Trocadero, London © Wikimedia Commons

Muslim Billionaire Plans to Construct Mosque in London’s Entertainment District

To advance religious diversity and inclusiveness, a Muslim billionaire plans to construct a three-story mosque in a bustling entertainment district in the heart of London.

After years of opposition from local residents and far-right groups, the billionaire, Asif Aziz, recently won permission from city authorities to build the mosque in London’s historic Trocadero complex, located between Piccadilly Circus and Soho.

The 56-year-old billionaire, who is originally from Malawi and is sometimes referred to as “Mr. West End,” plans to call the mosque “Piccadilly Prayer Space.”

It will feature a baroque facade, is intended to offer a tranquil and sacred environment for local Muslims. The billionaire’s philanthropic organization, the Aziz Foundation, also hopes the mosque will attract tourists visiting London.

Despite certain critics expressing concerns about the placement of a mosque amid bars, nightclubs, and LGBTQ+ venues in Soho, Aziz seeks to engage with the vibrant community surrounding it.

Initially launched as a restaurant in 1896, in 1984, the was transformed into an exhibition and entertainment venue. Following its 2011 downsizing, it reopened as a hotel in 2020. Aziz’s real estate company, Criterion Capital, acquired ownership of the Trocadero for around $363 million (over £220 million) in 2005.

Aziz initially applied to construct a mosque with a capacity of 1,000 people. However, due to opposition, he modified the plans.

In May, the planning committee of the Westminster Council gave its consent for the construction of a three-story mosque designed to accommodate 390 worshippers.