Brixton Mosque

Brixton Mosque
The Brixton Mosque
and Islamic Cultural Centre
Location 1 Gresham Road, Brixton,
South London, England
Established 1990
Branch/tradition SunniSalafi
Leadership Imam(s):
Omar Urquhart [1]
Sheikh Kamaluddeen,[2] formerly Abdul Haqq Baker
Architectural information
Capacity 500[2]


The Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre (the "Brixton Mosque", or "Masjid ibn Taymeeyah") is a mosque located in Gresham Road in the Brixton area of South London, England. The mosque has facilities for both men and women and space for 500 worshippers during prayer and is currently expanding to accommodate over 1000 worshippers.[2] It also has the largest number of converts for a mosque in the United Kingdom.[1]



Opened in 1990, Brixton Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in South London. The mosque provides religious, social, and financial support to its members.[3] It follows the Salafi tradition in seeking to practice Muslim life as it was during the earliest years of Islam. Worshippers wear traditional Islamic dress.[4][5] Its congregation is young and multiracial, with an average age of about 30. The mosque works to help rehabilitate recently released prisoners,[4] and is managed by Black British converts.[6] In 2004, the mosque's imam, Omar Urquhart, himself a Black convert to Islam and a graduate from the Faculty of Hadith Studies at the Islamic University of Madinah,[1] said that 60 percent of the mosque's 500 members were Black converts.[6][7][8]


Abdullah el-Faisal

Abdullah el-Faisal, a radical Muslim cleric who preached in the UK until he was imprisoned for stirring up racial hatred and in 2007 deported to Jamaica, was associated with the Brixton Mosque in the early 1990s, preaching to crowds of up to 500 people.[9][10] In 1993, he was ejected by the mosque's Salafi administration who objected to his radical preaching.[11][12] In 2007 the London Evening Standard published an apology for referring to el-Faisal as the "Brixton Mosque preacher" on 12 April 2007, and clarified that el-Faisal only preached at Brixton Mosque in the early 1990s and not after 1994.[10]

Richard Reid (the shoe bomber)

The mosque made international headlines when it was reported Richard Reid, the so-called "shoe bomber", had attended the mosque from 1996 to 1998 after converting to Islam in jail.[13][14] Abdul Haqq Baker, former chairman of mosque, told the BBC that Reid came to the mosque to learn about Islam, but fell in with what he called "more extreme elements" in London's Muslim community.[15] "We have been in contact with the police numerous times over the last five years to warn of the threat posed by militant groups operating in our area," said Baker in December 2001 after Reid's arrest.[16] He had warned that terrorist "talent scouts" prey on mosques like the Brixton mosque in search of the young and unstable. Baker warned the congregation, "The recruiting has got out of control. Beware. It's your sons, your teenagers who are plucked into these extreme groups."[17] A Time magazine article in 2002 said: "The Brixton Mosque is an ideal hunting ground for terrorist talent spotters since it attracts mainly young worshipers, including ex-convicts it helps rehabilitate."[8]

Zacarias Moussaoui

Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of conspiring to kill citizens of the USA as part of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, frequented the mosque between 1996 and 1997.[13] Some sources report that it was during this period that he met Richard Reid, though others are less certain.[18][19][20][21] Moussaoui was expelled from the mosque after he began wearing combat fatigues and a backpack to the mosque, and pressured the cleric to provide him with information on how to join the jihad.[18][19][22]


  1. ^ a b c "Islam in London: Documentary about Brixton Mosque". 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  2. ^ a b c 20 november 2009 (2009-11-20). "Recent Short Documentary of Brixton Mosque". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  3. ^ "Brixton Mosque & Islamic Cultural Centre, Museums, Heritage UK". 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  4. ^ a b Harrison, Ted (28 September 2007). "Why Muslims keep the greater fast". Church Times. Retrieved 16 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  6. ^ a b Kelso, Paul, "Terror recruits warning; Young Muslims 'fall prey to extremists'," The Guardian, 27 December 2001, accessed 11 January 2010
  7. ^ ''The New Frontiers of Jihad: Radical Islam in Europe'', p. 180, Alison Pargeter, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008, ISBN 0812241460, 9780812241464, accessed 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  8. ^ a b Helen Gibson, "Looking for Trouble," Time, 14 January 2002, accessed 11 January 2010
  9. ^ Johnston, Philip (27 May 2007). "7 July preacher Abdullah El-Faisal deported". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2007. 
  10. ^ a b "Resolved Complaints: Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre and London Evening Standard". Press Complaints Commission. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  11. ^ M. R. Haberfeld, Agostino von Hassell, ed (2009). A New Understanding of Terrorism: Case Studies, Trajectories and Lessons Learned. Springer. p. 243. ISBN 9781441901149. 
  12. ^ Odula,Tom (10 January 2010). "Radical Jamaican-born Muslim cleric returns to Kenya after his deportation fails". Edmonton Sun ( Retrieved 16 January 2010. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b ''A pretext for war: 9/11, Iraq, and the abuse of America's intelligence agencies'', p. 237, James Bamford, Random House, Inc., 2005, ISBN 140003034X, 9781400030347, accessed 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  14. ^ ''Islamist and Middle Eastern terrorism: a threat to Europe?'', p. 47, Maria do Céu Pinto, Rubbettino Editore srl, 2004, ISBN 8849808879, 9788849808872, accessed 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  15. ^ "UK | Shoe bomb suspect 'one of many'". BBC News. 2001-12-26. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  16. ^ "London Mosque Leader: We Warned About Radicals," Fox News, 27 December 2001, accessed 11 January 2010
  17. ^ ''God's continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's religious crisis'', p. 224, Philip Jenkins, Oxford University Press US, 2007, ISBN 019531395X, 9780195313956, accessed 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  18. ^ a b ''Al-Qaeda: in search of the terror network that threatens the world'', p. 276, Jane Corbin, Nation Books, 2003, ISBN 1560255234, 9781560255239, accessed 11 January 2010. 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  19. ^ a b ''Encyclopedia of modern worldwide extremists and extremist groups'', p. 271, Stephen E. Atkins, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004, ISBN 0313324859, 9780313324857, accessed 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  20. ^ "Who is Richard Reid?". BBC News. 28 December 2001. Retrieved 16 January 2010. 
  21. ^ Hoge, Warren (27 December 2001). "A Nation challenged-the convert; Shoe-Bomb Suspect Fell in With Extremists". New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2010. 
  22. ^ "The Religious Trajectories of the Moussaoui Family", Katherine Donahue, ISIM Review 21 (Spring 2008), p. 18, accessed 11 January 2001

External links

Coordinates: 51°27′55″N 0°06′46″W / 51.4652°N 0.1127°W / 51.4652; -0.1127

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