Beacon of diversity, community and care

Barnet Citizens: Finchley Progressive Synagogue, Middlesex University Students’ Union, Finchley Reform Synagogue, The Somali Bravanese Welfare Association and Noam Masorti Youth, write to Barnet Council:

We welcome the fantastic news that the council’s planning committee will meet on July 19 to decide on the future use of the Golders Green Hippodrome by our brothers and sisters from Barnet’s Shia Muslim community.

This will be a wonderful way of showing that Barnet is proud to be a welcoming home to all faiths and communities. As our councillors, you can be confident that you have the support of the Golders Green community and members of Barnet’s synagogues, churches, temples and other community groups.

Ham & High: The Markaz El Tathgheef el-Eslami hope to move into the HippodromeThe Markaz El Tathgheef el-Eslami hope to move into the Hippodrome (Image: Harry Taylor)

The Markaz El Tathgheef el-Eslami will cherish and preserve the Hippodrome as their home and ensure that this important landmark of Barnet’s cultural heritage is saved from dereliction and decay. As you know, their use of the building as a community centre and for events and acts of worship is similar in all respects to its previous use as a church from 2007 to 2017.

The Markaz are a refugee community from Iraq who were persecuted under Saddam Hussein and have lived and prayed in our borough for 30 years.

We are grateful to the many hundreds of Barnet residents who have welcomed and supported the Markaz, including our member of parliament Mike Freer and in particular the many Rabbis and Priests, the Bishop of Edmonton and other faith and community leaders who have raised their voices to say: “We are proud that Barnet is a beacon of diversity, community, and care.”

The Markaz El Tathgheef el-Eslami plays a welcome and valued part in our interfaith and community work. We will build on this work together, strengthening community life in Barnet even further.