hasn't a clue what is going on.
Does none of them have an opinion they can share in public?
Googling 'WFIA Lea Bridge Mosque' brings up a large crop of You Tube films, bafflingly categorised under 'comedy', devoted to what is clearly intense controversy within the mosque. Non-Urdu speakers cannot fathom the issue, but it is clearly a matter of real pain to many attenders, as well as anger. It is disturbing that numerous councillors, some of whom are clearly recognisable in the films, are involved in a contentious issue of alleged voting fraud - and the mass of their electorate hasn't a clue what is going on. Does none of them have an opinion they can share in public? mdj
  • Score: 12

8:25pm Wed 8 Jan 14

welshmen says...

Suspend the Charity Status, tell the Committee to get there act together, this is a Democratic Country not Sharia Law, the quicker you understand and except it the better for cohesion between the Islamic faith and the non Islamic faith, which obliviously your cohesion with your Culture in trying to manage a power struggle in the WFIA Lea Bridge Mosque has failed, you failed to accept women as a voter's, Your women have just has much right to vote as the men, voting fraud seems to follow the Culture round like a bad smell....
Suspend the Charity Status, tell the Committee to get there act together, this is a Democratic Country not Sharia Law, the quicker you understand and except it the better for cohesion between the Islamic faith and the non Islamic faith, which obliviously your cohesion with your Culture in trying to manage a power struggle in the WFIA Lea Bridge Mosque has failed, you failed to accept women as a voter's, Your women have just has much right to vote as the men, voting fraud seems to follow the Culture round like a bad smell.... welshmen
  • Score: 13

11:07pm Wed 8 Jan 14

NDevoto says...

I am afraid before the authorities can take their alleged grievances seriously they need to correct their (mis)use of the apostrophe.
I am afraid before the authorities can take their alleged grievances seriously they need to correct their (mis)use of the apostrophe. NDevoto
  • Score: 1

10:25am Thu 9 Jan 14

fed up man says...

These people have bought their backward Pakistani village thinking and ways of life to this country and have destroyed the Pakistani community while these elders fight over a mosque (the money it brings) their youth are selling drugs grooming etc etc!!! Not a bright future for the Pakistani community!!
These people have bought their backward Pakistani village thinking and ways of life to this country and have destroyed the Pakistani community while these elders fight over a mosque (the money it brings) their youth are selling drugs grooming etc etc!!! Not a bright future for the Pakistani community!! fed up man
  • Score: 16

11:06am Thu 9 Jan 14

Dave mp says...

They are only interested in the money. Stop the charity bit of the argument and there will be no argument. Religion doesn't come into it.
They are only interested in the money. Stop the charity bit of the argument and there will be no argument. Religion doesn't come into it. Dave mp
  • Score: 13

11:25am Thu 9 Jan 14

NTiratsoo says...

This YouTube clip is partly in english, and appears to show the presence of a policeman at the meeting:
http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=ITdod__To
xA
In my opinion MDJ is spot on about the culpability of the Charity Commission: as the regulator, it should regulate.
This YouTube clip is partly in english, and appears to show the presence of a policeman at the meeting: http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=ITdod__To xA In my opinion MDJ is spot on about the culpability of the Charity Commission: as the regulator, it should regulate. NTiratsoo
  • Score: 7

11:52am Thu 9 Jan 14

Robert19 says...

My experience with the Charity Commission is that it is a bit of a toothless wonder. If the Commission recognises, as it appears to, that no elections have been held for some time (not sure for how long from the report) then it should suspend its charitable status. It is rare that mediation works with many faith based organisations as the differences between factions are often much deeper than they appear on the surface.
My experience with the Charity Commission is that it is a bit of a toothless wonder. If the Commission recognises, as it appears to, that no elections have been held for some time (not sure for how long from the report) then it should suspend its charitable status. It is rare that mediation works with many faith based organisations as the differences between factions are often much deeper than they appear on the surface. Robert19
  • Score: 6

3:51pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Walthamster says...

If a quarter of Waltham Forest councillors worship at this one mosque, that's a big enough power bloc to prevent any chance of democratic policy-making. This kind of undeclared faction undermines democratic government.

I start to understand why Waltham Forest councillors feel safe ignoring our wishes and interests. As long as they obey this powerful group (even though it represents only a small section of the electorate), there's no other faction big enough to challenge it.
If a quarter of Waltham Forest councillors worship at this one mosque, that's a big enough power bloc to prevent any chance of democratic policy-making. This kind of undeclared faction undermines democratic government. I start to understand why Waltham Forest councillors feel safe ignoring our wishes and interests. As long as they obey this powerful group (even though it represents only a small section of the electorate), there's no other faction big enough to challenge it. Walthamster
  • Score: 6

6:28pm Thu 9 Jan 14

NTiratsoo says...

The relationship between Councillors and the Lea Bridge Rd. Mosque was originally highlighted in 2007 by the Institute of Community Cohesion, which as part of a Council-sponsored inquiry discovered: ‘there are 12 councillors from Muslim communities in Waltham Forest. However, all these councillors do not reflect the diversity of the communities in the borough – associated as they all are with the…Lea Bridge Road Mosque’ (Institute of Community Cohesion, Breaking Down the ‘Walls of Silence’, p.17). It would be interesting to discover if anything has changed in the ensuing five years.

Interestingly, the same research noted that: ‘Councillors from one community or group are perceived as working only in the interests of that group…Similarly, Council officials from Muslim communities are perceived by many to be partisan, and we understood that some have been placed under inappropriate pressure by Councillors or other members of their own communities’ (ibid).

I have not checked on whether this report was ever acted upon, but going on my experience of other cases, I would guess not.

In Waltham Forest - land, it is often enough to commission a report – the content matters little.
The relationship between Councillors and the Lea Bridge Rd. Mosque was originally highlighted in 2007 by the Institute of Community Cohesion, which as part of a Council-sponsored inquiry discovered: ‘there are 12 councillors from Muslim communities in Waltham Forest. However, all these councillors do not reflect the diversity of the communities in the borough – associated as they all are with the…Lea Bridge Road Mosque’ (Institute of Community Cohesion, Breaking Down the ‘Walls of Silence’, p.17). It would be interesting to discover if anything has changed in the ensuing five years. Interestingly, the same research noted that: ‘Councillors from one community or group are perceived as working only in the interests of that group…Similarly, Council officials from Muslim communities are perceived by many to be partisan, and we understood that some have been placed under inappropriate pressure by Councillors or other members of their own communities’ (ibid). I have not checked on whether this report was ever acted upon, but going on my experience of other cases, I would guess not. In Waltham Forest - land, it is often enough to commission a report – the content matters little. NTiratsoo
  • Score: 4

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