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OKC Ismaili Muslims celebrate their spiritual leader's 50th year as imam



On July 11, a small group of Oklahoma City Ismaili Muslims traveled to Dallas and Houston for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan, Prince Karim al-Hussaini, is imam " or spiritual leader " for the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims of the world, and the event was to honor him on his 50th anniversary of becoming imam.

Oklahoma City internist Dr. Shirin Khaliq went to Dallas for the celebration.

"The day was an opportunity for Ismailis from many walks of life to come together and pay homage to their imam, for his 50 years of inspiring leadership and guidance," she said. "It was a multicultural event with celebratory processions, dances from different countries where the Ismailis live, music and art exhibits, "¦ (and) communal prayer services."

Ismaili Islam is a branch of Shia. The largest reported Ismaili group that lives in Yemen comprises 2 percent of that country's population.

The Oklahoma City group traveled to Texas for the celebration because the two largest communities in the Southwest region of the United States are there.

"Because Ismailis come from so many different countries, it was easier to stage celebrations in large cities around the world than to have small communities try to offer programs for so many different cultural groups," Khaliq said. "Greg Horton


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