A Muslim billionaire has won the case to build a mosque in the Trocadero, a famous entertainment center in London. Find out why he chose this location and what it means for the city.
How a Muslim Billionaire is Building a Mosque in the Heart of London
London is a city of diversity, where people of different faiths, cultures, and backgrounds coexist and interact. But it is also a city where finding a place to pray can be challenging for some Muslims, especially in the busy and crowded areas of central London.
That’s why Asif Aziz, a London-based billionaire and philanthropist, has decided to build a mosque and Islamic center in the Trocadero, a famous landmark building in Piccadilly Circus. The Trocadero Mosque, as it is likely to be called, will be a three-story prayer house that can accommodate up to 390 worshippers. It will also serve as a hub for interfaith dialogue, community engagement, and social welfare.
The Trocadero Mosque: A Vision of Inclusion and Harmony
The idea of building a mosque in the Trocadero dates back to 2005, when Aziz bought the building for more than £220 million. His original plan was to create a large mosque that could host more than 1,000 people, but he faced opposition and complaints from some extremist groups and residents, who claimed that the mosque would be out of place in the entertainment center of London.
Aziz did not give up on his vision, however. He revised his plan and submitted an amended application for a smaller development in 2020. In May 2023, Westminster Council approved his proposal, paving the way for the construction of the mosque.
Aziz’s motivation for building the mosque is not only to provide a convenient and accessible place for Muslims to pray, but also to foster a spirit of inclusion and harmony among the diverse communities of London. He believes that by placing the mosque within the Trocadero, which is surrounded by pubs, nightclubs, and LGBTQ venues, he can facilitate dialogue and understanding between different faiths and cultures.
Aziz’s charity organization, the Aziz Foundation, is spearheading the project. The foundation aims to empower marginalized and disadvantaged communities through education, leadership development, and social justice. The foundation also wants the mosque to serve tourists and Muslims working in the area.
The Trocadero: A Historic Landmark with a Rich History
The Trocadero is not just any building. It is a historic landmark with a rich history as an entertainment complex and cultural attraction. The building was constructed in 1896 as a restaurant and exhibition space. Over the years, it hosted various events and shows, such as music concerts, circus performances, and film screenings.
In recent decades, the Trocadero became known for its arcade-style attractions, such as video games, laser tag, and virtual reality. It also housed the UK’s first IMAX cinema and was noted for its commercial sponsorship. However, in 2006, the Metro Cinema closed down, leaving a gap in the building that Aziz plans to fill with the mosque.
The Trocadero Mosque is expected to be inaugurated within a few months. It will be a unique addition to the landscape of London, reflecting its diversity and dynamism. It will also be a testament to Aziz’s vision of building bridges between different communities and promoting peace and harmony.