The Ismaili community today marks a historic moment with the approval in parliament of the agreement signed last year with the Portuguese State. The agreement is even described as a second bankruptcy – will be the first to be signed with a religious affiliation than the Catholic – and should count on the votes of all parliamentary groups.
The draft resolution 8/XI is the result of an agreement signed on May 8 last year between the Foreign Minister, Luis Amado, and the Aga Khan, 49. Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. One objective is to enable the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim community has “access to the same formal rights and obligations as other religious communities in Portugal.”
For the representative in Portugal of the Aga Khan Network for Development, Nazim Ahmed, the agreement “is, above all, a tribute to the spirit of pluralism enshrined in the Portuguese Constitution of 1976.” Furthermore, “will be the first time since forever, that a Muslim community outside the national scope entered into an agreement with a religious state, secular non-Muslim”.
As for Jorge Bacelar Gouveia, former member of the Committee on Religious Liberty, “The vote represents a historic moment for the Ismaili community, because he sees a recognition of their status for an independent state, as the Portuguese.” Then, points out, the expected approval in Parliament also notes “the openness of religion in a country where about 80% of the population is Catholic.” Reason that leads him to admit that we almost before “a second bankruptcy.”
The agreement concluded on May 8, 2009, during the visit of the Ismaili top leader, Mawlana Hazar Imam, defined as priorities, “the establishment of an environment of harmony and interfaith dialogue, peace and justice and realization of shared values, materializes in internal and international context. ”
The cooperation between the Portuguese State and Ismaili community – in Portugal has eight to nine thousand members – back, so official, in 2006, when it was promulgated a cooperation protocol with the aim of contributing to sustainable social, economic, cultural and civil society for the benefit of vulnerable sectors of society in Portugal and abroad, particularly in Portuguese-speaking countries.
The draft resolution 8/XI should be adopted without difficulty by all parliamentary groups, as happened during the vote in the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities. Then the agreement was approved unanimously.