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Brixton Mosque

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Title: Brixton Mosque  
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Subject: Richard Reid, Abdullah el-Faisal, Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, Abu Qatada, Zacarias Moussaoui, Islam in London
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Brixton Mosque

The Brixton Mosque
and Islamic Cultural Centre
Location 1 Gresham Road, Brixton,
South London, England, United Kingdom
Established 1990
Branch/tradition Salafi
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. 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]


External links

  • Official website
  • Recent Short Documentary of Brixton Mosque
  • "London mosque leader recalls bomb suspect: Interview with Abdul Haqq Baker", CNN, 26 December 2001
  • "The Devil's Deception of Abdullaah Faisal ('Sheikh Faisal'); Critical Study of Abdullah el-Faisal's Methodology"; SalafiManhaj (2007)
  • , Volume 73, Issue 1 (September 2008), pp. 24–25
  • Islam in London: Documentary about Brixton Mosque

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

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