“I didn’t believe it until I was shaking his hand,” Zameer Rayani admits. When his presence was requested at Amazon’s recent All-Hands Meeting in Seattle, he didn’t even share with his family or friends. After all, no one from the HR department had ever won the award in the company’s 25-year history, but with numerous Ismaili Amazonians live-streaming the event around the world, messages like this spread like wildfire on social media: “Do you know Zameer Rayani? Sounds Ismaili, he just got an award from Bezos at our company All-Hands!”
A Lunch and Learn event to facilitate knowledge exchange between the Ismaili community and public officials was organized by the Ismaili Council for the Central US at Albuquerque Jamatkhana on April 13, 2019. Ismaili value systems that unify the Jamat globally and the ethics of service in our faith were shared with the guests.
Most of us have thought of running a marathon or a race, but very few of us have actually ran one, let alone finish in top positions among hundreds of other runners.
“One of the energizing forces that makes a quality civil society possible, of course, is the readiness of its citizens to contribute their talents and energies to the social good. What is required is a profound spirit of voluntary service, a principle cherished in Shia Ismaili culture.” -Mawlana Hazar Imam, Brown University in 2014.
In a speech made in Ottawa in 2013, Mawlana Hazar Imam stated that Muslims have a “responsibility and obligation, as good stewards of God’s creation, to leave the world in a better condition than we found it."
As long ago as 1835, French historian Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States and recognized a unique characteristic, namely, the role played by voluntary private associations in social, political, and economic life. He suggested this freedom to associate was the “mother science” which illustrated how other societal problems might be resolved. Today, the United States Jamat is continuing a long tradition of volunteering for the public good.
Muslims have been a part of New York City, even before New York was a city. Records show that Muslims arrived in the area as part of the Dutch settlement, New Amsterdam, since the 1600s. Today, there are now over 300 registered mosques in the City. This is how the Muslim Tour of Harlem, a historic neighborhood in New York, begins. Katie Merriman, a doctoral student of religious studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill escorted a group of New York City Ismailis on a tour of 400 years of Muslim history in New York. On a three-hour walking tour, participants expanded their knowledge of how Muslims have contributed to their city and continue to do so.
Florida Jamatkhanas have turned to eliminate usage of plastic water containers and plastic bags. These are just two steps, in addition to other best practices, to “Going Green.” The initiative was launched January 1st in three Florida Jamatkhanas, and will continue to be implemented in the remaining two centers.
“Having team members from different Jamatkhanas and ages allowed me to learn from and interact with people that I usually wouldn’t,” said Arisha Keshwani, an athlete playing co-ed volleyball for the first time. This year’s tournament was especially unique for the diversity among the athletes, who ranged in age from 7 to 65, and experienced or novice. Similar to last year’s format, volleyball was offered as individual registrations so athletes of all skill levels and age groups could play together.
Los Angeles is a city where the multicultural ethic is thriving, with continuous efforts to engage diverse communities in order to cultivate greater tolerance. The fourth annual Los Angeles Day of Religious Pluralism was held on April 9, 2019, at the Los Angeles City Hall, sponsored by the Aga Khan Council in collaboration with the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. It was organized by the Human Relations Commission and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement.
The Ismaili Council for the Northeast and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) hosted a panel discussion exploring the history and significance of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA). The standing-room-only event on October 4, 2018, closed out a three-month exhibition of “Design for Diversity” at BSA Space which highlighted the winners and shortlisted works from the 2014-2016 cycle of the AKAA.
The members of the Atlanta City Council issued an official Proclamation and joined “faith, community and civic leaders to affirm (our) shared, cherished values of dignity, unity, respect, and compassion for our fellow human beings,” thereby endorsing April 4, 2019, as Atlanta’s inaugural Day of Religious Pluralism.
Recreation plays a key role in the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone, young and old. For seniors especially, involvement in recreation has a number of benefits in enhancing cognitive and motor skills, and provides an opportunity for socializing and developing new talents. For a group of seniors in the USA, a passion for music has shown that age is no limit to composing and performing for themselves and others.
It is a rare and historic honor to have an object in space named after an individual. It is usually reserved for someone who first discovers it, generally after years of painstaking observation of the night sky through giant telescopes. So to be recognized in this manner is indeed an occasion worthy of note. Yet, this is precisely what happened at the end of 2018.
“This is one of the most peaceful places in the City of Milpitas” -Richard Tran, Mayor of Milpitas
The recent opening of the Milpitas Jamatkhana was celebrated with an open house where community members were invited and provided with a guided tour of the new center. California Assemblyman Kansen Chu, Milpitas Chief of Police Armando Corpuz, and Superintendent of Milpitas Unified School District Cheryl Jordan were amongst the invited guests.
Lavishly illustrated and written in a style accessible to all, Islam: An Illustrated Journey tells the story of Islam. Beginning in the world of late antiquity and the pre-Islamic period, the book takes the reader through Islam’s formative era and early development in the Arabian peninsula, the rise and decline of its major dynasties, including the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Mughals, Safavids, Ottomans and finally up to its place in the modern world.
Storytelling has long been used as a means to share traditions, preserve culture, educate and instill values, even before the advent of writing. Whether through gestures, expressions, music or dance, various forms of oral storytelling have been used historically by families and communities.
Texas students and young professionals get an inspiring glimpse into life and opportunities as a public servant.
On a brisk February morning, Ismaili young professionals and students from across Texas converged in Austin for a day-long visit to the Capitol building. Throughout their visit, the group met with a host of public officials including five State Representatives, the Texas Railroad Commissioner and Secretary of State. It was an opportunity to hear both the day-to-day travails and the long term vision of those in public service.