By BRIAN FEAGANS
Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
Gwinnett community page
Ismaili Muslims are planning to build a community center on 6 acres off Five Forks Trickum Road near Snellville.
Plans are still fluid for the center at Five Forks and Arnold Road, said Sajida Shroff, a community volunteer with the Aga Khan Foundation USA, which owns the land.
It will offer youth and educational programs such as SAT preparatory classes, healthy living sessions, economics classes and sporting activities, Shroff said.
"Potentially, there will be an area for contemplative prayer," she said. "That's one of the things being decided."
Ismaili Muslims call their places of prayer "worship centers," not mosques, she said.
Ismailis represent about 15 million of the more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide. They are a subset of Shiite Muslims.
Most Shiites believe that the line of imams ended in the ninth century. Ismailis believe the line continues with the current Aga Khan, a billionaire philanthropist who lives near Paris. The globe-trotting businessman, Harvard graduate and renowned horse breeder is considered the 49th Imam by Ismailis.
Metro Atlanta Ismailis already have a community center on DeKalb Industrial Way in Decatur. The Gwinnett facility will be similar, but is expected to more closely resemble an Ismaili center in suburban Houston, Shroff said.
Ismailis have flocked to Gwinnett for the same reasons everyone else has, she said.
"We found that Gwinnett attracts members of the community because it has nice neighborhoods and a good school system," Shroff said. "It's a safe environment for families and children."