Rabbi Files Complaint After Being Told To Remove Shoes In Heathrow Multi-Faith Prayer Room


Rabbi_Shmuli_BrownA rabbi is demanding a public apology from Heathrow airport after being told to remove his shoes inside its multifaith prayer room.

Rabbi Shmuli Brown, Chabad rabbi of Liverpool Universities, landed at Heathrow after taking an overnight flight from New York. He went to make his morning prayers inside the airport’s multifaith prayer room before catching his connecting flight to Manchester.

However he was interrupted by “a person in uniform, though I am not sure from what department” who entered the room and asked him to take off his shoes, as is the practice in mosques.

Rabbi Brown said: “I replied that it was a multi-faith room, but he just told me again to take my shoes off. He gave me an uncomfortable feeling and made me feel very unwelcome, so I left the room.”

The rabbi contacted Heathrow airport’s Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Hershi Vogel, who told him that this was not the first time such an incident had happened.

“I want Heathrow to issue a public statement and make it very clear that this is a multi-faith room that caters for all religions, and is not just a mosque,” Rabbi Brown said.

“This was the first time I have used such a prayer room inside an airport, and I won’t be doing so again. I am very much into displaying my Jewish pride, so I won’t be going into a small room and cowering in the corner.”

Heathrow has said it is investigating the incident.


{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Stacking the avenues for better prayer perhaps.

    But of course, the rabbi is wrong to assume that he might not have to remove his shoes if it is used as a mosque. He should have respect for the rights of the others who use the prayer room regularly. They might have been offended by his shoes.

    This is probably minor, but so too is his complaint.
    Sad perhaps.

    Still, I hope he has better choice of his worries when he flies.

  2. I’d love to know if this multi-faith prayer room is equipped with kneeling benches, arks, crucifixes, water fonts, candles, prayer books, mezzuzot, or such, Anyone know?

  3. Having just come back from the far east and using a prayer room in the Seoul Korea airport i disagree.
    There are halachic ramifications. If a room is truly multifaith with no icons it can be used by Jews. If it is designated a mosque you start to run into problems.
    They may pray to the same God but many hold you can’t daven in a mosque.
    Personally, I davened mincha in the room even though there were arabs on the floor. But if there had been christians in the room or if the room had been (even informally) declared a mosque, I would have left.
    No one asked me to take my shoes off