A mosque in Golders Green in London is to host an event by the Israeli Holocaust remembrance institution Yad Vashem.
The exhibition, which will take place on January 6 at the Hussainiyat Al-Rasool Al-Adham centre which mainly serves the Iraqi Shia community, will highlight the Muslim Albanians who helped, protected and rescued their Jewish neighbours during the Holocaust.
Yad Vashem is a Holocaust museum based in Jerusalem which is partially financed by and supports the state of Israel. It is located near where the Deir Yasir massacre of Palestinians by Zionists took place.
The exhibition, to be held under the auspices of the Faiths Forum for London, is part of the mosque’s drive to open and maintain dialogue with its neighbours, in the wake of objections made to its opening.
But it may prove controversial among the Muslim community given the animosity that is overwhelmingly felt towards Tel Aviv.
Rabbi Natan Levy, Head of Operations at Faith Forums for London, and one of the organisers behind the event, said: “The exhibition is a powerful reminder that during the Jewish community’s darkest hour, the Muslim community in Albania were one of the few who did not stand idly by when the Nazis attempted to eradicate their Jewish neighbours.
“It’s also incredibly important to remember that Jewish and Muslim communities have always historically supported each other and will always continue to do so. By spending more time together and seeking to understand our commonalities and appreciate our differences we can provide a united front against hatred.”
Over the past year the mosque has gone to great lengths to ingratiate itself with the local Jewish community, most of whom are thought to be supporters of Israel.
The local Jewish community in Golders Green were split over the new mosque the it opened last year. Some expressed concerns over road congestion and parking, and others spouted Islamophobic rhetoric on social media platforms about the presence of an Islamic centre in the heart of the Jewish community.
More than 6,000 people signed a petition against plans to turn the former Golders Green Hippodrome into a mosque. The petitioners claimed it would cause “disruption”, citing traffic and pollution problems. They said they wished to “restore the charm, harmony and safety of our family neighbourhood,” and called on Barnet Council to “approach the management of the centre and oblige them to make the necessary arrangements and changes in order to stop the deleterious impact on the lives of the local residents and their visitors.”
Others, however, including the Jewish community media, condemned opposition to the mosque and the Islamophobic rhetoric surrounding it.