Abu Salaam, born in East Pakistan in 1955, came to the UK at the age of 13 with his mother and brother to join their father in East London.
Abu Salaam was born in Sylhet, East Pakistan Bangladesh in 1955. In 1969, aged 13/14 he came with his mother and brother to join his father, already living in the UK in Princelet Street off Brick Lane. It was a period when the National Front were active and racial attacks were common. In order to defend themselves, and after the murder of Altab Ali, Salaam and his friends learnt kung fu. They set up the Progressive Youth Organisation and joined with others to fight the National Front on Brick Lane. Once, in a scuffle with a gang of white racists, he mistakenly attacked a plain clothes police officer. He was eventually let off after a vigorous defence on the basis that the police officer had not shown his identity card.
Because of the racial violence Salaam rarely went to school so, at an early age, started to work in the clothing industry. His mother and younger brother went back to Sylhet as his mother was not happy in the UK.