(THE GUARDIAN) — Its audiences once thrilled to performances by Marlene Dietrich and Laurence Olivier. They sang along with Vera Lynn, laughed with Danny La Rue, and rocked with Status Quo.
But the Golders Green Hippodrome, which closed its doors as a theatre in 1968 and was home to the BBC concert orchestra until 2004, is now at the centre of a disturbing controversy after the Grade II-listed building was bought by an Islamic charity earlier this year.
Plans to use the venue as a Muslim community centre and mosque have divided the local population, which has a large Jewish presence. Most objectors have cited concerns about traffic congestion and parking, but a minority of comments have been Islamophobic, leading a local rabbi to denounce “threatening and misleading” language that echoed historic antisemitism.
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