This year, as the European Union celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Ismaili community in Europe also celebrated another important date in Ismaili history: the Golden Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam.
Over the past 50 years, the European Union has grown in size, influence, and scope, and the decisions made by the Union touch the lives of every citizen in Europe. Similarly, in his 50 years as spiritual leader of the global Ismaili community, Mawlana Hazar Imam has overseen the growth of Jamati and Imamat institutions, as well as the growth of the Jamat as it spread across various regions around the world. Over these 50 years, the Ismaili Jamat in Europe has adapted to political, geographical, and social change, while continuing to live within the ethics and values of Islam.
On 11 July 2007, Ismailis from all across Europe came together to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam through day-long festivities in major centres all across the continent. While the specifics of the celebrations in each region may have been different, they all succeeded in bringing together members of the community to rejoice this special occasion with unity and creativity.
France and Belgium
For the Golden Jubilee, the Jamat of France and Belgium celebrated Imamat Day in Paris by organising an exhibition on unity and pluralism. The exhibition showcased cultural traditions of various parts of the world, reflecting the origins of the Jamats of France, Belgium, Switzerland and Ivory Coast.
During the celebrations, the youth of the Jamat participated in an activity where they created a puzzle. Put together, this puzzle reflected the Ismaili values of pluralism and unity by symbolising the many members of the global Ismaili Jamat coming together to celebrate as a united community.
Towards the end of the day, the Jamat in Paris had the privilege to meet with some members of the Leaders' International Forum who shared their experiences of the ceremony in Aiglemont earlier in the day.
Three special events marked the Golden Jubilee celebrations in Germany. The first event conducted in Frankfurt adopted the style of other celebrations around the world, with video presentations, dinner, and community celebrations. The Jamats from across Germany travelled to Frankfurt to take part in this auspicious event.
The second event – an entire weekend of celebration and jubilation – took place in Weeze, about an hour's drive from Essen Jamatkhana. This Golden Jubilee social weekend was attended by Ismailis all across Germany, France, Canada, Holland and the United Kingdom. From sport activities to a fashion show, from talent shows to Hindi and Afghani dance performances, there was something for every member of the Jamat.
The third event was held in Munich and featured another showing of the film of the inaugural ceremony at Aiglemont.
Portugal and Spain
Distinguished guests from Portugal commemorate the Golden Jubilee at a special AKDN reception. Tiago Brarens
The Golden Jubilee celebrations for the Jamats of Portugal and Spain took place in Lisbon at the Cidade Universitária.
In the morning, the Aga Khan Health Board organised a blood donation session, along with special seminars for members of the Jamat on dealing with high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol control. There were also various activities for the children such as face painting and other games. The evening's highlights included large celebrations with raasra and bhangra dancing with music provided by the popular Jasmin's Band.
A reception inviting government, diplomatic corps and international organisations in Portugal to celebrate the Golden Jubilee was hosted by AKDN Representative Nazim Ahmad in Lisbon, on 12 July 2007, at the Lisbon Ismaili Centre. Seven Secretaries of State attended the event in representation of the government, as well as other important distinguished guests from across the country.
In Geneva, a theatre performance and traditional dances were organised by the youth, along with a synchronised release of balloons to symbolise the launch of the Golden Jubilee.
A senior Jamati leader, in ceremonial regalia, welcoming Jamati members in London. Ismaili Council for the United Kingdom
Members of the Jamat from across the UK and parts of Europe came together at Alexandra Palace, London, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mawlana Hazar Imam's accession to the Ismaili Imamat. On this very special Golden Jubilee Imamat Day, members of the Jamat were treated to a recorded presentation highlighting Mawlana Hazar Imam's institutional achievements over the past 50 years, before being shown a broadcast of the special ceremony that took place at Aiglemont, France earlier in the day.
In the recorded footage, Mawlana Hazar Imam spoke of the changes the world has seen over the past 50 years as well as the challenges that lie ahead and that still need to be addressed. After the ceremonies everyone returned to the Great Hall to participate in dandia and raasra, with music provided by the Ismaili band, Khayal.