Our Founding Chairman
With profound sorrow we announce the demise of our founding chairman, Mohamed Munir Diwan. He passed away on 16th September 2016 whilst he was on a visit to Kenya to oversee Muslim Care’s projects in furtherance of his commitments as chairman of Muslim Care.
He was born in Nairobi, Kenya to his parents Mohammad Bashir Diwan and Aziz Bibi on 29th December 1943. He has left behind his siblings – five brothers, two sisters, his wife, two daughters, a son, two granddaughters and a grandson as his survivors.
Following his education in Nairobi, Munir commenced his first job with a car retail agency in Nairobi called “Marshalls” specialising in Peugeot cars which were- and still are- a very popular brand in Kenya.
However, after a few months he chose to work for Kenya Police in their administration department. There he achieved amazing popularity amongst his work colleagues by virtue of his hard work and sporting talents, his favourites being cricket and squash. His popularity soon reached the top ranks – even the police commissioner enjoyed playing squash with Munir. However, he did not stop there; after working for a few years in the police he set up his own successful business selling African wood carvings, handbags and various other Kenyan souvenirs. As he was succeeding in his business aspirations, in 1964 Kenya got its independence from Britain and under the new Africanisation policies non-Kenyans had to leave the country.
Munir came to the United Kingdom to settle. Shortly upon arrival in London, he opened a small African handicrafts retail unit in an indoor market in London’s Marble Arch. Apart from handicrafts he would also sell ladies belts at the Sunday market in Petticoat Lane, East London. It was a very tough and hard life for young Munir, fortunately things changed for him and the family, when by a mere coincidence, he saw a niche market in demand for embroidered motifs (patches).
He started importing the motifs from the USA and sold to wholesalers and other retailers in the United Kingdom trading as Diwan Enterprises Limited with the brand name “Patchit”. This business was set up as a small wholesale business with his father and brothers in Brick Lane. Very soon, the business grew rapidly with exports to Europe helping him to acquire larger premises nearby where he started a screen printing factory. That too was a very successful venture. Eventually he sold his East London setup and moved to Park Royal, West London to a large premises. But, as trends changed he evolved his line of business and converted his building in Park Royal from a wholesale setup to a business centre which is now being looked after by his daughter Alvia and son Tayab.
Munir loved travelling. Amongst his travels was a safari trip with friends on a converted truck from Johannesburg to Nairobi by road which took 30 days. Munir often reminisced about this safari and considered this to be his most memorable journey.
Apart from his business talents, he had a penchant for charitable works; helping the needy and underprivileged people of the community. In pursuit of his charitable activities, in 1992, he founded a small charity with some likeminded friends and named it Muslim Care. The friends who joined him in the charity proposed that Munir become the first Chairman of Muslim Care.
On his part, Munir accepted the chairmanship as a challenge as he had a passion and pride for this charity. Many times he requested his fellow trustees that he wanted to take a backseat and that someone else should take over from him, but always the trustees would not entertain his request as his contribution to Muslim Care dictated that he was the perfect person for this position.
He took the small charity to a high level transforming it into an incorporated charitable organisation status, which is commonly referred to as CIO in charity legislation.
Munir not only commanded respect amongst his fellow trustees but it also became a fact that he was Muslim Care and Muslim Care was him; always ready and willing to take foreign trips to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Kenya at his own cost to monitor the projects Muslim Care was engaged in, in those countries.
We all pray that Munir be rewarded by Almighty Allah for his noble and charitable deeds. All at Muslim Care miss him dearly. May Allah bless his soul!