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Mayor Sylvester Turner Celebrated at The Ismaili Center’s Grand “Topping Out” Ceremony in Houston

By Francis Page, Jr.

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    October 25, 2023 (Houston Style Magazine) — Houston, a city recognized for its diverse culture and dynamic heritage, witnessed a landmark event on October 23, 2023. The soon-to-be-completed Ismaili Center, nestled in the heart of Houston’s Buffalo Bayou watershed, hosted a grand “topping out” ceremony. And at the epicenter of this grand occasion was Houston’s beloved Mayor, Sylvester Turner.

The day’s events served as a heartfelt tribute to Mayor Turner, encapsulating his monumental impact on Houston over nearly a decade. Not just an emblem of progress, the Ismaili Center is also a testament to Turner’s vision of a unified, enriched, and progressive Houston. Situated at the intersection of Allen Parkway and Montrose Boulevard, the Center promises to be more than an architectural masterpiece – it aspires to be a hub for cross-cultural dialogue, intellectual growth, and interfaith exchanges.

As Farah Lalani, Spokesperson for Ismaili Council for Southwestern USA, perfectly articulates, “Ismaili Centers are not just architectural marvels; they are spaces dedicated to bringing people from different backgrounds together, fostering intellectual growth, and building bridges of tolerance and empathy.” This sentiment resonates deeply with Houstonians, as the city itself thrives on pluralism.

Mayor Turner’s commitment to Houston’s multicultural fabric was evident from the get-go. Since his introduction to the Ismaili Center project, he recognized its value as a space that would augment the city’s ethos of unity in diversity. Reflecting on the center’s significance, Mayor Turner stated, “Houston is a very special City, which is why the Aga Khan chose to build the first Ismaili Center in the United States here. The Center is going to be a Jewel of the City for decades to come. I wish it were open today!”

The day was marked by symbolic gestures. A tree-planting ritual, a customary act for such occasions, was followed by the signing of the final beam by Mayor Turner and Prince Amyn Aga Khan, brother of His Highness the Aga Khan, who is the spiritual leader (Imam) of the global Shia Ismaili Muslim community. Furthermore, in a magnanimous gesture, Mayor Turner presented the Key to the City to His Highness the Aga Khan, which was graciously received by Prince Amyn.

Prince Amyn’s attendance highlights the global importance of the Ismaili Center. As Ms. Lalani points out, “Prince Amyn Aga Khan’s presence at the ceremony underscores the global significance of the Ismaili Center and its mission of promoting peace and understanding

Discover More about The Ismaili Center: the.Ismaili/Ismaili-Center-Houston

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