The Jamat singing traditional songs at the Roz-e-Nur event in New York.

Jamatkhanas and Ismaili Centres play an important role in the lives of the Ismaili community in the USA but they also play a very important role in promoting diversity and pluralism in the communities where they exist.

Over 400 jamati members and friends from the larger community volunteered to pack meals over 4 hours on the Day of Thanksgiving.

Bell jingles, loud cheers, and upbeat music could be heard in Carrollton Headquarters Jamatkhana on November 21, 2018, as numerous volunteers competed to make meals for children and their families in the North Texas area. With turkeys roasting in their own ovens, volunteers chose to wake up and come serve on this Thanksgiving morning.

“Now raise your hand if you like math!” exclaims Neelam Hussian, before leading a discussion about Muslim mathematicians credited for introducing the numeral system.

One hundred seventh-grade students from the Westminster Schools, an independent co-educational Christian day school, took a field trip last November to the Ismaili Jamatkhana in Norcross. As part of their World Religions curriculum, the students explored the Jamatkhana space used for worship and contemplation, and they engaged in group activities to discuss significant aspects of Islam.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan showed her appreciation for the Ismaili youth volunteers of Long Island, NY.

"When volunteers are taken seriously, the quality of their contribution and their own sense of satisfaction literally soar," said Princess Zahra Aga Khan at the International Association for Volunteer Effort World Conference in Edmonton, Canada, on August 25, 1998.

Late last year, a diverse group of interfaith leaders visited the Aga Khan Museum to explore its exhibitions, architecture, and facilities. As the United Nations has decreed the first week of February World Interfaith Harmony Week, The.Ismaili is pleased to share the experiences of these visitors in an article written by Ruth Broyde Sharone, first published on 15 November 2018 by The Interfaith Observer.

AKU nurses Salima Pirani (Dallas) and Amina Huda (California) review patient records during their volunteer shift.
“Thank you again for all you are doing to help staff the shelter. You and all the Aga Khan Council volunteers have been a tremendous help, and I really can’t thank you enough! Your nurses wanted to be here. They came with such open hearts. It was fabulous.” -Monica Soderstrom, Nursing Director for the Butte County Public Health Department, California.
 
Samir Lakhani assists with painting a mural in the school gymnasium.

It was an uncharacteristically cold and windy Monday morning in Los Angeles on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 21, 2019. Most families were bundled warmly in their homes, but 48 volunteers in I-CERV shirts huddled together at George Washington Carver Middle School to help the community. This event attracted over a thousand volunteers from dozens of corporations and nonprofits, evidenced by the colorful company shirts sported throughout the school campus. The day marked an annual tradition when I-CERV partners with LA Works to participate in a school beautification project in downtown Los Angeles.

UK-based architect Farshid Moussavi has been selected to lead the design of the Ismaili Center, Houston — the first Ismaili Center in the USA.

Communications Coordinator, Farida Nurani, introduces John D. Cressler, author of the "Anthems of al-Andalus" series.

“The morning is crisp, the sun’s rays angular and sharp. The sky is an effervescent azure, a crystalline blue so piercing that an apology for such an unabashed celebration of splendor might be in order.”

Book-lovers and history buffs alike were transported to the world of medieval Islamic Spain as they gathered at the Ismaili Jamatkhana in Atlanta for the launch of Dr. John D. Cressler’s historical romance novel, Fortune’s Lament, set against the backdrop of Granada’s Alhambra Palace. The book is the third release in Cressler’s "Anthems of al-Andalus" series, which centers around love stories with a strong, interfaith theme, during pivotal historical events in Spain.

Special needs game had during lunch.

The Midwest Youth and Sports Board hosted its annual Midwest Regional Sports Tournament at the Libertyville Sports Complex on Saturday, November 24. Shaifali Lalani, Co-Project Manager of this year’s tournament, said she was most excited about the number of athletes this year. “We had originally planned for 100 to 150 at most, given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We ended up doubling that with over 300 participants!” Additionally, over 100 volunteers and 300 spectators were in attendance making it one of the largest regional sports tournaments held in the region.

Alternate Winter Break brought together over college students from around the USA, who spent their winter break engaged in service at food pantries, schools and community service centers.

Every December, students wind down by snuggling up in their favorite blankets, binge-watching television sitcoms, and soak in the merry holiday season with heaps of food and family gatherings to enjoy a break from essays and midterms. However, this year, 20 students volunteered to take a more alternative route to the traditional winter break.

The 5 Ismailis from Atlanta that were recognized: (clockwise from center) Dr. Mahnaz Charania, Karim Shariff, Dr. Behnoosh Momin, Asad Abdulla, and Munir Meghjani.

Agile, talented professionals who engage with their communities are celebrated globally for their accomplishments. The 40 Under 40 award provides a platform for recognition of these young men and women who are making an incredible difference in their communities, cities and beyond. This platform is utilized by various distinguished institutions, be it academic in nature, financial or with a commitment to civic engagement. The last two years have seen five individuals from the Atlanta Jamat honored as proud recipients of this coveted award.

Film Title: The Senator

Artist: Shayain Lakhani

Country: United States of America

Genre: Narrative

Time Category: Under 5 minutes

Sameer Samani warming up as he gets a perfect set to SPIKE!

The Midwest Youth and Sports Board hosted its annual Midwest Regional Sports tournament at the Libertyville Sports Complex on Saturday, November 24. Shaifali Lalani, Co-Project Manager of this year’s tournament, said she was most excited about the number of athletes this year. “We had originally planned for 100 to 150 at most, given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; we ended up doubling that with over 300 participants!” Additionally, over 100 volunteers and 300 spectators were in attendance making it one of the largest regional sports tournaments held in the region.

Workshop participants had several opportunities to work with equipment and gain hands-on experience.

When 19-year-old Zill Momin thinks back to childhood trips with her father to the IMARA warehouse, there is something she can’t quite put her finger on. “Being a girl growing up I would go occasionally to the IMARA warehouse with my dad, she remembers, “but it wasn’t as open an option…I wanted to go, but something was holding me back.”

Maya and Tabish Tharoo doing their Christmas rounds at Winnie Palmer Hospital, Miami.

Born a premature baby at Orlando Heath Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Maya Tharoo weighed only one pound and fourteen ounces with a height of twelve inches. Maya’s journey into this world began with a surgery on her small intestine combined with multiple other health challenges, required her to remain at the hospital for 110 days. She believes she owes her life to the excellent care and dedication provided by the team of doctors and her family. Today, she has dedicated her life to raising awareness and serving that medical institution as her cause.

Swatson, mascot of the Sugar Land Skeeters, posing next to a few of the donated food items., Over 30,000 pounds of food were collected at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center and donated to the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry in Stafford, Texas.

The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center (IJKC) in Sugar Land was transformed into a bustling site on December 7, 2018, as countless individuals made their way to donate thousands of pounds of food. For the third consecutive year, IJKC hosted the annual ABC 13 Share Your Holidays Food Drive where over 100 I-CERV volunteers gather to help collect, package, and transport over 30,000 pounds of donated food to the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry, located in Stafford, Texas.

Purnur Ilolova, National ITREB Member, and other attendees at the Leadership Training Program.

With the mission of inspiring and empowering new leaders, the inaugural cycle of the Leadership Training Program (LTP) was launched in Houston, in November 2018. Forty participants, selected from across the United States, participated in the training that was organized by the National Council. The program was conducted in partnership with the Canadian National Council, which has been organizing a similar Management Training Program for a number of years.

Leslie Marchand speaking to the attendees about Disruption as a Gateway to Growth.

The TEDxSugarLand event helps spread big ideas and elevate inspired citizenship in the Houston area. For the third year, the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center hosted this event in October, on the theme, “Local Ideas, Global Influence.” 

Murad Abdullah, President of the Southeastern Ismaili Council encourages civic engagement and youth participation at the Forum.

Nine days before the 2018 midterm elections, the Ismaili Jamatkhana in Norcross, Georgia, hosted a Nonpartisan Candidate Forum for Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate candidates. Sixteen candidates, equally representing the Republican and Democratic parties, shared their viewpoints with over 200 attendees from the wider community. The candidates represented the northern suburbs of metro-Atlanta in Gwinnett and Fulton Counties.