By creating the conditions for the Ismaili Imamat to establish its global Seat in Lisbon, Portugal presents itself as a country with unique characteristics to hold greater prominence in the relations with various peoples and countries of the world


(The following piece is adapted from an English translation that was received by Barakah.  Feliciano Barreiras Duarte’s original opinion piece titled Rede Aga Khan em Portugal was published on April 30, 2018 in Portugal’s newspaper Jornal SOL – Sapo). 

2015-06-portugal-54865_Aga Khan Landmark Agreement Seat of Imamat

His Highness the Aga Khan and Portugal’s Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete on June 3, 2015 sign a landmark agreement establishing a formal Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte

Portugal signed an agreement with the Ismaili Imamat on June 3rd, 2015, with the objective of establishing its global Seat in Portugal. At the same time, the official address of its leader, Prince Aga Khan, was intended to move from Paris, where it currently stands, to Lisbon.

This agreement was signed between the parties three years ago based on the law of religious freedom in force (Decree nº 16/2001 of June 22nd), the protocol for cooperation signed in December 2005 as well as the agreement signed on May 8th, 2009.

As a result of all this, Portugal is about to formally and in practice assume the condition of global Seat of the Ismaili Imamat. Ismailis are a Shia branch of Islam with a presence in twenty-five countries on all continents.

Over the last four decades, the Ismaili community has been highly respected and very well integrated in Portugal, with many partnerships in various areas of our collective life, with an emphasis on social work. The Ismailis are, in fact, the largest Muslim community in our country. And Portugal ranks second in the list of [European] countries with most followers. Largely from Mozambique, the Ismailis have excelled in areas such as commerce, catering, hospitality, manufacturing or finance.

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan is the forty-ninth hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, having succeeded his grandfather, Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan, in 1957, when he was only twenty years old.

The relationship between the Aga Khan Network with Portugal is long-lasting and has had very positive results. Its representative in our country is Nazim Ahmad. He is responsible for transforming Portugal into the global hub of the Aga Khan Network.

The Seat will be established in the [Henrique de] Mendonça Palace, in Rua Marquês de Fronteira, in the centre of Lisbon, and will be inaugurated in July [2018].

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

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Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal — “By creating the conditions for the Ismaili Imamat to establish its global Seat in Lisbon, Portugal presents itself as a country with unique characteristics to hold greater prominence in the relations with various peoples and countries of the world.”

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Restoration work at Henrique Mendonça Palace.

In the past few months Nazim Ahmed and his team of workers have put an enormous effort so that the restoration works on this early twentieth century property, which has been awarded several prizes, are completed. I am convinced that Lisbon and Portugal will be surprised by the quality of the restoration carried out.

With special care towards the preservation of what has existed for more than a century, with the firm intention to restore what was worn out and to modernise what needed to be modernised, as well as the regeneration of an outdoor area with gardens and grove, the Henrique de Mendonça Palace will certainly become one of the most remarkable areas of nature preservation in the capital. The restoration will all be done with great taste, balance, openness and, above all, simplicity and originality. The work that is being done at the Mendonça Palace deserves all the prominence, respect and praise in our country.

I believe that, in addition to the work undertaken by the Aga Khan Network in Portugal in the last few decades, and the political impact of the move of its global Seat to Lisbon, our capital will have a lot to gain from this new cultural and environmental space, built with private funds, which had not been the case for a long time.

Date posted: May 14, 2018.



Barakah, with its sister website simerg, has launched a special blog All Things Lisboa that will be a point of reference for Ismailis travelling to Lisbon to celebrate Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee. All Things Lisboa will help you enjoy the best of Portuguese culture and will seek to provide ideas to enhance your experience of the historic city. All Things Lisboa provides a listing of Ismailis offering professional travelling services as well as a list of other reliable options for reserving accommodation etc.


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