During the event, President Muneerah Merchant accepted a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature on behalf of the Aga Khan Council, and Mayor Tran presented a certificate recognizing the leadership of the Ismaili community and congratulating the community for the opening of the new center.
The Ismaili Health Professionals Network was also recognized by the California Legislature for their tremendous response to the Northern California Wildfires, having sent 25 volunteers and providing over 250 hours of service at the Butte County Red Cross Shelter.
“We were able to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the wildfires and that is what it’s all about—to make a difference,” commented Munira Wali, one of the many AKU nurses that volunteered her time to the shelter.
The new Jamatkhana features a designated room for relatives of Interfaith Families, an extensive library featuring publications from the Institute of Islamic Studies for all ages, and Islamic design found throughout the center. “The geometric designs and lighting paired with neutral colors invoke peace, tranquility, and spiritual connection,” said Sheila Lalani. “The entire space has a modern feel and transports you from the busy world of Silicon Valley to a spiritual, meditative place, where one can connect with our inner self and higher being.”
Ismailis from the Bay Area have actively participated in the Milpitas community for over 30 years. The new Jamatkhana replaces the prior one that was located only two miles away. The Jamat has volunteered regularly at food pantries, wildlife preservation events, and provided care packages for the homeless over the years. “It is a wonderful place,” said Chief Corpuz during the guided tour of the center, “but it is the people who make it more special.”
The Jamatkhana not only provides a place of congregation for Ismailis, but also serves as an inviting and peaceful place where the community can integrate and collaborate. “Ismailis in the Bay Area are in such a unique position in that we live in one of the most thriving, diverse, and metropolitan hubs in the world,” explained Sheila, a finance program manager for Google. She believes that Ismailis inherently have a responsibility to the communities in which they live to give back and offer their time and knowledge as best they can. “Being Ismaili in the Bay Area means that we have a unique opportunity to be ambassadors of our faith and make a difference.”