Source: The Ismaili
London, 18 November 2010 — Earlier today, Mawlana Hazar Imam received His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at the Ismaili Centre, London. The Prince’s visit commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Centre, which was opened in 1985.
To mark the occasion, a tea party was held at the Centre. In addition to Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Charles, leaders of the United Kingdom Jamat — including some whose service goes back 25 years — were also in attendance.
The Prince of Wales last visited the Ismaili Centre in July 2007 for the opening of Spirit and Life, an exhibition of the Aga Khan Museum collection. During his remarks at the event, he commended the Ismaili community for “the contribution they make to modern British society.”
“I can only applaud your emphasis on intellectual and cultural exploration as a means of integration, and your determination to discharge your obligations as citizens of this country without losing your own distinctive traditions,” said the Prince. He attributed the community’s succesess to “the existence of shared values.”
“These values celebrate humility, greatness of soul, honour, magnanimity and, indeed, hospitality,” said the Prince. “They form the bedrock of the excellent outreach work of the Ismaili Centre.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam stops to speak with volunteers at a tea party for Prince Charles’ visit commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Ismaili Centre, London. Photo: Nadia Bettega
The Ismaili Centre in London was the first religious, social and cultural space specifically designed and built for the Shia Ismaili community. Its foundation was laid in 1979 by Lord Soames, then Lord President of the Council, and it was formally inaugurated six years later by then Prime Minister, the Baroness Margaret Thatcher.
“The Ismaili Centre is a symbol of the Ismaili community’s permanent presence in the United Kingdom,” said Amin Mawji, President of the Ismaili Council for the UK. “It is a matter of great honour for the community to have His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales join us in celebrating this significant milestone.”
In the 25 years since it opened, tens of thousands of people have visited the Ismaili Centre in London. The building, situated at Cromwell Gardens in South Kensington, realised an important vision of Mawlana Hazar Imam, and has both reflected and shaped the aspirations of the Jamat in the United Kingdom.