BuildingAll praise is due to Allah and may His peace and blessings be on the Prophet Mohammed, His household and followers.  Ameen.

It all started Ramadan – 2007, the campaign to get a new model centre started. A  place that was as much a centre for all the community as well as a masjid. A place where Islam can be seen in its true light as a religion that cares about all people, teaches kindness to neighbours, and is socially responsible. A practical antidote to the negativity that is all too prevalent in the UK at present.

Right from the beginning there were some serious challenges, but then no one said it was going to be easy! A potential building had been found, the old labour party headquarters in the St Judes area, a mere ten minute walk from the city centre. However, the asking price was £410,000 and it had to be raised in a matter of months! It was one of the last suitable structures left in a fast growing and changing city.  Some donations had been collected from a trip to Kuwait, and there was promise of match funding. If the community could find half the funds, a brother in Saudi would provide the other half. The Plymouth Muslim community is neither large, nor wealthy, mostly refugees, asylum seekers and restaurant workers – raising the money from Plymouth alone was never going to be an option! Expert guidance and advice was needed, and so the PIETY committee turned to the newly formed Green and Chambers Consultants. Yusuf Chambers had spent years in the Muslim community helping raise funds for numerous projects and had decided to join hands with his long-time friend Abdurraheem Green to give the whole process a more professional edge and support projects that they really believed could advance Islam and the image of Muslims here in the UK. The PIETY project fitted the bill exactly. The members of PIETY had already been working for years in and amongst the wider community, building excellent relationships with their outreach and social work. The local authorities in the area had been encouraging people to open a centre from which they could operate more effectively. Although Plymouth had a terraced house mosque, the city was in need of something more inclusive with longer opening ours and a wider range of services.

It was not until after Ramadan 2007 that the appeal to support the project began. One might have imagined that with Ramadan over “donation fatigue” would have hit the Muslim community, but through the help of Allah, the generosity and good nature of the Muslim community and some prompting via a series of innovative activities including TV adverts with Green and Chambers, the result was phenomenal. £120,000 donations were raised in three weeks, as well as Qardul Hassana (loans) of £130,000. Anonymous brother from Saudi donated £130,000 and later undertook the whole renovation work.

From the outset the directors of PIETY made every effort to get the local community on board. There were meetings with neighbours, the Police, the council and community leaders to gather support. In the meantime the BNP had selected the PIETY centre as a target for their bigotry, and began scare mongering with videos and leafleting the area. Thank Allah, contracts were exchanged in mid-February and the building became the property of the Plymouth Islamic Education Trust. The daily prayers were established in the area designated for the masjid and neighbourhood meetings were held in the centre attended by both Muslims and non-Muslims.