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It Turns Out The "Beware Of Jews" Sign Was Actually Part Of An Art Project Celebrating London's Diversity

Update: Artist Franck Allais has apologised for any offence caused.

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Updated on

A sign that appeared to issue a warning about Jews that was seen near a north London synagogue was actually part of a street art project.

French-born artist Franck Allais, who has lived in London for 16 years, told BuzzFeed News he was sorry for any offence caused by the sign, which was reported to police by local neighbourhood watch groups and condemned by MPs.

Allais, 43, said the sign was part of a project celebrating London's "different identities".

He said that over the last three years he had put up 20 other signs featuring silhouettes of photos he had taken in those same locations, such as runners, a woman with her shopping, a dog-walker, and a cat, to indicate the different people who live in London.

"I apologise," he said. "The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt people."

The image was shared by local neighbourhood watch group Shomrim after it was reported to the group by a passerby in Stamford Hill on Tuesday. It showed an Orthodox Jewish man wearing a fedora hat.

"The people of Stamford Hill are very sadly used to instances of anti-Semitic hate crime, but most of those times it will be verbal abuse or even assault," Barry Bard, of the local group, told the BBC.

It was immediately condemned by MPs.

Disgusting. Unacceptable. https://t.co/uym6OisBsl

This is dreadful. Hope there is CCTV footage available to police. https://t.co/DRsZIOvdB9

Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said the sign was "despicable", and that the "nasty behaviour had absolutely no place in our community".

The sign was due to be removed on Wednesday morning by Hackney council.

The nearby area is home to around 30,000 orthodox Haredi Jews.

It comes amid a seeming rise in anti-Semitic incidences around the country – many focused on university campuses. In the past few month, anti-Semitic leaflets and swastikas have appeared at Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh universities.

Students In London, Scotland, And Cambridge Have Found The Same Anti-Semitic Leaflets On Campus

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at Rose.Buchanan@BuzzFeed.com.

Matthew Champion is a weekend editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Champion at matthew.champion@buzzfeed.com.

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