Mark Steyn on the New London:
Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic missionary group, has announced plans to build a mosque next door to the new Olympic stadium. The London Markaz will be the biggest house of worship in the United Kingdom: it will hold 70,000 people – only 10,000 fewer than the Olympic stadium, and 67,000 more than the largest Christian facility (Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral). Tablighi Jamaat plans to raise the necessary £100 million through donations from Britain and “abroad”.
And I’ll bet they do. I may be a notorious Islamophobic hatemonger, but, watching these two projects go up side by side in Newham, I don’t think there’ll be any doubt which has the tighter grip on fiscal sanity. Another year or two, and Londoners may be wishing they could sub-contract the entire Olympics to Tablighi Jamaat.
I was slightly surprised by the number of e-mails I’ve received in the past 48 hours from Britons aggrieved about the new mega-mosque. To be sure, it would be heartening if the Archbishop of Canterbury announced plans to mark the Olympics by constructing a 70,000-seat state-of-the-art Anglican cathedral, but what would you put in it? Even an all-star double bill comprising a joint Service of Apology to Saddam Hussein followed by Ordination of Multiple Gay Bishops in Long-Term Committed Relationships (Non-Practising or Otherwise, According to Taste) seems unlikely to fill the pews. Whatever one feels about it, the London Markaz will be a more accurate symbol of Britain in 2012 than Her Majesty pulling up next door with the Household Cavalry.