A tribute to our Chair, the late Abdul Karim Sheikh
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of the Green Street Masjid chair, Abdul Karim Sheikh BEM, on Sunday April 12, 2020, after contracting COVID-19. Mr Sheikh was 82 and, until he fell ill, he had been a daily visitor to the mosque for morning prayers.
Mr Sheikh was one the founding members of the Green Street Masjid almost 50 years ago and had long served as chairman of NNIA. His role was crucial in the smooth running of our organisation.
He was well-known and greatly respected in the borough and dedicated his life to the community and to the mosque.
Those that knew him described Mr Sheikh as “a true gentleman”, a “wise and fair leader”, “a man with a down-to-earth personality”, “approachable” and someone who “always aimed to seek peaceful solutions”.
Councillor Zulifar Ali, a Green Street Masjid committee member and a close friend of Mr Sheikh, credited him as “paving the way over 40 years to creating a borough of peace and harmony”.
He added: “He was a pioneer in community activism and helped open pathways for greater representation of all communities in Newham Council.
“His death is deeply mourned by thousands of residents in Newham.”
Mr Sheikh’s sons, Saleem and Naeem, described their father as “an amazing man”. They added: “As a father and a grandfather, he was the heart and soul of the family and kept everyone glued together. He was a true gentleman.”
An esteemed career
It was in 1967 that Mr Sheikh came to Britain from Pakistan with his family and several years later settled in Newham. He worked as a quality controller for the Ford Motor Company, staying for more than two decades.
His accolades include serving as a Labour Party councillor and acting as ceremonial mayor in 1998. He left Labour in protest over the 2003 Iraq War but went on to represent the Respect Party.
At community level, Mr Sheikh was a leading advocate of multiculturalism and worked hard to improve relationships between believers of different faiths. He was chair of the Newham Council for Racial Equality and served on the Newham Voluntary Agencies Council and the Green Street Single Regeneration Board.
His service was recognised with a British Empire Medal in 1990.
Many local people and leaders offered tribute to Mr Sheikh in an articles published in the
We wish his family our heartfelt sympathies from all at the Green Street Masjid.