“This will be a place of congregation, of order, of peace, of prayer, of hope, of humility, and of brotherhood.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam
Foundation Ceremony, July 26, 1982
The Ismaili Centre, Burnaby was opened on August 23, 1985 by then Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, the Premier of British Columbia Bill Bennett, government ministers, diplomats, and leaders of the Ismaili community from around the world.
The Centre, a Silver Jubilee initiative, was the first such centre built in North America. At the foundation ceremony, Mawlana Hazar Imam expressed his vision for this Centre:
“This will be a place of congregation, of order, of peace, of prayer, of hope, of humility, and of brotherhood. From it should come forth those thoughts, those sentiments, those attitudes, which bind men together and which unite. It has been conceived and will exist in a mood of friendship, courtesy, and harmony…. it is my hope, a very deep hope, that it will become a symbol of a growing understanding in the West of the real meaning of Islam.”
Speech at The Ismaili
At the opening ceremony, Mawlana Hazar Imam said:
“The Ismaili community has sought to create a building here which is both Islamic in its architectural inspiration and of a quality to enhance the overall distinction of Burnaby. The Jamatkhana is designed to be a social and cultural centre, as well as a place of congregation. It expresses the Ismailis’ desire to give of their best to the cultural and economic fabric of Canada. They are proud that it symbolises their commitment both to this country’s future and their ancient heritage. Nor is there any dichotomy in this dual aim. Muslims believe their faith is not for one time, but for all times and so there cannot be conflict between tradition and modernity.”
Speech at The Ismaili
About the Ismaili Centres:
The Ismaili Centre, Burnaby was the second in a series of such centres; the first Ismaili Centre in the western world was opened in London, UK, in April 1985. In 1998, the third Ismaili Centre was opened in Lisbon, Portugal. The Ismaili Centre, Dubai was opened in March 2008, during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee. The Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe, Tajikistan was opened in October 2009, and one in Toronto was opened in September 2014.
Three Ismaili Centres are currently being planned and developed in Houston, Los Angeles, and Paris. Visit The Ismaili for more information.
View a PowerPoint summary of the global Ismaili Centres.
Compiled by Nimira Dewji