Shahodat Saibnazarova filed a report from the opening ceremony, at which the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Ismaili community, and Tajik president Imomali Rahmon both made speeches.
Like other Ismaili centres around the world, the one in Dushanbe is designed to serve the broader community with cultural and educational facilities as well as religious activities for this branch of Shia Islam. The architects used a design reflecting Central Asia’s historic religious buildings.
Most of Tajikistan’s Ismaili minority live in Badakhshan, a high-altitude region in the southeast.
Politicians and other leading figures interviewed in the report hailed the new centre. Communist Party leader Shodi Shabdolov said it showed how Islam can be a modern, open religion.
Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda, a leading Sunni cleric, stressed that “there is no discord among Tajiks even though they follow different strands of Islam. The majority are Sunni of the Hanafi school… there are no disagreements because neither Hanafis nor Ismailis prosyletise.”