Welcome To The Mosque

Confirmed for BBC Two on 30 September at 8pm to 9pm

Wednesday 30 September



East London Mosque is one of the largest in Europe and the central hub of East London’s Muslim community, but for many it’s a place of mystery and the unknown.

Documentary filmmaker Robb Leech has been granted unprecedented access to the mosque and takes us inside to find out what life is really like for some of the two million people who come through the doors every year.

Leech first came to The East London Mosque in Whitechapel with his stepbrother Richard, who’d converted to an extreme brand of Islam, and in 2013 was convicted of preparing terrorist acts and jailed for six years.

Now the Mosque has invited Robb back. During eight months of filming he captures key moments: from the rituals of washing before Friday prayers to preparing Muslim couples for marriage at the centre’s very own match-making service. Robb meets young Muslims at the Mosque’s school who discuss ‘British values’. He meets older community members who tell him about the racism they experienced growing up in the East End; he witnesses segregation and attempts to understand its cultural value; and meets younger community members, fearful of the dangers of 'free-mixing' with the opposite sex.

While Robb is filming, the story breaks about the three London schoolgirls who fled Britain to join Isis jihadists in Syria. Robb explores the Mosque’s response to events that shocked the community, and made headlines around the world. He captures the frantic first phone call to the Mosque’s charismatic young media manager from a distraught sister of one of the girls and travels to Istanbul with the families of the missing girls to try and track them down.

Robb Leech has previously made two films for BBC Three about his stepbrother, trying to understand what motivated him - My Brother The Islamist (Griersons-nominated, 2011) and My Brother the Terrorist (2014).