Announcement from the Lewisham Islamic Centre
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun. To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.
Our Founder and Former Trustee Dr Sabiha Saleem returned to Allah Almighty on Tuesday the 3rd of October 2023.
Dr Saleem was instrumental in founding & setting-up Lewisham & Kent Islamic Centre as it was serving the needs of Muslims in Lewisham & Kent. As Mosques started to be established in Kent the focus became Lewisham and thus, the current name, Lewisham Islamic Centre (LIC).
Dr Saleem was an inspirational leader, teacher, mother, wife, grandmother and along with Dr Hafiz Ijaz Mian (former Imam at LIC) were instrumental in establishing the Foundations of the Muslim Community in Lewisham & South London.
From the Muslim News archive
In the 1940s, when India was going through turmoil with the independence movement, Sabhiha Saleem persuaded her parents to let her go to Hyderabad city to study for her pre-med before entering the prestigious Osmania Medical School. After qualifying 5 years later, she went on to set up her own clinic, fast gaining a reputation as one of the city’s prominent young Muslim women doctors.
Dr Saleem then made the brave move to Manhattan, New York, working as a doctor for 3 years before coming to London in 1960, where she met her husband. In the next two decades they established three GP practices in deprived areas of south London, had four children and hosted Friday prayers and Arabic classes for the growing Muslim community in South London.
By the late 1970s, recognising the dire need for a permanent building and Islamic community centre, they began the laborious process of fundraising for and purchasing a large house on Brownhill Road, Catford, that was to become the first premises for the Lewisham & Kent Islamic Centre. Dr Saleem is the first Muslim woman to have been prominent in funding and establishing a mosque in the UK
She ran an Islamic studies/Arabic language Sunday school in Downham, South London, from the late 70s for over thirty years. She supervised her team of volunteer teachers and dozens of children came every week to learn. 87 year old. Dr Saleem remains a trustee of the now thriving Lewisham & Kent Islamic Centre. After she retired, well into her seventies, she was nominated for an OBE for her services to the community. Dr Sabiha was awarded The Editor’s Lifetime Achievement Award by Ahmed Versi, Editor of the Muslim News in 1018. click here.