With the increased arrival of Ismailis into Atlanta in the 1980s, there was a need for a larger permanent building for the community's spiritual and social needs. The Atlanta Ismaili Jamatkhana, located in Decatur, opened in February 1989 as the first purpose-built Ismaili Jamatkhana in the United States.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
A junior in high school, Insha Merchant has been blessed with experiences that would be the envy of students her age.
In the summer of 2017, Insha participated in Global Encounters, the international service and leadership development camp that annually brings together Ismaili youth from multiple countries and diverse cultures. Although she would be one of the 720 participants since its inception in 2012, hers would be the first camp to be based in Pakistan. As part of the camp, Insha had the opportunity to spend a week in the beautiful and pristine Gilgit and Hunza in Northern Pakistan.
Good architecture serves its functional purpose and is structurally sound. Great architecture fits seamlessly into its surroundings and awakens the spirit of everyone who interacts with it. Decatur, Georgia, is home to the first permanent Jamatkhana in the United States. It was designed by Farouk Noormohamed, an architect whose 33-year career portfolio includes designing multiple Aga Khan University buildings in Africa and Pakistan, and the award-winning Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Considering the litigious disposition of today’s society, United States Attorney, Byung J. “BJay” Pak pointed to mediation as a means for reaching closure between opposing individuals. He said, “mediation is the process by which each party’s voice is heard, despite who may win or lose at the very end…It really comes down to balancing the interests of two people, looking for a compromise and likeness, and not divisive litigation.”
In keeping with Mawlana Hazar Imam’s emphasis on the importance of sharing knowledge globally, ninth-grader Qayl Maherali is reaching through reporting. He enjoys “learning, connecting, and educating people about different places around the world, as well as traveling and using technology.”
The Ismaili Council for the Southeastern United States partnered with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) to present the documentary Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema, based on the early history of the Indian film industry. This AJFF Connects screening was a part of “year-round programming initiative that uses the power of film to build bridges of understanding and spark dialogue with diverse audiences”
Atlanta’s Ismaili Muslims marked the festival of Eid-al-Fitr by honoring public safety and civic leaders of DeKalb and Fayette counties at an Appreciation Tea, hosted at the Ismaili Jamatkhana.
“The history of the word prayer means to beg or to entreat, which means to negotiate. This notion of negotiation—of finding common ground—began to strike me as the meaning of interfaith prayer. While religions are different in many ways, we can find common ground only if we listen, are still, and make time to be in each other’s presence.” -Doug Shipman.