LONDON: Community leaders today said an Islamic centre inside Golders Green Hippodrome “should be welcomed” as thousands of residents signed a petition against the building’s status being changed to “place of worship”.
The Grade II listed former music venue in North End Road was bought in July for £5.25 million by the Centre for Islamic Enlightening after struggling to find a permanent owner since 2004.
The Hussainiat Al-Rasool Al-Adham Islamic Centre opened last month. It has now applied for planning permission for its status to be changed from use as only a concert venue or church, to place of worship – allowing the Shia centre to hold services and other events.
Hundreds of objections have been lodged with Barnet council, which has removed all comments about the proposal on its website because of increasingly racist language.
A petition asking the council to deny the application has gained more than 5,000 signatures. Marcus Dysch, political editor at the Jewish Chronicle, wrote on Twitter that it was “hard to see [the campaign] as anything other than inexcusable, blatant Islamophobia.”