The origins of the SIIL family of businesses run as deep and wide as the shifting sands of the Arabian desert. The company was founded as ‘Salam Studios’ by Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa, a photographer and aspiring businessman who at a very early age left his birthplace in Palestine to seek better opportunities in the Arabian Gulf.
Arriving to work on the oilfields outside Doha, Qatar in 1947, Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa brought with him one of the first cameras ever seen in the country. More importantly, he also carried with him an ingrained talent for capturing the essence of the land and the personality of its people on film in a unique and innovative way.
At the time photography was an entirely new concept in Qatar and his photographs attracted the imagination of Qataris to the highest levels. Legend has it this interested extended the then-Emir himself, HH Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, who commissioned Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa take a series of portraits of the royal family and allowed him free reign to photograph much of the country.
The commercial history of Salam as an organization dates back to 1952 when Abdul Salam Abu Issa opened ‘Salam Studio’, the first photographic studio and film processing laboratory in Doha. In 1954, he then converted the adjoining restaurant into a gift shop, renaming the combined establishment, ‘Salam Studio & Stores’.
From there the business flourished, expanding and evolving into the successful company we see today – Salam International Investment Limited (SIIL). While a thriving and progressive multinational corporation, the company has never forgotten its humble origins, forged as a family business, one built on the passion, integrity and old-fashioned hard work of Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa and the generations to follow.