Golders Green mosque applicants ‘shocked’ by hostility to planned Islamic centre
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Golders Green mosque applicants ‘shocked’ by hostility to planned Islamic centre

Faith groups in the local area meet online to discuss proposals to turn the former Hippodrome building into a community centre for the Shia Iraqi community

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Golders Green Hippodrome with a banner above the entrance describing its new owners
Golders Green Hippodrome with a banner above the entrance describing its new owners

Friends and supporters of the Shia Iraqi group trying to establish a community centre with worship facilities at the former Golders Green Hippodrome building, held an on-line briefing meeting on Tuesday evening, hosted by leaders of Alyth Gardens Synagogue.

Those participating in the meeting included members of local churches in the neighbourhood.

The community trying to set up the Markaz (Arabic for “centre”) have been seeking planning permission from Barnet Council since at least 2017, with an application based on similar approval given in 2007 to the Hippodrome’s previous tenants, an evangelical Christian group.

But there has been continued opposition to the Markaz, the meeting was told, with at one point over 1,000 leaflets, purporting to come from a Golders Green Residents Environment Group, being sent to Barnet Council, which is considering the change of use planning application. One of the supporters of the application spoke of “direct hostility” which had left the applicants “pretty shocked”. 

The services of the self-proclaimed “Mosquebuster”, lawyer Gavin Boby, have been retained by those in opposition to the Markaz project. But participants at the meeting were told that it had not so far proved possible to identify those who had hired him.  

Planning consultants and the legal team working on behalf of the Markaz have submitted a “traffic plan” along with the planning application to Barnet Council, in order to minimise disruption to the local community on Muslim festivals.

One of the Shia leaders of the Markaz said that as Golders Green was such a transport hub, as many people as possible were being encouraged to use public transport when visiting the Hippodrome building. He estimated the size of the community “on a good day” at around 150 people.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments