Lisbon, Portugal, 3 June 2015 - Portugal’s Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete and His Highness the Aga Khan today signed a landmark Agreement between the Republic of Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat for the establishment of a formal Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal. The Agreement marks the first such accord in the Imamat’s modern history. It will come into effect once it has been approved by Portugal’s Parliament and ratified by the President of the Portuguese Republic.
Also present at the signing ceremony was Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho and other senior government officials.
Thanking the government for inviting the Ismaili Imamat to establish its permanent seat in Portugal, the Aga Khan, Spiritual Leader (Imam) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, hailed the agreement as a historic milestone in the Imamat’s history, which spans more than 1400 years. He noted that the agreement provides an enabling framework, which will facilitate the work of the Ismaili Imamat and the Imam globally.
The accord will result in intensified cooperation between Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat in supporting research and the knowledge society and in improving the quality of life of Portugal’s inhabitants.
The new agreement builds on a series of earlier accords. They include an agreement on religious and cultural matters and a protocol on international cooperation with the Aga Khan Development Network, which serves communities across the world irrespective of their ethnicity or faith. The Ismailis are an ethnically and linguistically diverse Shia community residing in many countries across the world. In Europe, Portugal has one of the largest concentrations of Ismaili Muslims.
The Ismailis are the only Shia Muslim community led by a living Imam who is vested with global religious authority and has the responsibility for the community’s spiritual and material well-being.
The Imamat is the institution or office of the Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
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