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Opening of Ismaili Center in Lisbon on Imamat Day 1998
Fatimid times are here again! The Jamat in Portugal was very lucky indeed to be blessed by multiple glories, the opening of our third high profile Ismaili Center in Lisbon, and blessed by the presence of our beloved Mowlana Hazar Imam, couldn't have timed it better - on Imamat Day, shortly after the wonderful news of getting married to Begum Inaara.
Mubarak to everyone! I'll try my best to get as much information up as possible, after just returning from a wonderful vacation with my family, my computer is still down, I had to configure everything anew on Gafoor's (it's 1.30 a.m.)! A back-up is a good idea anyway!

I don't have the Darbar pictures as yet, but here is a feast for your eyes. Please don't forget to share your comments in my Guestbook.

Ya Ali Madad! May you be guided on Sirat-e Mustaqeem, Ameen!

Aga Khan opens Ismaili centre in Lisbon

9:01 a.m. Jul 11, 1998 Eastern By David Brough

LISBON, July 11 (Reuters) - Prince Karim Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's Shia Ismaili Moslems, on Saturday opened a $30 million Ismaili centre in Lisbon to promote economic and social development programmes and cultural activities.

The building, which combines Islamic and Iberian architectural styles and is decorated with hand-painted tiles, has a prayer hall for Portugal's Shia Ismaili Moslems. It also has classrooms, meeting rooms and exhibition spaces. A similar centre is located in central London.

"The donors' social conscience has led to an array of facilities and a place of enriching dialogue,'' the 61-year-old U.S.-educated Karim told the inauguration ceremony.

Financed by local Ismaili Moslems, the Lisbon centre houses offices of the charitable Aga Khan Development Network. Karim directs the Network, which is involved in health, education and rural development projects across South and Central Asia and East and West Africa.

Karim, who on Saturday celebrated the 41st anniversary since he became Imam or spiritual leader, told a few hundred Shia Ismaili Moslems that the centre would promote cooperation and mutual understanding between people of different faiths.

At the ceremony attended by Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, Karim praised a bill on religious freedom that is being considered by parliament in Lisbon.

The bill, which formally guarantees respect and equality for religions, would serve as a role model for legislation in other countries, said Karim, who has a degree in Islamic history from Harvard University.

"Social harmony coupled with religious freedom is a prerequisite for attaining human progress,'' said Karim, whose community numbers 12 to 15 million people in 25 countries.

President Sampaio said: "This centre will bear witness to the re-encounter of two heritages that moulded the (Iberian) peninsular civilisation, that of the East and that of the West, that of Islam and that of Judaic-Christian tradition.''

The community of Shia Ismaili Moslems in Portugal is one of the largest in continental Europe and numbers several thousand, including many who fled Mozambique during a 16-year civil war.

Karim is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Moslems. His followers believe he is a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet's daughter.

Unlike his flamboyant father Prince Aly Khan who was once married to Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth, Karim has generally shunned publicity but is reputed to manage the same vast fortune his family has traditionally enjoyed.

Source: Reuters
Aga Khan and President Sampaio Speak on Faith and Civil Society; New Ismaili Centre in Lisbon Creates Innovative Multipurpose Space

LISBON, Portugal, July 11, /PRNewswire/ -- The role of faith organizations in addressing development challenges and the principles underlying Portugal's draft law on religious freedom could yield model legislation for a more ethnically and religiously diverse Europe. Portugal's President Jorge Sampaio and His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, today echoed this shared sentiment at the inauguration of a landmark building for cultural and social
interaction in the centre of Lisbon.

"Social harmony, coupled with the freedom and respect of religious expression, is a prerequisite for all human progress" the Aga Khan said. He went on to highlight an approach taken by the World Bank in a recent dialogue that it sponsored with nine world religions. A common ethical basis permits co-operation between faith organizations, co-operation that the Aga Khan felt, could address "some of the most pressing problems of our time: food security, post-conflict reconstruction, delivery of social services, and the role of culture and cultural institutions for healthy societies."

Hailing the achievement represented by the new building, President Sampaio explained how the Ismaili Community and the Aga Khan Development Network were enabling people of all faiths and backgrounds to respond to these challenges.

The Centro Ismaili, which follows the establishment of similar centres in London and Vancouver over the past fifteen years, is the first of its kind in continental Europe. An 18,000 square metre complex of buildings and courtyards is set amidst a landscaped park off busy thoroughfares on the edge of central Lisbon.

Indian architect Raj Rewal and Frederico Valsassina of Lisbon, neither of whom are Muslims, have incorporated into the design of the Centro Ismaili, a Manueline inspiration from Jeronimos Monastery and a diversity of Islamic architectural influences from Andalusia to Persia and Mughal India to Turkey. Both President Sampaio and the Aga Khan acknowledged the blending of tradition and the innovative use of contemporary technology. Domes are suspended on pre-stressed cables,
whilst granite and steel in geometric trellises recall Islamic decorative forms but also provide structural support.

Fountains and gardens of indigenous flora unite to furnish a refreshing environment which reflects a profound Muslim concern noted by the Aga Khan: "to achieve equilibrium between human existence and the Absolute, and therefore to attend to both spiritual and physical needs." The Centro Ismaili thus is more than just spaces for religious gathering, cultural, educational and social facilities. It will also house the headquarters of the Aga Khan Development Network. The Network is a group of
non-denominational development agencies working to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially for the most disadvantaged. Fundacao Aga Khan, which is part of the Network, has, in collaboration with partners such as the Gulbenkian Foundation and the University of Minho, been expanding its successful efforts to better educational and social conditions for underprivileged children in Portugal.

The Aga Khan, who is accompanied on this visit to Portugal by his wife, the Begum Aga Khan, was yesterday invested with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit by President Jorge Sampaio for his "outstanding contribution to human understanding and to social and economic progress in different areas of the world." Amongst those whom the Aga Khan is meeting in Lisbon are President of Parliament Almeida Santos, Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, Minister of Justice Vera Jardim and the Partriarch of Lisbon, D. Jose Policarpo.

Source: Aiglemont Information Department  
Fatimid Treasures of Cairo Exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, (through August 31, 1998) uses 250 objects from some of the world's most prestigious museums such as, the Cairo Museum, Metropolitan Museum of New York, Victoria and Albert Museum of London, as well as the basilica Marc Saint of Venice. This magnificent Fatimid collection portrays the daily life among commoners and nobles under the North African dynasty of Muslim Caliph/Imams that founded Cairo in 969, and from there ruled from the Atlantic shores to Yemen.
  Don't know French? Here is a translate facility, Voila! (Actually, voila is colloquialzed from the Arabic "Wa-Allah" which is commonly used in many Muslim lands and means "By God")
  Photo Gallery by the volunteers at Heritage Society Awesome!
  Princes, Poets and Paladins Exhibition Islamic and Indian Paintings from the Collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan displays the 14th to the 20th century works from one of the world's leading collections of Persian art. Catalog. Sackler Museum, Cambridge Massachusetts, through August 9th. Hurry!

Continuous Chain of Imams "The path of those upon whom Thou has bestowed favors"
History of the Imams Over 1400 Glorious years!

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