Cummings Lodge, Industry, and Ogle Community Group (CIO)
The Guyanese community in the Queens area has lost one of the most vibrant, dedicated and hardworking community personalities in recent years. Brother Salim, after a brief illness, passed quietly on December 6, 2021. He was 70. Br. Salim, a religious man in every syllable of the word, and a stalwart in the community had dedicated his entire life to service of his beloved brothers and sisters.
Hearts are indeed heavily burdened today, of the sad news that Br. Salim time has come to an end. The news was devastating, as many echoed ‘I can’t believe that he is gone’ but it is one we all have to bear, as we say a final farewell to a true stalwart and a championship who graced these parts with his presence. Br Salim was small in structure, but whenever he is your presence his stature looms large, a towering personality; one of hardworking, strength and decency, qualities that runs in every fiber of his being and that which punctuated his life with the willingness to do good.
Today, there is a tremendous void in our organization, The Cummings Lodge, Industry, and Ogle Community Group (CIO), and in all the various organizations which had Br. Salim’s fingerprint, and there is a deep feeling of hollowness that is felt in the hearts of many lives he has touched. His passing has not resonated as yet, as many are still in shock and disbelief.
Shocked; a word tossed around with thoughtless abandon these days, but the loss of Br. Salim is one that fully justifies such a description. One of the few zealous community members, consistent and particular, strong-headed but forgiving, courteous and humble who gave of himself unselfishly. Behind it all laid a tormented soul, one that was eternally restless if he was not at a community affair lending a hand in helping the poor and less fortunate, or putting his shoulders to the wheel in trying tirelessly to build a house of worship for his community without any thought oof one’s eligious affiliation. That was the goodness which coated the core of Br. Salim’s character. It is the irrevocable union which fused Gods children’s desire to serve mankind; one that has defined them and a pursuit that has consumed the construct of their lives with prose and purpose, from their early years.
His presence at every event was not a convenient of a ride; instead, it was the obligation of a proud and independent servant dedicated to his cause. His feet had wheels. He was the first to arrive and the last to leave but not before he ensured that everything was in order.
Brother Salim was full of life and a dedicated family man. He held his faith close, very close to his heart, and that is where he drew his strength and was guided solely by the sacred words of the scriptures. He had an ingrained sense of pure goodness in him. Yes, is an overused word in his vocabulary, even though, some of his endeavors were far beyond his reach, but he did not flinch. He was relentless in his pursuit, and at times, unwavering, he had the will and ultimately found a way. And he did so with such joy and selflessness as a community board 10 member, an executive at the mosque or as just a loving grandpa.
His efforts to mend a community that, at times, appeared fractured at its core were a monumental undertaking. Though, not free from flaws or imperfections, Br. Salim worked assiduously to heal the divide, and tirelessly to provide the ancillary effect that will ultimately bringing an entire community under one banner for the greater good of everyone regardless of color, class or religious persuasion.
His embrace was magnetic wherever he went, comforting, warm and accommodating, and oh, he never missed an opportunity with the microphone, how he love to sing. His presence exhumed a deep feeling of confidence that everything will be ok. Imam Safraz Bacchus of Al Abidin Mosque and Sheik Rafeek ,the principal of the Islamic School, were visibly moved in their poignant tribute of Br. Salim, while his childhood friend Imam Shafeek Ali put it quite simple ‘Br Salim was always kind and helpful from an early age who dedicated his life to serving Islam and his community.’ The dye has been cast and the baton passed to a new generation of progressive doers and thinkers in the community, that hopefully have been inspired by Br. Salim’s weary hands, to uphold his legacy.
Today, there is an abundance of admiration and appreciation for the tremendous work which Br. Salim has done to enhance this community, and the many more that is left to be completed. His shoe will be a difficult one to fill, a very difficult one. The next few days will be extremely difficult, but hopefully, it may bring a small measure of comfort to his family, Sister Pammy and their children, who will carry the pain daily and bear their burden silently not only at times of remembrance, but in endless quite moments that will often stretched on and on .
Today, like so many others, we hold Br. Salim’s memories close, but memories are often difficult to bear, especially for his loving family. We hope that the good ones often brighten their day. However, on this day where memories of Br. Salim flowed like oceans and his image dance in the eyes of many, a celebration of his life is but a small measure of our appreciation, and a quiet reminder that we must be tireless in our duty, and dua for those who have left us and bound to cherish those in our presence.
We will always keep Br. Salim in our prayers, and on days when memories seems too heavy to bear, we do hope that his family and the community will find comfort in the words of the Almighty and in the many joys that Br Salim has brought during his time.
On behalf of the executives, Sai Mohamed, Shameeza Jafaralli, Shireen Ali, Feroze Sattaur, Zarena Ali, and the entire membership of the Cummings Lodge, Industry and Ogle Community Group, we remain humbled for Br. Salim’s guidance and friendship over the years.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.