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Minaretting madness

Hands up who remembers the Wombles? Mike Batt and the inestimable Chris Spedding on guitar?
Who remembers their 1974 hit Minuetto Allegretto, based on Mozarts Symphony No 41?
Womble to your partners, young Wombles were told, If you minuetto allegretto, you will live to be old.
I want to change the words.
If we minaretto allegretto we will live to regret it.
This is the latest news this morning from
the East London Advertiser.


WORK begins this week on erecting a giant 90ft ‘iconic’ steel tower next to a mosque in the middle of the Brick Lane conservation area in London’s East End.
The structure which will resemble the shape of a minaret is being erected inches from the wall of the Jamaal mosque, a converted former synagogue founded originally as an 18th century Huguenot church, after planning permission was given by Tower Hamlets council.
Council Leader Lutfur Rahman visited the site last week when the base was completed, where he met Muslim community leaders.
The steel structure will dominate the skyline of the Georgian conservation area around Spitalfields, the historic Huguenot weaving district, and is being billed by the Town Hall as “a new iconic East End landmark.”
 . . . paid for by £8.6 million ‘planning gain’ cash from the nearby Bishops Square development on the ‘City Fringe’ near Liverpool Street station.
“It’s important developers give something back to the community,” said Cllr Rahman.


The claw back is the largest payment ever received by a local authority from a developer (it is indeed a mighty development a stones throw from Liverpool Street Station) and will be used elsewhere in Tower Hamlets including a new building for the Osmani Youth Centre,
Sorry but if it is shaped like a minaret, is built next to a Mosque, at the instigation of the local Muslims, and is intended to dominate the skyline then its a minaret. Built with money paid over for public use. A minaret. When the local library service is under pressure such that the borough nearly lost the East End History collection. When the borough has the highest proportion of children receiving free school meals in London, it is that poor. Public money is spent on a minaret for the mosque.
Look at the faces in the picture left. The smug men at the front and the nervous looking chaps (engineers, council employees?) pushed to the back.

Switzerland voted to ban the
building of minarets after 4 towers appeared in the whole of the country.
One in four Swedes would be in favour of a ban in Sweden where there are only 5 mosques with 6 minarets.
In Denmark the countries first two purpose designated mosques are not yet finished.
I forgot this, until reminded by JW that(currently and rising daily) 77% of Londoners would like to see the end of minarets, not to mention the mosques under them.  
In East London, just a quick look through my photo collection of where I have been in the last year, with camera handy and time to spare I can point you to 8 minarets on 4 mosques.  There are more. This doesn't include elsewhere in east london, the rest of London (Regents Park springs to mind, and Harrow) Yorkshire, Lancashire, Birmingham, Luton . . .
Cllr Rahman may intend his minaret to 'dominate' the skyline but thankfully the Hawksmoor built Christ Church Spitalfields (left) has been saved by a fantastic restoration effort and its tower and spire remain at 202 ft.
I tell you now, you won't beat that.
Below, a sample of other minarets of East London. From left to right.
One of the two minarets of Lea Bridge Road Mosque Leyton. The scud missile of Queens Road Mosque Walthamstow. The Suleymaniye Mosque Kingsland Road Shoreditch. Three minarets of the East London Mosque Whitechapel, where other work is in progress.

The first photograph is from the East London Advertiser - the others by E Weatherwax. 


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