A proposal to establish a mosque in London’s Piccadilly Circus area has led to a heated debate with a flood of objections, as well as support, on Westminster Council’s website.
So far over 5,000 comments have been made about the plan with over 3,000 supporting it and 2,000 opposing it.
The Aziz Foundation submitted a planning application to Westminster Council for a prayer space/mosque in London’s iconic Trocadero building, which is owned by its multi-millionaire founder Asif Aziz.
The space will use a small part of the basement of the Trocadero and will be open between 11am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, the Aziz Foundation said.
“Located at the centre of one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, which attracts tourists from across the globe, the Piccadilly prayer space will cater to the needs of those Muslims in the area, in a similar way to prayer spaces at Selfridges, Westfields and Heathrow Airport,” said the foundation.
“The prayer space will take up less than 1.5% of the total space of the Trocadero, a unique building that comprises shops, restaurants, nightclubs and the recently opened 740 bed Zedwell Hotel, and soon to open London’s largest rooftop bar with the capacity for 1,200 people…
“The Piccadilly Mosque will be a great addition to the area, adding diversity as well as boosting it economically. It will provide an indispensable service for the thousands of Muslim workers, visitors and residents who need to pray and cannot find facilities in the area. Regular prayer is very much part and parcel of a Muslim’s life…
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“By turning an unused space in the basement of the Trocadero into a prayer facility, we very much hope that the Piccadilly Mosque becomes a symbol of London’s diversity and inclusion, and demonstrate that different communities can live, work and contemplate together in harmony.”
But many objectors on the council’s website have complained about the disruption a mosque could cause the area, while others have taken one a clear right-wing tone.
A number of objectors added that the presence of large numbers of Muslims in the area may make LGBT people living and socialising in nearby Soho uncomfortable.
One objector said: “May I first suggest this area of London is already over crowded. How will tubes and buses managed the hundreds or thousands of extra people especially on Fridays and Saturday prayer time or at any other prayer time. Not to mention the cars… How will the hundreds of extra people be managed on top of normal visitor attraction of Piccadilly?
“I lived around a mosque in Southfields for over 28 years and the amount of traffic it had caused over the years of expansion during the years of living around the mosque, which has left us to move to another part of SW London which is not close to a mosque or church… In Morden where my family live the mosque is large and loud sounding out prayers throughout…. Noise issue. Also an increase of waste collections and deliveries as well as the increase of celebrations. These are to just name a few points of why the mosque should not be allowed.”
Another objector said: “It is clear for all to see that the Muslim community will seek to impose itself on all aspects of the native culture and will never yield to anything that does not further the fundamentalist political aspirations of Islam.
“The writing is on the wall and as sure as night follows day, you can bet your bottom dollar allowing this wholly unwelcome intrusion on the native population will only exasperate the problem of Islam. It simply has no place in the West, as the orchestrated ‘support’ comments allude to.
“This is yet another assault on your nation by stealth and subversion. Please do not be fooled, we’ve had more than enough bloodshed and rape in this country thanks to cow-towing to the endless demands of the Muslim community.”
Another objector said: “I hope by now it is self-evident in this comments thread, that the Muslim community has NO RESPECT for the very legitimate concerns of the residents of Piccadilly.
“Can you imagine literally any other demographic to continue to press ahead with its objective in the face of such vocal and legitimate opposition? Do you think a Church, Synagogue or Seek temple would persist with a similar application (not that any other community would be so deliberately provocative) in the face of such local opposition?
“This is merely a taste of what will follow should this unwelcome, foreign display of dominance be imposed on British Citizens. Given it’s DISGUSTING track record, you would think one would be as silent as possible about belonging to this obnoxious, perverted, insidious cult, but as we can see from the incessant spamming in the ‘support’ comments, the Muslim community has no sense of decency or respect.
“What more evidence do we need that Islam has no place in the west? It seems the only people who haven’t realized this yet are in the Westminster bubble.”
On the other hand, the plan has received solid support too.
One supporter said: “Premises urgently required for worship and social use for the community. Lack of space for worship in the Westminster area. Premises has been vacant for long time and getting wasted due to Disuse. It will help community population young and old to benefit from it. I totally support the application to acquire it by the community for its use and would raise their morale in doing so it is going to be used in a constructive peaceful way and would benefit community at large as well.”
Another supporter said: “Please ignore the far right objectors. This mosque is necessary and will improve the local area. There is no mosque nearby. I think it would be beneficial to the Muslim community to have a place of worship in the centre of the city. One of the benefits could be more Muslim tourists are attracted to the UK and the city centre.
“As a judicial office holder I always find it difficult to find a place to worship in the centre of the city and this would be a welcome addition. In my view as a society we need to understand each other’s faiths to be able to better humans. And this is an ideal opportunity for people from different faiths to interact with each other, to learn about the Muslim faith.
“And of course it will be beneficial for the Muslim community to be able to pray in the centre of the city. I believe it would also be beneficial to community cohesion.”
Another supporter said: “As there’s an urgent need for a place of worship for various communities that work in this area local visitors and tourists it’s time to allow this application to go through because people are having to pray on the streets under stairways and it doesn’t look right for a country that tolerates all faiths. Therefore by allowing this application you will bring joy and happiness to a lot people. Many thanks.”
The consultation will end on Thursday but if you want to leave a comment you may do so here. A decision is expected later this year.