Ismaili community celebrate opening of new Ilford centre

East London’s first Ismaili prayer centre opened its doors in Ilford today in a lavish civic ceremony.

The Jamatkhana will be the community centre for the Ismaili Shia community, of which there are thought to be 150 members in east London.

Ahead of greeting the wider community into the centre, UK Ismaili Council President Amin Mawji said: “It is not a great surprise that we are making this launch with the community here. “What is a great surprise, however, is how little is known about the Ismaili community.”

There are around 14,000 members of the community in the UK.

Volunteering and education is fundamental to the branch of Shiism, and the Ismaili Volunteer Corps have been giving back to the community through giving their time to the Olympic Games ceremony.

Council Leader Cllr Keith Prince said: “I can’t believe I am finally standing here. “More than three years ago I was discussing the need for a Jamatkhana in this part of London.

“After some mishaps with the planning, this project is finally off the ground.

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“Redbridge is special because it is a microcosm of London, in terms of religion, and we are able to embrace this even more through the Ismaili community.”