Ismaili centre opens in Dushanbe

The Dushanbe Ismaili Centre is the sixth centre of its kind in the world. Others are in London, Lisbon, Vancouver, Toronto and Dubai.

Anna Malikova

2009-10-17

DUSHANBE — The world’s sixth Ismaili centre opened in Dushanbe on Oct. 15. Similar social and cultural centres have already been established in London, Lisbon, Vancouver, Toronto and Dubai.

The centre in Dushanbe reflects the architectural traditions of Central Asia. The idea for the building’s ingenious brickwork was borrowed from the designers of the Ismoil Somoni Mausoleum in Bukhara, one of the region’s most important architectural monuments.

The opening ceremony was attended by the president of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, and the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims the world over, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV.

“The centre will not only serve as a venue for religious rituals, it will also support mutually beneficial cooperation between Tajikistan and the Aga Khan Fund,” Rahmon emphasised.

Prince Karim said that “the opening of an Ismaili centre in the capital of Tajikistan is evidence of the Tajik president’s astute policy of consolidating religious pluralism in the country.”

The centre’s foundation stone was laid in 2003. The project was completed by a Canadian construction firm and cost approximately US$20 million.

The overwhelming majority of Tajiks are Hanafi Sunni Muslims. Ismailism is practised in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in eastern Tajikistan. Ismailis are members of a Muslim Shi’ite community that developed within the Caliphate in the middle of the eighth century, and take their name from Ismail, the eldest son of the sixth Shi’ite Imam, Jafar Sadik.

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