Property tycoon Asif Aziz has been granted permission to convert an iconic building in central London into a three-story mosque.
Westminster Council has approved a planning application submitted by a foundation owned by Aziz for the Islamic prayer center inside the Trocadero, a former exhibition and entertainment complex on Coventry Street.
The mosque will have capacity for 390 worshipers, down considerably from the 1,000-capacity initially proposed back in 2020, which was vehemently opposed by local residents.
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The facility is being founded through the Aziz Foundation, a charitable organization established by Malawian-born Aziz back in 2015. In a statement on Monday, the foundation said the center will “provide an indispensable place for the Muslims who work, visit, and live in the area and for whom prayer forms a cornerstone of their life.”
The historic landmark situated in the heart of London’s entertainment quarter was built during the reign of Queen Victoria, and has been used previously as a restaurant, a cinema and shopping complex, before being repurposed as an arcade and indoor theme park sponsored by Pepsi and Sega in the 1990s. Part of the building was refurbished and opened as a hotel in 2019.
Situated in the West End of London, the Trocadero is also within the vicinity of a number of nightclubs and gay bars. It was also home to the Trocadero Long Bar, which opened in 1896 and was a gentlemen-only establishment popular with gay men.
Famed influencer Andrew Tate, who has converted to Islam, has commented on the mosque, praising its construction.
The issue of mosques being built across Europe has been a contentious one, especially when many countries continue to tear down or convert their churches in unprecedented numbers.