In 1992, several local Muslim families recognized the need for another Islamic institution to serve the ever-expanding Muslim community and to provide services to the non-Arabic speaking Muslims. The group started meeting at the meeting room of Masonville Mall to plan and map the road for the new organization, which was named the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario. Early congregation gatherings were held at the auditorium of Fanshawe Collage until the Centre property was purchased.
On May 31, 1993 members of the group formed the founding board of directors that served from 1993 until the incorporation of the Centre in 1994. The Founding Board consisted of Yahya Emara (President) , Mohamad Sabawi (V. President) Hisham Slim (Treasurer), Hanny Hassan (English Secretary), Kadri Mostafa (Arabic Secretary) and Najet Hassan, Hanny Shousher, Hanny Shafey, Ilbert Walker, Naeem Qureshi, Saeed Sabawi, Abdul Aziz Alaeddine, Esma Mazreki as Directors. Two additional members, namely Zafar Hussain and Assem Fadel, were later added to the Founding Board.
During this period, Yehya Emara, Hanny Shousher, and Hisham Slim successively occupied the position of President and chairman of the founding board.
Early in 1994 brother Hanny Shousher was assigned the task of locating the right property in London to establish the Centre, and found an empty commercial building for sale that was the former General Motor’s office and training centre. The site was ideal. It had paved parking for 130 cars, and all the necessary facilities such as operational heating and air conditioning system, men and women washrooms and individual offices ideal for classrooms.
The property was expensive but ideal. The founding board was not united to make an offer to purchase. Brother Kadri Mostafa worked hard and tirelessly to convince the board and to solicit community support. Without his enthusiasm and zeal the purchase would not have been made. He was truly the father of the building project and the prime mover behind owning our Centre.
Since the Centre was not incorporated at that time, brothers Hanny Shousher and Hisham Slim together signed the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, thereby taking total financial and legal responsibility for the property. The offer made was significantly lower than the property was listed for but with the help of Allah (SWT) and the kindness of General Motors’ management; the offer was accepted even though the realtor did not believe it was possible.
During the process of negotiating this deal, Brother Hanny received a personal call from the President of GM Canada. She was impressed with the group’s goals to improve services to vulnerable Muslim youth while providing another important community Centre for the community. Further, she was awed by the fact that eight local families raised the money to pay for the property themselves, rather than seeking government or other outside funding. The offer was then accepted, and many volunteers stepped up to renovate the property to better serve the community.
Brother Hisham Slim and Brother Hanny Shousher held the property in trust until The Islamic Centre was incorporated and registered as a charitable religious institution. By that time, the loans were paid off by donations from the generous members of the Muslim community, who continue to support the Centre and its programs to this day.
A special thank you to all of those who – through their kind donations and volunteering of their time and skills – have allowed The Islamic Centre to thrive. May Allah (SWT) reward and bless you all.
The community was very supportive of the building purchase and many members came forward with generous donations and loans. To facilitate the purchase of The Islamic Centre from General Motors in 1994, immediate full payment of the purchase price was required. Eight of the thirteen founding board members and their spouses made the bold and courageous commitment to obtain personal loans to cover the balance of the purchase price. The Islamic Centre wishes to acknowledge the sacrifice and tireless efforts of the Founding Families. More importantly they have contributed immensely to the success of The Centre and many are still very active today.
Assem & Annesa Fadel Naeem & Brenda Qureshi
Hanny & Najet Hassan Dr. Hany & Dr Naema Shafey
Dr. Zafar & Inge Hussain Hanny & Fadia Shousher
Gani & Esma Mazreki Hisham & Ayesha Slim
Dr. Munir El Kassem
Since his arrival in Canada in 1976, Dr. El-Kassem has been very actively involved in sharing his Islamic knowledge with Muslims as well as non-Muslims (Islamic Da’wa). He has also participated in interfaith dialogue throughout the world and appeared on numerous radio and T.V. programs. His audio and videotapes on various Islamic issues have been widely distributed. He is the author of many Islamic books. He is an honorary member of The Institute for Middle East Studies, Canada (IMESC) at Kings University College, which is an affiliate of Western University in London, Ontario. Dr. El-Kassem is the recipient of the Golden Jubilee Award, Diamond Jubilee Award, and the Outstanding Achievement Award for Volunteerism in Ontario. Dr. El-Kassem is one of the key members of the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario. His contributions over the years as the Imam, providing Sunday Lectures, working with Youth and his ongoing support is essential to the existence of our Islamic Centre. He is married and blessed with five daughters and one son.
Dr. Imam Hamid Slimi
Dr. Hamid Slimi is a Canadian Imam and Scholar who started as a young Imam with the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario. He is a Community developer and a religious Islamic leader in Canada. He has been serving as an Imam, Chaplain, Lecturer, Counsellor and Educator in different Mosques, Islamic Centres and Educational Institutions in Canada for over 13 years. He is currently the Chairman of the Canadian Council of Imams, member of the Fiqh Council and several Federal and Provincial Multi-Faith councils. He is also the founder and executive director of the Faith of Life Network, the Imam and resident scholar of Sayeda Khadija Centre in the Greater Toronto Area, lecturer at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, a host and producer of Faith of Life TV shows and documentaries as well as the publisher of Faith of Life Magazine.
Dr. Hamid Slimi is specialized in Islamic studies and Law as well as Comparative World Religions. He holds two Masters degrees with High Honours in Islamic Sciences and Comparative Religion from Morocco and the United States of America respectively and has also earned his Ph.D. in Islamic Law/Jurisprudence from the United Kingdom.
HISTORY OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Founding Board of Directors served from 1993 until incorporation in 1994. In 1996 the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario was registered as a charity. From that date until today, a number of community members volunteered to serve on the board in various positions and responsibilities. Their tireless efforts and dedication made the Centre what it is today. We thank each and everyone one of them for his/her valued contributions.
|Hisham Slim||1993 – 2000|
|Faisal Joseph||2001 – 2004|
|Mohammad Yasine||2006 – 2009|
|Hassan Mostafa||2010 – 2012|
|Hassan Mostafa||2014 – 2016|
|Shaffiek Abdool||Sally Abdool|
|Basel Abukhater||Ghina Al Suwaidi|
|Ishraq Ali||Razia Ali-Hassan|
|Abdallah Baroudi||Parveen Basharat|
|Wafa Daoud||Wajdi Darwish|
|Majda Delic||Munir El Kassim|
|Siham El Kassim||Mohammad Elsayed|
|Assem Fadel||Adeel Farouqui|
|Atiq Farouqui||Ashraf Ghani|
|Jaafer Haider||Najat Hassan|
|Salma Hijazi||Ashfaq Hussain|
|Rifat Hussain||Surraya Hussain|
|Sherin Hussain||Zafar Hussain|
|Mahmoud Idris||Faisal Joseph|
|Isaf Khalil||Mohamad Mankal|
|Naji Mankal||Yusuf Mankal|
|Esma Mazreki||Barakat Misk|
|Naseem Moothwani||Fatma Mostafa|
|Hassan Mostafa||Aziz Qaraan|
|Naeem Qureshi||Zahid Sardar|
|Hany Shafey||Fadia Shousher|
|Hanny Shousher||Tarek Shousher|
|Hisham Slim||Ilbert Walker|