To Assist, protect, preserve and enhance the religious, cultural and social values within the spirit of the Islamic Sharia, in association and cooperation with other organisations where relevant.To promote educational, cultural, social, sports and welfare work consistent with Islam for the Sri Lankan Community.
In the early 60’s, the Sri-Lankan Community in the UK was very small and life within the community was difficult. We found it hard to maintain our Islamic way of life and our Sri-Lankan culture. In the London area and suburbs, other than the Central Mosque in Baker Street and the Woking Mosque in Surrey. Mosques and halal food shops were few and far,
A few families got together and decided to form an association. Mrs Shums Cassim was the pioneering member of this first group of families. They all worked very hard to run this organisation. The first inaugural meeting was held at the Ceylon Student Centre at Hyde Park Gardens, W1 on Sunday 19th November 1972.
Committee Members: Messrs Sabir Ismail, M Ishak Thahir, M S M Farook, M N Deen, H M Ilyas, M Hussain, A Mussawir, JM Nizar, SM Waheedudeen, A Sabthy Marikar, Mrs Shums Cassim and Mrs Zakiya Shariff.
The committee meetings were held at different families’ homes. It was difficult but we managed with the cooperation of many families. For many years we carried on with Qu’ranic classes in members’ houses and hired halls for SLIA activities. Soon we decided to collect money to buy our own building. Until this was possible, we struggled to collect money to purchase a building. We were also concerned with the welfare of our community back in Sri-Lanka and helped with charitable work there. Gradually, old properties in England were converted to Mosques, and Qu’ranic and religious classes were conducted for the growing Muslim Community in England.
In July 1993 we purchased a building in Hanwell, London W7, which functions now as our Headquarters. All small functions, meetings, Ramadan weekend break-fasts, Taraweeh prayers and Zikrs are held there.
The highlight of the SLIA was the Silver Jubilee Anniversary held in Brent Town Hall on Saturday 1st November 1997. A special souvenir was published and many heads of state and well-wishers gave articles to it. Among them were :
We also received well wishes from office bearers and trustees of the Silver Jubilee Committee. The Association is thankful to the many business organisations and businessmen in the UK and worldwide for their wholehearted support and contributions.
In the Silver Jubilee Anniversary Souvenir, the First President MTM Zahir stated in his message “We must use the talents of our younger generation to the advantage of the community. We need them to carry out the good work done in the first 25 years by their parents to be followed out in the next 25 years, so that the history of the SLIA (UK) and the community can be intertwined with its younger generation. The progress will depend on the quality of its future leaders.” Now is the time for the younger generation to take over the responsibility and look forward to the future.
The SLIA membership is growing and with over 400 families at present. It is one of the oldest and well established Sri-Lankan organisations in the UK, and also owns its own building. SLIA needs new ideas from its younger members and advice from the senior members in order to achieve our objectives. May Allah help SLIA and all its members to achieve its aims.