• What We Stand For

    We are proud that Barnet is a beacon of diversity, community, and care. From our delicious bagel shops to our beautiful parks, Barnet is home to many different communities who live together in friendship. 

     

    One local building, the Hippodrome, was used for many years by a Christian community, and then a few years ago was bought by a Muslim community, the Markaz. The Markaz community are not looking to make any structural changes to the building - there is not a  hammer or a nail needed in their planning application - they just are asking to change the terms of use from a Christian community building to a general religious one. They are a refugee community who for thirty years have been part of our borough, and we are saddened that a group who call themselves 'Golders Green Residents Environmental Group' have hired a lawyer, referred to as the 'Mosque Buster', and whose organisation has advertised for volunteers on the English Defence League website, to challenge their request for planning permission. 

     

    This application, despite being technically very simple, has been repeatedly delayed. A group of teenagers from Finchley Progressive Synagogue, the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association and Barnet Citizens came together during the Jewish festival of Chanukah to remember the lessons of the festival that reminds us of what it means to be denied access to one's religious buildings, and ask the Council to validate the application. We sent them a video letter - and we are delighted that they now have validated the application! But validation is not enough -  we now have a few weeks to ask Barnet Council to Choose Love Over Hate, and reject the so-called 'Mosque Buster's' attempt to sow division in our neighbourhoood. 

  • What We Stand Against

    We stand against hate, division and discrimination in our community. Hope Not Hate have made a briefing about the lawyer GGREG have hired and his organisation that you can read here.

  • DO YOU ALSO WANT TO CHOOSE LOVE?

     

    Here's how you can help.

    If you're part of a community organisation please also be in touch with us through the contact form below to bring your synagogue, church, mosque, neighbourhood association, school, tenants group or dance troupe to stand for love! We ask that all organisations who support sign up to to our principles of being non party political; to commit to the strategy agreed by the Markaz; and to building relationships across communities to make a safer, more caring, Barnet.

  • FAQs

    What and who are the Markaz?

    The Markaz community are a local Shia Muslim community made up mainly of people who had to flee Iraq in the 1980s under persecution from Saddam Hussein's regime. Barnet has been their home where they've met for 30 years.

    Is the Markaz a mosque?

    The Markaz, ('centre' in Arabic), are not a mosque - they are a community centre, and their coming together as a community includes some worship, as well as many other activities. You can see their children's trip to Lord's Cricket Ground here - but in non Covid times they have a football group, children's activities, education and many more!

    Have the Markaz been involved in their local area?

    The Markaz community have been an active force for good in the local area, working with their neighbours. They hosted an NHS interfaith blood drive, been part of Sadaqa Day at JW3, hosted a Big Iftar, planted trees with their neighbours, and visited Church of England Schools to be part of religious education.

    Who is the 'Mosque Buster' and what is his objection?

    You can read more about the 'Mosque Buster' hired by a group to oppose planning permission and his 'mission' to stop Muslim communities accessing buildings here.

    I'm concerned about parking. Have travel plans been made for the Markaz?

    Yes! The location of the Markaz - next to Golders Green station, with its tube station, bus interchange and National Express stop make the Markaz perfect for public transport, and they have put a lot of time into a new, legally binding travel plan, that has been put in for the planning application. You can read it here. 

    Who supports the Markaz receiving their planning permission?

    Lots of communities and different organisations have come together over many years to support the Markaz. This includes the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Hope not Hate, Mitzvah Day, Alyth Synagogue, Finchley Progressive Synagogue, Finchley Reform Synagogue, Middlesex University Students Union, the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association, Hampstead Garden Suburb Free Church, St Edward the Confessor Church, Nisa-Nashim, Faiths Forum for London, the Barnet Multifaith Forum, and Citizens UK - and many many more. You can see letters of support from the local Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh local communities here and Barnet Multifaith Forum's statement of support here.

  • Contact Us

    If you have questions or want to be in touch, please do so below