A new Shia Muslim mega mosque and Islamic center – measuring over 3,500 square meters and with room for 3,000 people — has opened in Golders Green, one of only two largely Jewish areas in London. The Shia Muslim religious center, Hussainiyat Al-Rasool Al-Adham, owns the mosque.
The mosque is situated in the Hippodrome, a prominent building centrally located in North London. The Hippodrome was built in 1913 as a 3,000-seat music hall and for more than 30 years housed the BBC Concert Orchestra. Two episodes of the first series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus were recorded there in 1969. After the BBC left the building in 2005, a Jewish group wanted to convert the building into a place of worship but was rejected, because the planning applications stipulated that the building should be used for entertainment. In March 2007, it was purchased by an evangelical Christian center. After the church center closed, the Hussainiyat Al-Rasool Al-Adham center acquired it.
Because the building is a so-called grade II building, special permission is needed to change the purpose of the building. The Hussainiyat Al-Rasool Al-Adham has applied to the local city council for permission to use the building as a ‘place of worship’. The application is still pending– and worship there is therefore, strictly speaking, illegal — but the mosque is operating nevertheless. It apparently officially opened on September 8, and has been in frequent use since, as is evident from the many photos shared on the Hussainiyat Al-Rasool Al-Adham Facebook page.
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