It is located in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris and is one of the largest masjids in France. The masjid was founded in 1926 as a token of gratitude, after World War I, to the Muslim tirailleurs from France’s colonial empire, of whom some 100,000 died fighting against Germany. The masjid was built following the mudéjar style, and its minaret is 33 meters high. It was inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue on 15 July 1926. Ahmad al-Alawi (1869–1934) led the first communal prayer to inaugurate the newly built masjid in the presence of the French president. He was an Algerian Sufi, founder of the modern Sufi order Darqawiyya Alawiyya, a branch of the Shadhiliyya whose original founder is a Moroccan Sufi.
During World War II (when France and Paris were occupied by Nazi Germany), the rector Si Kaddour Benghabrit managed the masjid to serve as a secret refuge for Algerian and European Jews. He ensured they were provided shelter, safe passage, and fake Muslim birth certificates to protect them from German persecution.
Initially sponsored by the king of Morocco, the masjid was assigned to Algeria in 1957 by the French Foreign Minister. The masjid is currently led by mufti Dalil Boubakeur.