Mayor: First Ismaili Center in the U.S. will be located in Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner is celebrating the announcement by the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims worldwide, that the first official Ismaili Center in the United States will be built in the heart of Houston.

Winding up a week-long visit to Houston, His Highness the Aga Khan confirmed that the Center will be located at the intersection of Allen Parkway and Montrose Boulevard just west of downtown. The planning process for selecting an architect has begun.

Hundreds of thousands of Ismaili Muslims live in the U.S. and Canada, with Houston having the largest population.

“The Aga Khan’s decision to locate the first center in Houston is a golden reflection of the city itself and of all Ismailis,” the mayor said. “Ismailis believe in pluralism, tolerance, openness, development, education and cultural engagement, making the Center a perfect fit for the most diverse city in the United States, where neighbors helping neighbors is one of our distinguishing traits and cultural engagement is an everyday part of our lives.”

Ismaili Centers are places of learning, contemplation, prayer, discovery, dialogue, and friendship said the mayor, who visited a center in London during a trade mission last year.

“It was my privilege to welcome His Highness to Houston last weekend and to meet with him to discuss the work of the Aga Khan Development Network around the globe, as well as the contribution of the Ismaili Muslims to Greater Houston,” the mayor remarked.

The Houston Center “will be a representation of our ethics and values, and will serve as an ambassadorial building furthering community connection and dialogue,” said the president of the Ismaili Council for the United States, Dr. Barkat Fazal.

The Aga Khan departed Houston today after a trip celebrating his Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years as the Ismaili Imam.

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