The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center, Houston hosted over 130 people including state and city officials of diverse faiths and backgrounds at the annual Eid Luncheon.

At the inauguration of Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center (IJKC) Sugar Land in 2002, Hazar Imam said: “It will be a Center that will seek to bond men and women of this pluralist country to replace their fragility in their narrow spheres by the strength of civilized society bound together by a common destiny.”

In that spirit, over 130 people, including state and city officials, of diverse faiths and backgrounds, attended the annual Eid Luncheon to celebrate with food, drink, music, and conversation, at the IJKC on June 30, 2018.

The afternoon started with a reception in the lobby where guests had the opportunity to explore the Ethics in Action exhibition, which highlights the ethics that underpin the work of the Aga Khan Development Network in developing countries around the world. During the luncheon, guests were entertained with a special musical performance by renowned sitar maestro Ikhlaq Hussain Khan, and tabla artist Shantilal Shah.

Amongst the guests was Joaquin Castro, United States Representative for the 20th Congressional District of Texas, who delivered the keynote address during the luncheon. While Congressman Castro was familiar with Ismaili Jamatkhanas, given the newly constructed one in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, it was his first time actually visiting one; as such, he was given a tour of the Center prior to the start of the event.

Standing in the Rotunda outside of the prayer hall following the tour, Congressman Castro commented, “It’s a wonderful center for the Ismaili community to come and to congregate and to pray together. And also for the community generally to gather for different events. I know there have been political debates hosted here and different kinds of community events, so it’s wonderful to see.”

As part of his welcome address, Murad Ajani, President of the Aga Khan Council for the Southwestern United States, noted, “As we reflect upon Eid and the spiritual renewal of the month of Ramadan, and upon the Diamond Jubilee year of His Highness the Aga Khan, may we each find within us inspiration and strength to continue building bridges and strengthening the bonds that tie us all together as Americans, and as people.”

The theme of strengthening bonds served as a focal point of Congressman Castro’s keynote address. The Congressman remarked, “It is a very special time right now, where love and compassion and kindness and service, everything that this community [Ismaili] stands for are especially necessary...there is much work to do in the world and I think it’s very special that one of the core principles of this community is volunteerism, because there is a lot of good that needs to be done.”