Faith representatives in Barnet have united in welcoming a proposal to convert the Hippodrome in Golders Green to an Islamic centre.
An open letter from thirty local leaders commented on the planning application by Markaz El Tathgheef El Eslami.
“We are a group of clergy and faith representatives in Barnet that meet in each other’s centres to foster good inter-religious relations and promote community cohesion. Our interfaith forum is convened under the auspices of Interfaith Matters, a local registered charity, and meetings have been held regularly for almost three years.
All members of the interfaith forum look forward to welcoming the clerics of Markaz El Tathgheef El Eslami, the new Islamic Centre at Golders Green Hippodrome, to our interfaith meetings.
At our last meeting, hosted by the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Golders Green, members expressed every confidence that Barnet Council would address and resolve all legitimate concerns relating to additional traffic, less parking and the Centre’s use.
However, as clergy and faith representatives we unanimously deplored and condemned the hostile and, at times, racist response to the new Islamic Centre’s opening. It is our firm conviction that those that attend the Centre are as entitled to suitable and sufficient facilities as are enjoyed by all other faiths in Barnet, including Golders Green.
Indeed, we are sure the new Islamic community will contribute, with us, to the neighbourhood’s character, harmony and safety. We are also grateful to the Centre’s clerics who have already offered to host our next interfaith forum meeting and we look forward to this in the New Year.”
The full list of signatories can be found here.
Barnet Multi Faith Forum has issued a statement supporting the local leaders.