London's mayor on Tuesday criticized what he called a vicious campaign posted on the British prime minister's Web site objecting to a plan to build a "Mega Mosque" in London, when no such plan exists.
Some 270,000 people have signed a petition on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Web site demanding that officials abolish the alleged untrue plans to build a large mosque in Newham, east London, where much of the 2012 Olympics will take place.
The petition – the most popular on the site – says: "We the Christian population of this great country England would like the proposed plan to build a Mega Mosque in East London scrapped. This will only cause terrible violence and suffering and more money should go into the NHS (National Health Services)."
It was initiated by Jill Barham, author of a blog called English Rose, which says it is dedicated to opposing Brown's Labour government and the "Islamization" of this country.
Mayor Ken Livingstone, Brown's office and Newham local council have all denied the rumor.
"The particularly vicious nature of the campaign against a possible Muslim place of worship in East London should be condemned by all of those who support the long established right of freedom of religion in this country," Livingstone said in a statement.
"And all the more so as it is based on information which has long been established to be factually untrue," he said.
The Downing Street Web site allows anyone to address and deliver an e-petition directly to the prime minister. British citizens can sign the petition by entering their name and email address into the Web page.
The petition will continue to accept names until Wednesday.
A spokesman for Brown said the prime minister's office was looking at the language used in the petition. "Clearly the issues raised need to be looked at and kept under review, Ellam said. We will respond to this petition once it is closed," Michael Ellam said.
However, a government response already published on the petition webpage says: "The Government believes that where controversial issues such as this arise, all involved should ensure that discussions are conducted in a manner that respects the views of all sections of our communities and in a way that does not raise tensions in local areas."