The landmarks of EASTENDERS have become as important to the show as the characters themselves, and it is rare that such an iconic establishment is completely destroyed, but it appears that one of the most beloved sets will be no more in upcoming scenes on the BBC soap.
The Argee Bhajee has been absent from EastEnders for some time, ever since the Masood family sold the restaurant after many years of successful operation. It has been boarded up, vandalized, and most recently, a far-right group planned to blow it up during the BBC soap’s New Year’s Day episode, bringing it back to viewers’ attention. However, Aaron Monroe (played by Charlie Wernham) was talked out of denoting the device, and it appears that the landmark will be destroyed in another way, as the residents of Walford are stunned by an explosion on the Square.
The land on which the Argee Bhajee stands has been attracting the attention of the Muslim community for several months, with plans to convert the establishment into a local mosque.
This would allow characters like Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) to attend prayer and mass with other people of the same faith.
It was a first for the weeknight serial drama, which had never had a mosque or even a religious structure built within the Square’s boundaries.
With the far-right group infiltrating Walford in recent months and supporter Iqra Ahmed (Priya Davdra) exiting the show, the plans appear to have been put on hold.
When a disturbing turn of events occurs next week, it appears that control may be out of everyone’s hands, as the Argee Bhajee is brought to its knees for another reason.
Following a party hosted by Callum Highway (Tony Clay) outside The Albert, several residents are assisting in the clean-up.
Bobby, Honey Mitchell (Emma Barton), and Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) are completely unaware that something monumental is about to take place.
They are quickly shaken when they hear an explosion from the Argee Bhajee, and everyone rushes to safety, fearing another attack.
As the investigation into what happened begins, it is soon discovered that the loud bang was caused by a gas leak in the restaurant.
It’s unclear whether the establishment is left in shambles, but even if it isn’t, the damage done to it could indicate that it’s about to be demolished.
Residents in Walford could watch as the iconic landmark was gradually demolished by the council, leaving an empty space on which something else could be built.
With the far-right group fleeing the Square due to the heavy police presence, Bobby may be in a position to lead the charge in getting the mosque built.
It would be a lot of work and take up a lot of his time, but the youngster sensed that his community needed to stand up to racist thugs.
A place of worship could be built alongside iconic landmarks like the Queen Vic and Kathy’s café in the near future.
With the events of New Year’s Eve behind them and members of the far-right group in prison, life for Bobby and other Muslims may become a little easier.
It was first reported in 2016 that a mosque would be included in the new set being built for EastEnders.
The BBC did not confirm whether this was the plan at the time, but a spokesperson did provide some insight into the multimillion-pound project.
According to The Guardian, they said: “The new locations for the exterior set construction have yet to be chosen.
“The new set will better reflect the East End of London on screen while also expanding storyline possibilities.”
There has been widespread support for a mosque within Walford’s boundaries, with Salman Farsi of the East London Mosque pledging his support six years ago.
Salman said: “The idea of having a mosque built into the set of EastEnders would truly provide a realistic insight into the communities of East London.
“There is a great opportunity here to dispel misconceptions about Muslims and their faith, and we know that EastEnders has done this in the past through its Muslim characters.
“However, if this set is built to pursue a specific storyline along the lines of extremism, there is cause for concern.”
“Which would further denigrate the Islamic faith and feed negative stereotypes that are unrepresentative of the majority of Muslims in Britain,” he told The Guardian.
The soap’s most recent storyline involving the far-right group has provided an opportunity to highlight the issues that the Muslim community faces.
With the Masood and Ahmed families no longer appearing on the show, Bobby’s role as a Muslim representative has become increasingly important.
The youngster has become devoted to his faith, and he has frequently chosen faith over love in his relationship.
The teen understands the Muslim faith’s practices thanks to Iqra’s guidance during her time on the Square.
When questioned by far-right member Aaron over the holidays, he was even seen dispelling religious myths.
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