MUSLIM extremists fighting to build a “mega-mosque” in East London are banning women from their own weddings.
Hardline separatists Tablighi Jamaat, dubbed an “antechamber of fundamentalism” by intelligence officials, insist on segregation between sexes.
Last night Dr Taj Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation and director of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said: “The ceremony is normally a male-only affair where a male relative, usually a father or brother, signs on behalf of the woman and the service is conducted by a male priest, an imam, in front of male witnesses exclusively.
Dr Jenny Taylor, of Lapido Media, a charity dedicated to raising awareness of religious affairs, branded the practice “medieval”.
She said: “Women are not allowed even to attend their own marriages. It is ludicrous to think this promotes social cohesion.
“When I visited the head-quarters in Delhi they were very nice to me but I was made to do my interview sitting with my back to the professor. This is where the international training is done. There were British Muslims present when I did my interview.
“We need to encourage people to integrate in the country they live in, otherwise you end up with enclaves of Western-phobia which generate suspicion and hatred.”
Earlier this month we revealed the Islamist group could be planning Britain’s first Sharia-controlled zone if plans to move their UK headquarters from Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire, to a site in Newham, east London, get the go-ahead.
Dr Taylor added: “Children are being brought up in place where contact with the mainstream is minimal. The Dewsbury HQ is now a Tablighi enclave.
“Masses of research has been done on this as a result of 7/7 but it seems to be almost completely ignored by government.
“Different norms start to prevail as is evidenced with this question of women’s marriage. Allowing a huge centre to be built in Newham that will churn out these values is appallingly irresponsible.
“Are we waiting to see the east of London become completely Islamic and split off from the mainstream country? It would be an absolute catastrophe.”
She added: “This is not diversity but apartheid.”
The religious writer and commentator was backed by Tehmina Kazi, the director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy and a former project officer at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
She said: “Female members are kept secluded and the values surrounding their seclusion are transmitted to their children.”
Two of the July 7 bombers, Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Sidique Khan, plus failed shoe bomber Richard Reid, are believed to have prayed at the Tablighi HQ in Dewsbury.
Last night trustees of the Riverine centre, who run the TJ site in Newham, were unavailable for comment.
This story first appeared in the Daily Star on 28 October.