Markazi Masjid, Dewsbury
The Markazi Masjid (Central Mosque), also known as the Dewsbury Markaz or Dar ul Ulum (House of Knowledge), is a mosque in Savile Town area of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England. Accommodating up to 4,000 worshippers, it is one of the largest Wahhabi movement mosques in the United Kingdom and among the biggest purpose-built mosques in Europe. It is also the European headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat movement, and houses the Institute of Islamic Education (Jamia Talimul Islam), an independent day and boarding faith school for boys aged 13–19 and one of the two main Islamic seminaries in the UK. The mosque serves as a centre for Tablighi Jamaat's missionary activity throughout Europe.
Construction of the mosque commenced in 1978.
The Dewsbury Markaz is aligned with the Tablighi Jamaat movement and bases its services around its six principles. Daily services consist of prayers, talks and public lectures, and the organisation of ten person groups (jamaats) who undertake proselytising trips. As the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in Europe, it is usually the location of its annual regional gathering (ijtema). Many scholars have graduated from this institution. The principal is the head of Jamaat in Europe: Hafidh Muhammad Patel.
Tablighi Jamaat and the Dewsbury Markaz has been accused of promoting extremist Islamism and having links with Islamic terrorism in Britain; Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, two of the 7 July 2005 London bombers, are reported to have attended prayers at the mosque. Both the allegation of extremism and specific claims that Sidique Khan or Tanweer visited the mosque are denied by its leaders. In 2006 the Institute of Islamic Education was criticised by Ofsted for an 'over-emphasis' on religious study to the neglect of the secular curriculum, leading to poor exam performance. The latest inspection (2008) reported satisfactory improvement in this area. The Times journalist Andrew Norfolk has argued the school contributes to ethnic segregation in the local area.
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