Armed guards providing protection for synagogues | This Is Local London – This is Local London

Posted By on November 15, 2020

Since the awful ascent of anti-Semitic views into the mainstream, the armed security at my local synagogue has taken on a terrifying new significance. At every entrance, two guards each carry a rifle across their armour-clad chests, and stand at the side of the doors. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. But only recently has it begun to instill me with fear.

The West London Synagogue of British Jews (WLS) is a Reform Judaism synagogue established in 1840, and is one of the largest in London. It has always, in keeping with Judaism, served the local community, no matter their race or religion. It supports many homeless people in the area, and refugees of all races and religions economically and spiritually. However, it has come under increasing threat from hate groups that once existed on the violent fringes of society but, because of disinformation and polarisation, have spread its tendrils into even the upper echelons of politics.

I have attended WLS from birth. I currently volunteer for schemes which aim to feed and clothe the impoverished who want to attend. It is ironic that, in order to enter a building established with altruism and love, I need to walk past two armed guards at each gate, and then only enter once the door locks behind me and I am buzzed through by more security. Such a presence insults and poisons our hard-won freedom of religion in general, and my Jewish faith in particular.

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Armed guards providing protection for synagogues | This Is Local London - This is Local London

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