In a bold move towards promoting religious diversity and inclusivity, Asif Aziz, a prominent Muslim billionaire known as ‘Mr West End,’ is set to build a stunning three-storey mosque in the heart of London’s vibrant entertainment district. The mosque, established within the iconic Trocadero complex, aims to create a spiritual sanctuary for Muslims in the area while fostering understanding. With its location between Piccadilly Circus and Soho, the mosque’s construction marks an important milestone in promoting unity amidst a diverse cultural backdrop.
Previous plans for a larger mosque on the site faced opposition and were eventually withdrawn in 2020 due to backlash from residents and far-right groups. However, in May 2023, Westminster Council approved a modified planning application for a smaller development, signaling a step forward in realizing Aziz’s vision for the Trocadero mosque.
Welcoming Place of Worship
The Trocadero mosque, also possibly known as the ‘Piccadilly Prayer Space,’ will be a three-storey house of prayer and an Islamic center. With a capacity of 390 worshippers, the mosque will fill the void left by the closure of the Metro cinema in 2006. Asif Aziz, through his charitable organization, the Aziz Foundation, is spearheading this project, emphasizing the need for a place of worship that serves the local Muslim community, as well as tourists visiting the area.
Promoting Multifaith Conversation
While some critics have raised concerns about the juxtaposition of a mosque amidst bars, nightclubs, and Soho’s LGBTQ+ venues, Aziz’s vision extends beyond the boundaries of religious segregation. By locating the mosque in such a diverse neighborhood, he hopes to facilitate dialogue and understanding between different faiths and cultures. Rather than isolating itself, the mosque seeks to engage with the vibrant community surrounding it.
The Trocadero, a cherished landmark of central London, holds a rich history as an entertainment complex. Constructed in 1896, it has undergone various transformations throughout the years, serving as a restaurant, exhibition space, and arcade-style attraction center. In recent decades, it became home to the UK’s first 3D IMAX cinema and witnessed the ebb and flow of commercial sponsorships. As the Trocadero evolves once more, it signifies a shift towards a more diverse and inclusive future.
A Philanthropic Visionary
Asif Aziz, a Malawian-born property tycoon, has established himself as a philanthropic visionary with a property portfolio valued at over £2 billion. In 2005, he acquired the Trocadero for more than £220 million, displaying his commitment to preserving historical landmarks and revitalizing them for the benefit of the community. Through the Aziz Foundation, Aziz’s charitable arm, he endeavors to bridge societal gaps and create spaces that promote understanding and harmony.
The construction of the Trocadero mosque in London’s entertainment district is a testament to the progressive ideals of religious diversity and inclusivity. Asif Aziz’s commitment to fostering interfaith exchange and providing a place of worship for Muslims in the area highlights the importance of unity in a multicultural society. By embracing the Trocadero’s vibrant history and transforming it into a center of spiritual solace, Aziz aims to create a legacy of harmony that resonates with all visitors, regardless of their background or beliefs.