Talk of improvements

mosqueHelen Ball speaking at the South Woodford Islamic Centre

Qaiser Malik updates on recent improvements, activities and talks at the South Woodford Islamic Centre, which is planning an official opening for the wider community before the end of the year

South Woodford Islamic Centre (SWIC), which had an informal reopening in April (during the Holy Month of Ramadan), is gradually progressing towards completion of its interior works. The flooring has been laid in the community hall on the lower ground floor and a lift has been installed, which brings a smile to elderly faces like mine. Additional floor tiles, manufactured in Spain, have arrived and are being installed, and the special external and internal doors being crafted should be in place soon. Once all this is complete, we’ll be inviting the community along for an official opening. 

Recently, our generous congregation raised over £15,000 for victims of the Pakistan floods and a further £7,000 for victims of the Bangladesh floods. In addition, the congregation raised over £3,500 for victims of the Afghanistan earthquake. SWIC trustees later attended a fundraising event at Ilford Town Hall and pledged £10,000 for the Redbridge Stands With Pakistan appeal. SWIC has also donated to local charities such as the Redbridge Night Shelter, Haven House and Whipps Cross Hospital. These are just some of the wonderful examples of the SWIC spirit of altruism.

SWIC not only cares about the spiritual and emotional health of its congregation and community but also about their physical well-being. So, we started some outdoor activities, which include organised monthly hikes on Sunday mornings that have been thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended. Another activity is our cycling club for over-16s, which has seen young and old enjoy scenic rides.

In September, the trustees welcomed Helen Ball, the Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and a long-standing friend of SWIC (and especially Dr Fahim through his work in advising the Met on religious matters). The event was also attended by several local councillors, leaders of other faiths and many members of the congregation. Helen gave a presentation about policing in London and the current challenges and criticisms it is facing. She also held a Q&A session and addressed many national and local concerns about crime and the police. Dr Fahim presented Helen with a copy of his latest book, Confused Muslims.Qom, in which she is mentioned. 

The Muslim community deeply felt the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, who served the country with the highest integrity and set an example for the younger generation. It was a strange coincidence that the day she passed away, Dr Fahim received a letter from Buckingham Palace, thanking him for a letter sent to the Queen on the Platinum Jubilee on behalf of the SWIC community.

The South Woodford Islamic Centre is located at 10 Primrose Road, South Woodford, E18 1DD. For more information, visit swvg.co.uk/swic