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Friday 14th August 2020
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Friday, July 3rd, 2020

The Aziz Foundation has recently applied for a prayer space in the Trocadero, which is owned by Asif Aziz, the philanthropist behind the Aziz Foundation.

The Aziz Foundation explained that the application for a prayer space was submitted after constantly being reminded of the lack of a prayer space for Muslims in the Piccadilly area. ‘Asif has regularly seen people praying in the street and is aware that there is no prayer space for females and he felt that he could help by dedicating a small part of the Trocadero for prayer’. The proposal is to allocate 1.5% of the total space of the Trocadero to the prayer space.

The Trocadero is one of the most famous and recognisable buildings in the Piccadilly area. Built in 1896 it has most recently been used as an entertainment, cinema and shopping complex and  is now currently been redesigned as a hotel. The proposal for the prayer space is to refurbish a part of an unused basement into an open space area that can be used for prayer. To accommodate people of other faiths the proposal also includes space for a quiet room.

There are over a million Muslims in London according to the 2011 census and many work in Central London where there are very few spaces for prayer. The nearest prayer spaces are at Goodge Street and Soho (which does not include space for women). The proposal is for the prayer space to be open from 10am to 7pm and the expectation is that there will be about 100 people using the prayer space on a daily basis with up to nine hundred coming in for Friday prayers.

There has been an online campaign against the application, with some assuming that the whole of the Trocadero is about to become a mosque. However, this is not correct as the hotel has already opened. Many have also complained that this will change the English character of the area though the application is for a part of the basement. However critics may do well to look up the history of Piccadilly and Leicester Square which may not previously have had a mosque but one of its most famous and central buildings in the nineteenth century was the Royal Panoptican of Science and Art which was built in 1854 and had two minarets!

With thanks to www.muslimhistorytours.com for the reference

There are no requests to build minarets as part of this application, it is instead a request for a quiet place to pray for the many Muslims who work locally in the area or who are visiting as tourists.

To find out more about the project, visit: http://azizfoundation.org.uk/piccadillyprayerspace/

And you can support the prayer space by signing the following petition:

https://www.change.org/p/westminster-city-council-support-a-prayer-space-and-community-centre-in-the-basement-of-piccadilly-s-trocadero

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