Portugal’s Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete and the Aga Khan on Wednesday signed a landmark agreement between the Republic of Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat for the establishment of a formal seat of the latter in the country.
The deal is the first such accord in the Imamat’s modern history. It will come into effect after approval by Portugal’s Parliament and ratified by the President.
Also present at the ceremony was Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, among senior government officials.
Thanking the government for inviting the Ismaili Imamat to establish its permanent seat in Portugal, The Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, hailed the agreement as a milestone in the Imamat’s history, which goes back more than 1,400 years.
The Imamat is the institution of office of the Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims — the Aga Khan.
He noted that the agreement provided an enabling framework to facilitate the work of the Imamat globally.
The accord will result in intensified cooperation between Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat in supporting research and improving the quality of life of the Portuguese.
The agreement builds on a series of earlier accords, including an agreement on religious and cultural matters and a protocol on international cooperation with the Aga Khan Development Network, which serves communities across the world irrespective of their ethnicity or faith.
Portugal has one of the largest concentration of Ismaili Muslims in Europe.
The Ismailis are the only Shia Muslim community led by a living Imam who is vested with global religious authority and has the responsibility for the community’s spiritual and material well-being.