In the 1970s Muslims in Exeter offered their daily prayers in their homes. The majority of Muslims who first moved to Exeter were involved in the restaurant trade. On special occasions such as Eid, they would invite the Muslim community to celebrate together at their restaurants.
In the mid-1970s, Exeter university students from around the Muslim world came together and started organising communal prayers and events. They started by hiring the university hall for Friday prayer and as the numbers increased, the Muslim community recognised the need for a permanent space where they could pray together and socialise. In light of this a meeting was organised, first attended by 17 people, both Exeter University students and local businessmen.
Exeter’s Muslim community was very fortunate to have had such dedicated, industrious members who worked extremely hard to raise funds for a dedicated place for community events and regular prayers.
On the 1st December 1976, they purchased no. 15 York Road.
As the number of attendees increased from 80 to 120, more fundraising took place and no. 14 York Road was also purchased. The fundraising did not stop there; the numbers continued to grow and so did the need for more space, and so the community was able to purchase land from the school next door and in 2011 managed to complete the South West’s first purpose-built mosque. The building you see standing today.
There are now over 2000 Muslims in the city, of all ages, races, professions and personalities.