A plan to open a mosque in a heavily Jewish area of London is dividing British Jews, with some calling the development worrisome and others accusing its opponents of racism.
The Islamic center is slated to open next month at the Hippodrome, a former concert hall in the heart of the north London neighborhood of Golders Green. The area is home to thousands of Jewish families of all major denominations and many synagogues, Jewish schools, kosher shops and restaurants, even hotels for devout Jews.
By Sunday, more than 5,600 people had signed an online petition urging municipal officials to investigate possible bylaw infractions by the center, which has received all the required permissions following the building's purchase earlier this year by an Islamic charity. The petition does not mention the religious dimension, citing instead potential "disruptions" to traffic, as well as parking and air pollution.