Asif Aziz, a Muslim billionaire, has been granted permission to transform the iconic London landmark Trocadero into a mosque.
Aziz acquired the Trocadero in 2005 for over £220 million ($363 million). The project is believed to be initiated through his charitable organization, the Aziz Foundation, and will have a capacity of 390 people.
The mosque will possibly be named the ‘Piccadilly Prayer Space.’ and might open in just a few months.
According to the Aziz Foundation’s official statement, vacant space in the basement will be used as a mosque. The Muslims working nearby will thus be able to offer prayers in the area.
However, some critics have raised concerns about its location in an area known for alcohol-serving bars, nightclubs, and Soho’s establishments, which go against Islamic beliefs.
The Aziz Foundation, responsible for the project, has stated that the mosque aims to serve both Muslim workers in the area and tourists visiting London. Once completed, the mosque will have the capacity to accommodate 390 worshippers.
Notably, previous proposals for a larger 1,000-capacity mosque on the site were withdrawn in 2020 due to opposition from residents and far-right groups.
Nevertheless, a planning application for the current smaller development was approved by Westminster Council at the end of May.
Users on Twitter have given mixed reviews to the news, with some calling it a gracious step while some pointing out issues with the plan.
The Aziz Foundation has officially replied to the hate the news has received and has urged the media to highlight the positive initiative by Muslims to tackle the growing Islamophobia in the world.
It is worth noting that the Foundation provides scholarship opportunities along with internships to Muslim students to nurture growth and confidence.