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Welcome to the Mosque

Documentary filmmaker Robb Leech explores Europe's biggest Muslim community, in the heart of London's East End, with unprecedented access to the East London Mosque.

With unprecedented access, documentary filmmaker Robb Leech enters Europe's biggest Muslim community, in the heart of London's East End. Leech first came to the East London Mosque with his stepbrother. He'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, to find out what life is really like inside for some of the two million people who attend every year.

'After years of trying to make sense of extremism, I want to understand the lives of ordinary Muslims, to go behind the walls and dispel the mystery and suspicion felt by non-Muslims on the outside', says Leech.

Robb finds a diverse group of individuals hidden from public view behind the Mosque's brick walls. He captures key moments, from the rituals of washing before Friday prayers to preparing Muslim couples for marriage at the centre's match-making service. Robb discusses British values with young Muslims at the Mosque's school. Older community members 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.

During filming, the story breaks about the London schoolgirls who fled Britain to join Isis jihadists in Syria. Robb explores the Mosque's response to events that shocked the community. Whether capturing the frantic first phone call to the Mosque's media manager from a distraught sister of one of the girls or travelling to Istanbul with the girls' families to try and track them down, Robb's hand-held camera gives an intimate feel to the events.

59 minutes

Last on

Fri 23 Oct 2015 01:15

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Bj√∂rk

    Human Behaviour

  • Toots & The Maytals

    When I Laugh

  • Buffalo Springfield

    For What It's Worth

  • Queen

    Somebody To Love

  • Beth Orton

    Call Me The Breeze

  • Gustavo Santaolalla

    De Usuahia A La Quiaca

  • Cat Stevens

    On the Road to Find Out

  • Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo

    Nostalgia

  • Sly & the Family Stone

    Everyday People

  • Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

    Song for Jesse

  • Faces

    Ooh La La

  • Lana Del Rey

    Born to Die

  • Ane Brun

    Big In Japan

  • Queen & David Bowie

    Under Pressure 

  • Bill Withers

    Lovely Day

  • House of Pain

    Jump Around

  • Queen

    I Want To Break Free

  • Jim White

    Chase The Dark Away

  • Ane Brun

    Let Myself Go

  • Norman Greenbaum

    Spirit In The Sky

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Robb Leech
Director Robb Leech
Producer Ray Tostevin
Executive Producer Simon Ford
Production Company GRACE Productions
Production Company Vagabond Films

Broadcasts

  • Wed 30 Sep 2015 20:00
  • Wed 14 Oct 2015 23:15
  • Wed 14 Oct 2015 23:45
  • Thu 15 Oct 2015 00:15
  • Fri 23 Oct 2015 00:45
  • Fri 23 Oct 2015 01:15

Changing Perceptions

Changing Perceptions

Robb Leech on how spending eight months in the Mosque shocked and fascinated him.