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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.dawn.com/news/1344437

We have to be a generous society,' says the Aga Khan on his Diamond Jubilee

Jahanzeb Hussain

Updated July 11, 2017

Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, the 49th Imam of the Shia Ismailis, celebrates 60 years today since he inherited the leadership of his community from his grandfather and became the Aga Khan.

Prince Karim is best known for a life dedicated to social services for some of the most underprivileged communities in Asia and Africa.

He is the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), renowned around the globe for its work in providing quality healthcare, education, revitalisation of cultural heritage, safeguarding the environment, and uplifting of marginalised peoples through community and economic development.

As part of the buildup to his Diamond Jubilee, the Aga Khan gave an exclusive interview to a select group of journalists from different countries, including Dawn.

In his introductory comments, the Aga Khan laid out what he calls “the parameters within which religious institutions in the Muslim world can work,” namely that of trying to “improve the quality of life of the people of the community and those amongst them where the community lives, [by] eliminating unfairness, fraud, and giving families the opportunity to think that their future generations can live in an improved society.”

He outlined the need to “use material resources for these purposes which are required by the Muslim faith” and said that, for the Jubilee year, he hopes to lead his community to “identify various resources in the civil society in the countries in which [they] are engaged and support them in their mandate.”

AKDN spends US$ 925 million dollars annually on non-profit social and cultural development activities. It operates more than 200 health care institutions, 2 universities spanning 6 countries, and 200 schools and school improvement programmes in some of the most remote and poorest parts of the developing world.

The Aga Khan went on to say that “we need to accept today that any institution, any country, which has a pocket of weakness, is an institution or a country at risk” and that “we need to concentrate on eliminating the risk and the damage they have done to these countries.”

The leader of the Shia Ismaili community stressed that the basis we should be using to evaluate development initiatives is “public good,” for as long as we do that “we should be on the right side of logic.” In this regard, the Aga Khan was critical of the whole banking system that is “directed toward the notion of profit rather than the notion of social support.”
His Highness the Aga Khan admiring the breath-taking view from Baltit Fort. The conservation of the over 700-years-old Baltit Fort, the pre-eminent landmark monument in Gilgit-Baltistan, and the rehabilitation of the historic core of the Karimabad village in Hunza Valley, were the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme first major interventions, completed in 1996.

I asked him to address South Asia in particular, to which he replied that the “financial institutions ought to be a great deal more open to social support needs.” For example, “is microcredit doing the job that people hoped it would be doing?” he asked.

“My view is no, it’s not, because microcredit helps certain demographics but it doesn’t affect the whole of the economy of a given country. There are many financial needs which are not addressed by financial institutions today, and I’m talking particularly about the medium-sized enterprises that are definitely, in my view, underfunded.”

Above all, however, the “major threat” facing South Asia and much of the developing world is climate change, which needs to be “looked at with great care to address the particular causes of the situation.” Climate change is the “first issue” the Aga Khan said he would look at especially since he says he’s not “convinced that that’s happening at the present time.”
His Highness the Aga Khan meets with students at the Aga Khan III school (Sultan Mohammed Shah Foundation School) at Karimabad, Pakistan in 1970. - Photo credit : AKDN / Cumber Studios

Addressing climate change and providing access to economic resources have to be part of the plan to alleviate poverty, which has to be the “first priority for South Asia.”

Climate change is directly linked to the “quality of life,” especially “in the developing world” where there are a “number of situations where there’s not sufficient sustenance for ensuring an acceptable quality of life.”

The Aga Khan said that his “sense is that there has been very little global thinking about how we deal with issues of pollution, water availability, issues of unstable earth – all issues that are, in a sense, predictable.”

He said that he has “been more than worried about situations where everybody knew and have known for decades that they were living in high risk and nothing was done about it.”
His Highness the Aga Khan addresses the audience during the Aga Khan University (AKU) Charter acceptance ceremony in Karachi, 1983, one of the Silver Jubilee initiatives. - Photo credit : AKDN / Christopher Little

An equally integral component of the Aga Khan’s mandate is pluralism. He emphasised the fact that the societies where his institutions work are “pluralistic and they have been pluralistic for many, many centuries.” He deplored the various “forces at play which have tended to separate these societies in separate ethnic and religious groups.”

When I inquired as to what role can Islam play in promoting social peace, especially in a region like South Asia, the Aga Khan was unequivocal: “Social ethic is a strong principle in Islam and I think that Muslims would be well advised to respect that as a fundamental ethic of our faith and to live by that, which means that we have to be what I would call an empathetic society, a welcoming society, peaceful society, a generous society.”
His Highness the Aga Khan meets with the inhabitants of northern areas of Pakistan to discuss the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in Jaglot, near Gilgit, a new experimental rural development institution sponsored by the Aga Khan Foundation, May 1983. - Photo credit : AKDN / Christopher Little

Commenting on the situation of Muslims in the West, the Aga Khan insisted that it’s “absolutely incorrect to try to move Islam out of the context of global monotheism,” since “Islam is an Abrahamic faith, it’s a monotheistic faith and most of the principles of Islam equate with the principle of other major global monotheistic faiths.”

“The world we seek is not a world where difference is erased but where difference can be a powerful force for good, helping us to fashion a new sense of cooperation and coherence in our world and to build together a better life for all.”

He also pointed out that a “large percentage of the immigrants who enter the Western world come from the Muslim world. It’s an issue that needs to be dealt with empathy and care, and where it has been dealt with empathy and care – and I would give Canada as an example – you can see that the results have been welcomed.”

In his final remarks, the 80-year-old avowed that his institutions and partners would keep working to find "solid solutions" to the problems he highlighted. The Diamond Jubilee, he said, is a "remarkable opportunity to come together" to achieve these goals.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shia Ismaili Muslims to celebrate 60 years of Aga Khan’s life, work Tuesday

This year, July 11 marks the 60 years of a commitment “to faith, pluralism and improved quality of life for vulnerable societies” of the Aga Khan as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), government bodies and faith community leaders in over 25 countries including Bangladesh will come together on Tuesday to celebrate the day.

The AKDN said there would be a private event marking this historic occasion in conjunction with the global ceremonies.

“Over the past six decades, the Aga Khan has transformed the quality of life for millions of people around the world”.

“In the areas of health, education, cultural revitalization, and economic empowerment, he has worked to inspire excellence and improve living conditions and opportunities in some of the world’s most remote and troubled regions”.

In Islam’s ethical tradition, religious leaders not only interpret the faith but also have a responsibility to help improve the quality of life of their community and the societies among which they live.

For the Aga Khan, this has meant dedicating his life to addressing the concerns of the developing world.

More...

http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2017/07/11/shia-ismaili-muslims-to-celebrate-60-years-of-aga-khans-life-work-tuesday

*******
Aga Khan marks 60 years as leader of Ismaili Shiites

CAIRO
The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam, is opening a yearlong jubilee to mark his 60th anniversary leading the community with a call Tuesday for greater respect for pluralism in the Islamic world and action to reduce poverty.

Among Muslim leaders, the Aga Khan holds a unique position. The community he leads as "imam" is not large — around 20 million adherents, compared to the estimates of several hundred million followers of Shiism's main branch, known as the "Twelvers." Sunnis make up the majority of the approximately 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

But while other Islamic communities have a fragmented leadership, the 80-year-old, Paris-based Aga Khan is accepted across the Nazari Ismaili community as the "imam," or spiritual head, giving him a singular status.

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http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article160638784.html
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ismaili community marks leader’s special anniversary

Dar es Salaam — The Ismaili community in Tanzania yesterday commemorated the 60th anniversary of His Highness the Prince Karim Aga Khan IV’s ascension to the Ismaili Imamat.

Speaking on the occasion, President of His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Tanzania, Mr Amin Lakhani, said under the leadership of His Highness, The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), worked tirelessly in Tanzania to create various development programmes.

He pointed out that the programmes aimed at harnessing human development, imbibing innovative initiatives and creating sustainable institutions that complemented national development objectives.

“The bridge of understanding and respect that the government has accorded to His Highness and his institutions over the last six decades are indeed indelible touchstones in our belief in the nobility of partnership and pluralism toward a shared aspiration for a better quality of life for all,” he said.

He added: “I hope that the partnership between the Ismaili community and the government, remains an enduring symbol of cooperation, of diverse collaboration, representing an exciting agenda of future relationship of the Imam and this country.”

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http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Ismaili-community-marks-leader-s-special-anniversary/1840340-4008090-ewu4olz/index.html
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A rare interview with the Aga Khan on poverty, climate change, and demystifying Islam

His Highness Prince Karim, the Aga Khan, is many things.

“Virtually a one-man state,” as Vanity Fair once put it, he’s the spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims and a unique embodiment of the potential for East blending with West. He inherited from his Indian-born grandfather a dynasty that spans the Muslim world, but he is a British citizen, born in Switzerland, raised in Kenya, educated at Harvard, and lives in a French chateau.

A reported descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, he has dedicated his life to fighting poverty and heads one of the world’s most active development foundations, reaching millions of people in 35 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East each year via the Aga Khan Development Network.

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https://qz.com/1025313/a-rare-interview-with-the-aga-khan-on-poverty-climate-change-and-demistifying-islam/
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/dubai/ismailis-celebrate-diamond-jubilee-of-aga-khan


Ismailis celebrate Diamond Jubilee of Aga Khan


Bernd Debusmann Jr. (Chief Reporter)/Dubai
bernd@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 11, 2017


The event will be marked across the world

Members of the Ismaili Muslim community in the UAE are celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Aga Khan, marking his 60th year as the 49th hereditary spiritual leader of the community.

The celebrations - which are being held worldwide - will bring together members of the Ismaili community, as well as partners of the Aga Khan Development network and government and religious leaders across 25 countries. The Diamond Jubilee celebrates the occasion on July 11 in which the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims 60 years ago, at the age of 20.

In Dubai - which also hosts an Ismaili Centre on Oud Metha Road - the Ismaili community has also established the Aga Khan Early Learning Centre, a nursery which takes children between the ages of 12 and 48 months, as well as the Aga Khan Scouts and Guides, which has had a presence in Dubai for over 30 years.

"As a leader of the Aga Khan Scouts and Guides, the spirit of volunteering is central to everything we do. On the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee, we are reminded of that spirit and the lifetime of service which His Highness the Aga Khan has devoted to the community in the UAE and globally around the world," said Raheel Chagani, a Group Scout Leader at the Aga Khan Scouts and Guides. "He once said of volunteers that 'their spirit, generating new ideas, resisting discouragement, and demanding results, animates the heart of ever effective society'."

"I am very happy on this momentous occasion to be part of the celebrations which are a milestone for the Ismaili Muslim Community," he added.

Today, the Aga Khan leaders a community of 15 million Ismaili Muslims spread across South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America and the Far East.

He's also the Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), one of the largest development organisations in the world, with 80,000 staff operating in more than 30 countries.

Annually, the AKDN spends $925 million on non-profit social and cultural development activities, and operates over 200 health care institutions, two universities, and 200 schools and school improvement programmes in various parts of the globe. Additionally, the AKDN operates over 90 project companies in post-conflict and transitional economies, ranging from a large-scale hydropower project in Uganda to a mobile phone company in Afghanistan, which collectively generate more than $4.1 billion revenues.

A number of social, cultural and economic projects - designed to alleviate poverty and increase access to finance for education, health, housing, early childhood development and infrastructure in developing countries - are expected to be launched on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.dawn.com/news/1344481


Aga Khan defines role of Islamic bodies

Jahanzeb HussainJuly 11, 2017




RELIGIOUS institutions in the Islamic world should try to improve the quality of life of Muslims as well as of other groups with whom they live, Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, the 49th Imam of the Ismaili Shias, said in an interview with Dawn on the eve of diamond jubilee celebrations of his inheritance of the leadership of the community.

He laid out “the parameters within which religious institutions in the Muslim world can work”, outlining the need to “use material resources for the fulfillment of these objectives obligated by the Muslim faith”.

For the jubilee year, the Aga Khan said he hoped to lead his community to “identify various resources in the civil society in the countries in which [they] are engaged and support them in their mandate.”

He expanded on the mandate and explained that the goal was to continue working towards “improving quality of life, eliminating unfairness, fraud, and giving families the opportunity to think that their future generations can live in an improved society.”
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“We need to accept today that any institution, any country, which has a pocket of weakness, is an institution or a country at risk”, the Aga Khan observed, adding that “we need to concentrate on eliminating the risk and the damage they have done to these countries”.

He stressed that the basis we should be using to evaluate development initiatives is “public good”, for as long as we do that “we should be on the right side of logic.”

In this regard, the Aga Khan was critical of the whole banking system that is “directed towards the notion of profit rather than the notion of social support.”

Speaking about South Asia, he said that the “financial institutions ought to be a great deal more open to social support needs.” For example, “is micro credit doing the job that people hoped it would be doing?” he asked.

vg“My view is no, it’s not, because micro credit helps certain demographics but it doesn’t affect the whole of the economy of a given country.”

Above all, however, the “major threat” facing South Asia and much of the developing world is climate change, which needs to be “looked at with great care to address the particular causes of the situation.” Addressing climate change and providing access to economic resources have to be part of the plan to alleviate poverty, which has to be the “first priority for South Asia.”

Climate change is directly linked to the “quality of life,” especially “in the developing world” where there are a “number of situations where there’s not sufficient sustenance for ensuring an acceptable quality of life.”

The Aga Khan said that his “sense is that there has been very little global thinking about how we deal with issues of pollution, water availability, issues of unstable earth — all issues that are, in a sense, predictable.”

He said that he has “been more than worried about situations where everybody, local populations, knew and have known for decades that they were living in high risk, but nothing was done about it.”

An equally integral component of the Aga Khan’s mandate is pluralism. He emphasised the fact that the societies where his institutions work are “pluralistic and they have been pluralistic for many, many centuries.”

He deplored the various “forces at play which have tended to separate these societies in separate ethnic and religious groups.”

Asked as to what role can Islam play in promoting social peace, especially in a region like South Asia, the Aga Khan was unequivocal: “Social ethic is a strong principle in Islam and I think that Muslims would be well advised to respect that as a fundamental ethic of our faith and to live by that, which means that we have to be what I would call an empathetic society, a welcoming society, peaceful society, a generous society.”

Commenting on the situation of Muslims in the West, the Aga Khan advised that it’s “absolutely incorrect to try to move Islam out of the context of global monotheism,” since “Islam is an Abrahamic faith, it’s a monotheistic faith and most of the principles of Islam equate with the principle of other major global monotheistic faiths.”

In his final remarks, the 80-year-old vowed that his institutions and partners would keep working to find “solid solutions” to the problems he highlighted. The diamond jubilee, he said, is a “remarkable oppor­­tunity to come together” to achieve these goals.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2017
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/aga-khan-devon-botanic-garden-1.4201799


Construction of Aga Khan Garden reaches halfway mark

The $25-million garden will be the most northerly Islamic garden in the world

By Nola Keeler, CBC News Posted: Jul 13, 2017





It will be the most northerly Islamic garden in the world.

On Wednesday, media were given a sneak peek at the Aga Khan Garden at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden near Devon.

The 5½-hectare garden, which will hold more than 20,000 plants, is now halfway to completion.

The project was funded by a $25-million gift from the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims, including 6,000 in Edmonton.

The Aga Khan's ties to Canada and Alberta run deep. He was named an honorary Canadian in 2009 and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta the same year.
Aga Khan garden

Artist's rendering of waterfalls at the Aga Khan garden. (University of Alberta)

"The goal is to create a 21st-century Islamic garden that feels at home in Edmonton," said Nathan Foley, architect with Nelson Byrd Wolz, the U.S. architects designing the garden.

"The vast majority of the plants going into the garden are native or regional plants, which is really important for us telling the story of this place and this garden and highlighting the local flora," he said.

The design will include a fountain, intricate granite and stone work, and an amphitheatre.
Aga Khan garden under construction

The Aga Khan garden under construction. (CBC)

"This has taken years of design and engineering," said Lee Foote, director of the U of A's botanic garden.

The garden is a gift to all Canadians, Foote said. He expects the addition of the garden will more than double attendance at the 240-acre University of Alberta Botanic Garden in two years.

The project is expected to be completed by July 2018.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.gatewayhouse.in/bombay-home-to-aga-khans/

3 July 2017, Gateway House

When Bombay was home to the Aga Khans

The Aga Khan IV, Prince Karim al-Husayni, the religious head of of the Ismaili Shia Imamat, celebrated the diamond jubilee year of his leadership earlier this week with the launch of many development projects. What is not very well known is that Bombay was a centre for the consolidation of the community and its religious leaders’ influence

BY Sifra Lentin

Adjunct Fellow, Bombay History Studies

Philanthropy has always flowered in Bombay, and the Ismailis—there are 15 million of them globally – owing allegiance to His Excellency Aga Khan IV, Prince Karim al-Husayni, practise it diligently, giving unobtrusively of their time and talent as and when sought by their leader. What is not widely known is that it was in 19th-century Bombay that the Aga Khans emerged as public figures and leaders of a community, dispersed across West and Central Asia, the subcontinent and East Africa.
His Highness Aga Khan Adressing in Central Asia
H.E. Aga Khan IV addressing Ismailis in Central Asia. (Photo Courtesy: Zahur Ramji)

This is the diamond jubilee year of His Excellency Aga Khan IV – anointed the 49th Imam of the Ismailis by his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III—who, on July 11, launched numerous non-denominational development projects[i], all with a primary focus on poverty alleviation, to mark the occasion. This is work that has already won him much appreciation.

These projects will, as always, combine astutely a business model–the Prince is an alumnus of Harvard University – with philanthropy,[ii] directed both at their own people and the communities in whose midst they live. This approach has worked particularly well both in multicultural, pluralistic societies, like India and Canada, but also in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the Ismailis are regarded a peace loving community, integrating seamlessly into society, while also giving back to it.

The edifice that exists today sprang from certain foundational events in 19th-century Bombay, which effectively legalised the hereditary temporal and spiritual power of the Aga Khan. The first Ismaili Rule Book[iii] came about in 1905. Community institutions were established. This period also saw the beginning of an administrative structure that is today known as the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). This is an umbrella organisation for the Aga Khan’s non-profit work, which is funded by businesses, such as hotels and airlines that it also runs. This is the largest private development organisation in the world, employing 80,000 people, and disbursing $925 million annually.[iv]

Aga Khan I comes to Bombay

According to historians[v], Hasan ‘Ali Shah, the 46th Imam and the first Aga Khan (an honorific bestowed on him by the Persian emperor, Fath Ali Shah), who settled in Bombay city in 1848, was the first Ismaili Imam to set foot in the Indian subcontinent. His arrival marked the beginning of the modern period in the community’s history. Prior to the 1800s, the Ismaili Shia Imams were based in Persia[vi] and had limited contact with the Ismaili communities that were scattered across Central Asia and Afghanistan – where they were concentrated along the Silk Road – the Middle East, and South Asia. With the Imamat shifting from the province of Kirman (Iran)[vii] to Bombay, the Ismaili Imam came into full public view, his presence having an invigorating effect on local Khoja Ismailis and many distant communities from Central Asia, who sent missions to the city to meet him.[viii]

According to historian Zulfikar Hirji[ix], many of the Ismaili communities on the Indian subcontinent (mostly in Sindh, Kutch and Saurashtra) adopted Ismailism sometime between the 14th and 15th centuries through the efforts of a succession of Ismaili pirs (missionary-saints) who had travelled here. “Upon their conversion the appellation Khoja was bestowed on some converts, the term being a Gujarati transposition of the Persian term Khwaja, meaning ‘lord and master’. Until the 19th century, these convert communities practised their faith in a dissimulated manner. Hence their Ismailism (religious beliefs and practices) displayed a complex interface with other traditions,” he writes.

Gathering a dispersed flock on the subcontinent and reforming their social institutions and religious practices was not easy. The authority of the Ismaili Imam was challenged in three cases that were adjudicated by the Bombay High Court. The first case of 1847[x] concerned female rights of inheritance of property, and whether, in the case of the Ismailis, it was governed by customary practices or the Sharia (Mohammedan law). In the Great Khoja Case (1851), a reform group (Barbhais or 12 brethrens) challenged the authority of the Aga Khan. But it was in the Aga Khan Case (1866) that the Ismaili Imam’s authority over British Indian Ismailis was legally delineated—and resulted in a schism within the community, with a breakaway faction being formed. This began a period of consolidation.

In Bombay, the oldest and chief jamaatkhana (congregational hall) of the Ismailis is Darkhana[xi] on Samuel Street, in the Dongri area, where most of the community originally settled. This is a grand structure, complete with a stately clock tower. It was during Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah’s leadership (1885-1957) that his travels through the subcontinent resulted in many jamaatkhanas being set up. The first Aga Khan School also opened in 1905 in Mundra (Kutch). [xii]
India Jamatkhana
The oldest and chief jamaatkhana of the Ismailis in Mumbai, is Darkhana on Samuel Street (Dongri area)

What is noteworthy during this period is his outreach to communities settled in East Africa, largely Kutchi-speaking Khoja Ismaili families, whose early pioneers had immigrated in the early 1820s much before Aga Khan I settled in Bombay.

The community’s first rule book, titled “The Rule Book of the Khoja Shia Imami Ismaili Council: Part 1&2, by Hussein Chapkhano” was instated for the local community by Aga Khan III in 1905, in Zanzibar.[xiii] It was here too that the first Supreme Council to regulate community life was set up.[xiv] Both the rule book and council governance are features of Ismaili community organisations worldwide. It was in Kisumu (Kenya) though, where the first jamaatkhana in Africa was inaugurated the same year. Well known Khoja merchant, Seth Allidina Visram, who made his fortune, building shops at every major station along the 580-mile long Uganda Railway Line, funded it.

Imamat’s shift from Bombay

After almost a century of the Imamat being headquartered in Bombay, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III took up residence in Switzerland, a neutral country, during the Second World War (1939-45). It was also a period when political turbulence due to the Indian nationalist movement and the inevitability of Partition, loomed over India. The seat of the Ismaili Imamat has been located in different parts of the world during its 1400-year-old existence.[xv] While its history in Bombay marked the beginning of its modernisation, these Geneva years, largely under the stewardship of the present Aga Khan IV, were marked by global outreach and major growth in its development work.

The Imamat has now indicated that the headquarters may shift from Geneva to Portugal: the Portuguese government granted it special status in 2015 to operate globally from its territory.[xvi]

The Aga Khan and his followers have worked selflessly across borders and communities – and his diamond jubilee celebrations will have reverberations across them.

Sifra Lentin is the Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House.

This article was exclusively written for Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. You can read more exclusive content here.

For interview requests with the author, or for permission to republish, please contact outreach@gatewayhouse.in.

© Copyright 2017 Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized copying or reproduction is strictly prohibited.

References

[1] According to an Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) press release, Diamond Jubilee priorities include the promotion of early childhood and primary education, strengthening institutions, and invigorating civil society.

Aga Khan Development Network, <www.akdn.org/press-release/update-aga-khans-diamond-jubilee-marks-60-years-of-commitments-faith-pluralism-and>, (Accessed on 13 July 2017)

[2] The Aga Khan does not consider his work as philanthropy but as his spiritual mandate. In the understanding of Imamat (office of Imam), the Imam (in this context the Aga Khan) is responsible for the improvement of the quality of life of his followers and also those among who they live and are in need.

[3] The historic meaning of Rule Book (Constitution) is that it outlines the spiritual relationship between the Imam and his followers, which is different from an Ismaili’s secular loyalty to the country in which he lives.

Today, the Global Constitution (rule book) additionally regulates the relationship between various community institutions globally inter se, and their relationship with the Aga Khan Development Network (the umbrella organization). This Constitution operates under the law of each country and also outlines the relationship of AKDN with various government institutions.

[4] Aga Khan Development Network, Update—Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee marks 60 years of a commitment to faith, pluralism and improved quality of life (Geneva, AKDN, 2017)

www.akdn.org/press-release/update-aga-khans-diamond-jubilee-marks-60-years-of-commitment-faith-pluralism-and (Accessed on July 12, 2017)

[5] Daftary, Farhad, Ed., A Modern History of the Ismailis : continuity and change in a Muslim community(London, I.B. Tauris Publishers in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2011), p. 7.

[6] Prior to 1935, Iran was known as Persia. At the time Aga Khan I immigrated to Bombay, it was Iran.

[7] The Institute of Ismaili Studies, The Ismaili Imamat History (UK, IIS, 6 July 2015)

<iis.ac.uk/about-us/his-highness-aga-khan/ismaili-imamat-history> (Accessed on 13 July 2017)

[8] Ibid

[9] Hirji, Zulfikar, “The Socio-Legal Formation of the Nizari Ismailis of East Africa, 1800–1950”, Chapter 6 (Part 2), from Daftary, Farhad, Ed., A Modern History of the Ismailis : continuity and change in a Muslim community(London, I.B. Tauris Publishers in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2011), p. 130.

[10] The 1847 case was actually two cases concerning whether customary practices or the Sharia law was applicable for succession (inheritance) in the case of the Ismailis. The Aga Khan was not party to the suits but was represented.

[11] The present building was inaugurated by H.E. Aga Khan III on January 22, 1915. It was built by Megji Mulji Mukhi. However, it appears that there existed an older jamaatkhana on this site. Heritage Society: Ismaili. Net, 74. Meghji Mulji, Mukhi <htpps://ismaili.net/heritage/node/20736> (Accessed on 11 July 2017.)

[12] The Aga Khan School, Mundra < www.agakhanschools.org/India/AKSM/Index > (Accessed on July 11, 2017)

[13] Hirji, Zulfikar, “The Socio-Legal Formation of the Nizari Ismailis of East Africa, 1800–1950”, Chapter 6 (Part 2), from Daftary, Farhad, Ed., A Modern History of the Ismailis : continuity and change in a Muslim community(London, I.B. Tauris Publishers in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies 2011), p.146.

[14] Today, the Ismailis worldwide have national councils for each country, and depending on the size of the community,the number of administrative layers are determined. In India, the National Council has three administrative layers and covers the regions of Western India, Southern India, North Eastern Gujarat, Northern Saurashtra, Southern Saurashtra, and Central & Eastern India.

[15] The Ismaili, Imamat day Mubarak https://the.ismaili/imamat-day-mubarak-1 (Accessed on July 13, 2017)

[16] Aga Khan Development Network, Historic agreement establishes Global Seat of Ismaili Imamat in Portugal <www.akdn.org/event/historic-agreement-establishes-global-seat-ismaili-imamat-portugal> (Accessed on 12 July 2017)
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://abc13.com/religion/aga-khan-marks-60-years-as-spiritual-leader/2206159/

His Highness the Aga Khan's Diamond Jubilee marks a commitment to improve quality of life

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 07:01AM
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) --
His Highness the Aga Khan's Diamond Jubilee marks his 60th anniversary as the Imam, the spiritual leader, of the Shia Ismaili Muslims around the world.

Celebrations will bring together the global Ismaili community, partners of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and government and faith community leaders in over 25 countries. The Diamond Jubilee celebrates the occasion on July 11 in which the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims 60 years ago, at the age of 20.

Tuesday begins a year of redoubling the Aga Khan's commitment to improve the quality of life of people around the world. His Highness has improved the living conditions for millions of people worldwide over the last six decades in the areas of health, education, cultural revitalization and economic empowerment.

Throughout the yearlong jubilee, the Aga Khan will travel to countries where the AKDN operates to launch new programs that will help alleviate poverty, increase access to finance for education, health, early childhood development, among others.

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<iframe width="476" height="267" src="http://abc13.com/video/embed/?pid=2206241" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Aga Khan marks 60 years as leader of Ismaili Muslims.


"The world we seek is not a world where difference is erased but where difference can be a powerful force for good, helping us to fashion a new sense of cooperation and coherence in our world and to build together a better life for all," he said.

Houstonians began celebrating during the days leading up to the Diamond Jubilee and will partake in a religious ceremony Tuesday. There was a private event for His Highness and the leaders of the Ismaili community, making a historic occasion.

"During the Jubilee year and in the future, poverty alleviation will continue to be a primary area of focus for my Jamat and all the AKDN institutions," said the Aga Khan in the address to the global Ismaili community.

The Tolerance Sculptures along Buffalo Bayou Park and Allen Parkway are a visible gift Houston has received from the Aga Khan. The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center is also a well-recognized venue for civic, cultural and educational programming. Additionally, the Ismaili community works with a variety of programs, including the Houston Food Bank, Citizenship Month, Blue Bonnet Project and Compassion.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.rtl.be/info/monde/international/l-aga-khan-fete-son-jubile-de-diamant-guide-par-l-ethique-sociale-au-coeur-de-l-islam-934896.aspx

http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/l-aga-khan-fete-son-jubile-de-diamant-guide-par-l-ethique-sociale-au-coeur-de-l-islam-11-07-2017-2142283_24.php

L'Aga Khan fête son jubilé de diamant guidé par l'"éthique sociale" au coeur de l'islam

AFP , publié le 11 juillet 2017 à 10h17

Richissime philanthrope, Karim al-Hussaini fête mardi les soixante ans de son titre d'Aga Khan, chef spirituel des musulmans chiites ismaéliens, avec la volonté d'amplifier ses activités caritatives, guidé par une "éthique sociale" au coeur de l'islam, dit-il dans un entretien.

"L'éthique sociale est un principe fort en islam. Et je pense que tous les musulmans seraient bien avisés de respecter cela, comme une éthique fondamentale de notre foi, et de vivre en conformité avec elle", a expliqué Karim Aga Khan IV lors d'une interview téléphonique accordée à quelques médias, dont l'AFP, dans la perspective de ce "jubilé de diamant".

Une "année particulière" au cours de laquelle l'Aga Khan fera d'"importantes annonces" concernant ses oeuvres, ont indiqué ses services.

Le prince Karim est devenu le 11 juillet 1957, à 20 ans, le 49e imam héréditaire de la communauté ismaélienne nizârite, deuxième groupe musulman chiite le plus important, qui revendique aujourd'hui 15 millions de fidèles dans environ 25 pays, notamment en Asie centrale.

Il avait alors succédé à son grand-père, l'Aga Khan III, avec pour mission de développer l'oeuvre déjà considérable de cet aïeul qui créa hôpitaux, logements ou coopératives bancaires pour améliorer le sort des plus vulnérables.

Soixante ans après, l'héritier de 80 ans, doté d'un passeport britannique, se voit toujours accoler une image de membre élégant de la jet-set propriétaire de chevaux de course, une passion héritée de son père qui l'a conduit à faire de la région de Chantilly (Oise) - où il possède le château d'Aiglemont - son fief.

Pourtant le Réseau Aga Khan de développement (AKDN) qu'il a fondé emploie aujourd'hui 80.000 salariés, pèse près d'un milliard de dollars investis chaque année sans but lucratif et regroupe de nombreuses agences intervenant dans la santé, l'éducation, l'architecture, la micro-finance, la prévention des catastrophes... En Asie, en Afrique, au Moyen-Orient, mais aussi dans des pays occidentaux.

En France par exemple, l'Aga Khan a fait savoir qu'il pourrait contribuer au financement de la nouvelle Fondation de l'islam de France, qui a vocation à oeuvrer dans les domaines éducatif et culturel.

- 'Religion de paix' -

Un imam chef d'entreprises, fussent-elles caritatives? Rien d'incompatible pour ce guide spirituel vénéré par ses fidèles, qui le considèrent comme un descendant du prophète Mahomet.

"La nature de l'imamat, en islam, est à la fois théologique et laïque", explique l'Aga Khan, qui y voit un "système de valeurs" unique. Pour lui, l'engagement de l'imam dans les matières profanes vise à "améliorer la qualité de vie des gens".

Maniant un verbe prudent, le chef religieux répugne à aborder les questions de géopolitique, de conflits au Proche et Moyen-Orient, de poussée d'un islam intégriste, de tensions entre musulmans sunnites et chiites.

L'islam n'est pas une confession "de conflit ou de désordre social, c'est une religion de paix", observe-t-il. Il est instrumentalisé dans des situations "essentiellement politiques, mais qui sont présentées, pour diverses raisons, dans un contexte théologique. Ce n'est tout simplement pas correct", estime-t-il.

Interrogé sur la défiance dans certains pays occidentaux à l'égard de l'accueil de migrants en majorité musulmans, l'imam ismaélien invoque un "manque de compréhension de ce qu'est l'islam", religion "monothéiste dont les principes correspondent à ceux des autres grandes confessions".

L'accueil de réfugiés nécessite "empathie et sollicitude", relève l'Aga Khan, qui souligne l'exemple du Canada où les exilés sont les "bienvenus".

L'Aga Khan voit comme premier défi la "réduction de la pauvreté". Pour cela, il insiste sur la nécessité de lutter contre le changement climatique, "menace majeure pour le monde en développement". Et celle d'améliorer l'accès aux "ressources économiques", alors que "notre système bancaire est axé sur la notion de profit plutôt que le soutien social", et que les "entreprises de taille moyenne" sont souvent "sous-financées".
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.nrgui.com/107-opinions/on-ne-vit-pas-que-de-pain/9151-a-lisbonne-l-aga-khan-installe-son-vatican

A Lisbonne, l’Aga Khan installe son « Vatican »

Publié le mercredi 12 juillet 2017 16:26
Écrit par Le Monde


Leader d’une communauté de 15 millions de musulmans, Karim Aga Khan IV établit au Portugal le « saint-siège » des ismaéliens. Le descendant du gendre du Prophète prépare aussi sa succession.




Il y a comme un malentendu persistant entre la familiarité que suscitent l’évocation du seul nom de l’Aga Khan et le parcours du personnage. Riche héritier d’une dynastie musulmane mythique, qui a connu des épisodes tapageurs – dont le mariage de son père, Ali Khan, avec Rita Hayworth en 1949 –, Karim Aga Khan a, en France et dans le monde occidental, l’image d’un milliardaire à la tête d’une écurie de chevaux réputée aux haras du château de Chantilly, et qui n’investirait dans le développement que pour se donner bonne conscience.

Lire aussi : Le business de l’écurie France

Mais l’Aga Khan, c’est d’abord et avant tout un descendant du gendre du prophète Mahomet. Ce 11 juillet, Karim Aga Khan IV, 49e imam de la lignée, sera à l’honneur. Quelque quinze millions de musulmans chiites ismaéliens, agriculteurs ou riches commerçants, médecins ou banquiers, dispersés entre l’Asie, l’Afrique et l’Occident fêteront le 60e anniversaire de son intronisation comme leader spirituel de la communauté. C’était en 1957, Karim Al-Hussaini avait tout juste 20 ans. Il était étudiant à Harvard.

Cette célébration sera l’occasion pour le désormais octogénaire de rappeler son attachement aux valeurs de pluralisme et de responsabilité individuelle de sa communauté. « En islam, les leaders ne sont pas là que pour interpréter la foi. Ils ont une responsabilité pour améliorer la qualité de la vie et des sociétés dans lesquelles vivent leurs fidèles », a-t-il confié au Monde à l’avant-veille des festivités.
Un concordat signé avec le Portugal

En tant que leader spirituel d’une communauté chiite minoritaire, Karim Aga Khan ne prétend pas endosser un « habit papal » pour un monde musulman morcelé et en crise. Mais l’idée d’un concile rassemblant toutes les obédiences l’inspire. Même s’il a conscience des limites d’un tel exercice. « J’ai envoyé des proches étudier les méthodes de médiation qui sont appliquées en Occident dans différents domaines, dit-il. Mais nous constatons que le dialogue entre les musulmans fonctionne mieux au niveau des villages qu’au niveau des Etats à l’heure qu’il est. »

Si dispersée et minoritaire soit-elle depuis plus de 1 200 ans, la communauté ismaélienne est en passe de rayonner à nouveau. Le 3 juin 2015, un accord avait été signé avec le Portugal pour l’installation à Lisbonne d’un siège mondial et permanent de l’« imamat ismaélien » – une sorte de Vatican sans Etat pontifical. « C’est un événement historique dans le sens où une institution théologique musulmane aura son siège dans un Etat laïc chrétien », souligne Karim Aga Khan. Après avoir un temps envisagé de s’installer au Canada, le leader spirituel s’est tourné vers Lisbonne pour son « Saint-Siège », qui emménagera dans le Palacete Henrique Mendonça, un édifice historique à l’architecture remarquable où l’Aga Khan lui-même devrait résider.

« Nous nous sommes inspirés du Concordat qui lie le Vatican et le Portugal », révèle-t-il. En 2015, l’Etat portugais a accepté de signer un concordat avec l’imamat, lui accordant une représentation institutionnelle et diplomatique – une première dans la longue histoire de cette communauté qui ne peut revendiquer aucune patrie. Lisbonne a aussi octroyé des exemptions fiscales importantes, comme à l’Eglise portugaise, notamment sur les biens immobiliers liés au culte et sur nombre de transactions financières.
Au Portugal, la communauté ismaélienne compte 7 000 membres, bien intégrés, souvent urbains et influents.

Le Portugal est un vieux pays de connaissance pour la communauté ismaélienne. Elle s’y est installée dans la foulée des indépendances africaines et indiennes, et y compte aujourd’hui 7 000 membres, bien intégrés, souvent urbains et influents. Depuis 2005, d’importants partenariats ont été signés avec l’Etat portugais, tandis que la collaboration avec l’Eglise catholique a permis le développement d’un programme d’échanges culturels et confessionnels au niveau universitaire, donnant à la présence ismaélienne dans le pays une image d’excellence intellectuelle. Le Portugal, lui, se dit « très intéressé par la venue d’une institution qui affiche un budget de 600 à 900 millions d’euros », selon un ancien ministre portugais.
Œuvrer pour le développement

« L’imamat n’est que l’institution qui lie la communauté ismaélienne à son leader spirituel. Cela n’altérera pas le fonctionnement du réseau de développement de l’Aga Khan », assure Mahmoud Eboo, l’un des hauts responsables religieux des ismaéliens. Ce déménagement ne remet pas en cause l’attachement de Karim Aga Khan à la France. A l’initiative de la Fondation pour la sauvegarde et le développement du domaine de Chantilly, il a longtemps soutenu l’Académie diplomatique internationale à Paris. Des projets qui lui ont valu d’être gratifié, en 2009, par l’ex-ministre de la culture Christine Albanel, du titre de grand donateur et grand mécène. Le prince a également promis récemment de donner un million d’euros à la Fondation de l’islam de France, au titre de la recherche en islamologie.

Fort de cette double identité, où se croisent Orient et Occident, vie mondaine et vie spirituelle, fréquentation des puissants et attention aux plus déshérités, l’ancien étudiant de Harvard a patiemment bâti, en soixante ans, l’un des plus importants réseaux de développement privés au monde : l’Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), qui a des activités en France, en partenariat notamment avec l’Agence française de développement (AFD). Basé à Genève, l’AKDN emploie 80 000 personnes dans une trentaine de pays, et ne cesse de multiplier ses domaines d’activités : lutte contre la pauvreté, accès aux soins de santé, infrastructures, éducation, préservation du patrimoine, soutien à la culture, développement des médias… Sa raison d’être : « Concrétiser, à travers l’activité institutionnelle, la vision éthique de la société inspirée par le message de l’islam. »

Pour Karim Aga Khan, le développement est un monde complexe qu’il aime résumer à travers la figure du tabouret à trois pieds : le premier est économique, le deuxième social, le troisième culturel. Si pour fonctionner, l’AKDN peut compter sur l’argent des fidèles, de donateurs privés et de partenaires comme l’AFD, le bras armé de ce véritable « soft power » est la centaine d’entreprises réunies dans un fonds pour le développement économique, l’Akfed (Aga Khan Fund For Economical Development). Cette structure multinationale a engrangé des recettes de 3,5 milliards de dollars en 2015, dans cinq secteurs – industrie, services financiers, aviation, tourisme, médias. « Ce n’est ni une institution charitable ni un moyen d’enrichissement personnel, assure Karim Aga Khan. Ces investissements ont pour objectif l’amélioration des conditions de vie des personnes concernées par ces activités. »
Enseignement et culture

« C’est certainement dans le domaine de l’enseignement et de la culture que l’action de l’AKDN est la plus exceptionnelle », indique Renaud Ego, journaliste et écrivain connaissant bien le réseau. Après la restauration des jardins de Babour, à Kaboul, ou le réaménagement du parc Al-Azhar, au Caire, le réseau de l’Aga Khan œuvre en Syrie. « Nous avons déjà investi dans les régions pacifiées pour la reconstruction du patrimoine syrien, et nous avons pris la décision de continuer à soutenir tout ce qui relève de la culture dans ce pays. C’est l’un des premiers pays musulmans, avec une histoire unique, on ne peut permettre que les conflits d’aujourd’hui détruisent cette histoire », explique « HH » (His Highness, « Son Altesse »), comme le surnomme son entourage depuis que la reine d’Angleterre lui a conféré ce titre en 1957.

Lire aussi : La Fondation de l’islam de France veut cibler en priorité la jeunesse

Dans un monde musulman en pleines turbulences, ce chef spirituel sans Etat se doit cependant de garder une réserve diplomatique extrême. Ses relations avec les Etats musulmans dépendent de leur tolérance vis-à-vis des minorités – dont les ismaéliens. Dirigé par les alaouites, une autre minorité chiite, l’Etat syrien demeure, concède l’Aga Khan, un interlocuteur plus proche que l’Etat saoudien sunnite, qui fait peu de cas du respect du pluralisme. Il se sent plus proche des pays d’Asie centrale, où les communautés ismaéliennes sont très présentes. Ainsi, en octobre 2016, a-t-il inauguré le premier campus de l’université d’Asie centrale, à Naryn (Kirghizistan), qui s’ajoute au réseau des universités créées par l’Aga Khan en Tanzanie, au Pakistan et dans divers pays d’Afrique et d’Asie. « Nous sommes une institution séculaire et non un institut théologique, même s’il y aura un enseignement des religions comparées », a-t-il déclaré devant la première promotion, qui comptait des Kazakhs athées, des jeunes filles tadjiks ou des réfugiés afghans.
Histoire tourmentée

Planétaire, la communauté ismaélienne a autant de visages que de pays où elle réside. Karim Aga Khan ne cesse de réaffirmer l’engagement non confessionnel des projets de son réseau. Mais son efficacité repose sur l’attachement viscéral des ismaéliens à leur leader spirituel. Lorsqu’il a célébré son jubilé, en 2007, plutôt que de recevoir de somptueux cadeaux – ou, comme son grand-père, son poids en or – il a demandé à ses fidèles de lui offrir leur « temps » et leurs « connaissances » – « Time, knowledge and nazrana [« cadeau », en ourdou]. » Des milliers de volontaires « TKN », médecins, universitaires, ingénieurs, infirmières, architectes, ont ainsi déposé leurs noms dans une base de données, pour aider le réseau. « Je voulais que l’on cesse d’envisager tout sous l’angle de l’argent. On a ainsi mobilisé des ressources humaines extraordinaires », se félicite Karim Aga Khan. « La plupart des “TKN” viennent d’Amérique du Nord, détaille Mahmoud Eboo. Ils ont un haut niveau d’éducation. »

Aujourd’hui plus que jamais, Karim Aga Khan IV entend continuer à incarner une éthique musulmane tolérante, soucieuse de justice et donnant à l’effort intellectuel un rôle essentiel dans le rapprochement des peuples et dans sa foi. Une interprétation de l’islam qui peut désigner sa communauté, chiite, comme cible pour des fondamentalistes sunnites. En témoigne l’attentat contre un autobus transportant une soixantaine d’ismaéliens à Karachi (Pakistan), le 13 mai 2015.

De cette histoire particulièrement tourmentée, Karim Aga Khan IV conserve un principe intangible, talisman de la survie de sa communauté : la discrétion. Ainsi, alors que la question de sa succession commence à se poser depuis qu’il a eu 80 ans, en décembre, rien ne filtrera avant qu’il ne fasse son choix entre ses trois fils pour désigner celui qui sera le cinquantième imam des ismaéliens : le prince Rahim, déjà investi dans le secteur économique de l’AKDN, le prince Hussain, très actif dans la culture, ou le prince Aly Muhammad, qui poursuit ses études. Il leur lèguera un empire économique et confessionnel, puissant et fragile. Les héritiers sauront-ils poursuivre sur la voie de cette modernité mâtinée de tradition dans laquelle s’est engagé leur père ?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.diplomaticourier.com/2017/07/11/dialogue-civilizations-aga-khan-celebrates-60-years-bridge-building


Dialogue of Civilizations: Aga Khan Celebrates 60 Years of Bridge-Building

July 11, 2017
Written by Ana C. Rold

In a 1993 article titled “The Clash of Civilizations” Samuel P. Huntington argued that in the post-Cold War world, Islamic extremism would become the biggest threat to world peace. The essay has become sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. All you need to do to validate it is to turn on the internet or wherever you get your 24/7 “news”. Famously, the journal that published the essay also published a series of other essays sparking the debate: are we or are we not in the midst of a Clash?

Why bring up Huntington today? If you want to look for how the Clash is affecting worldviews you need not look further than President Trump’s speech in Poland last week. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” he said. “Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” If you read and watch the news with the same round-the-clock voracity that most of us do, it’s easy to see that public perception is divided: those who believe the West is in imminent danger from this Clash and those who believe in dialogue.

As His Highness, the Aga Khan celebrates a Diamond Jubilee today—60th year as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims—we are reminded that interfaith bridges of understanding are not the kind of stories that you hear about every day. Indeed, the 24/7 news cycle is not built to tell “soft news.” But if you fall into the camp of those who seek a world of bridges, you should know about the man who has been building them since he was a 21-year-old. The Aga Khan calls the clash of civilizations a “clash of mutual ignorance.” In his words: “The world we seek is not a world where difference is erased but where difference can be a powerful force for good, helping us to fashion a new sense of cooperation and coherence in our world and to build a better life for all.”

The post-colonial world saw a West disinterested in Asia and Africa. But the Aga Khan saw opportunity in human capital. He founded the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to empower communities in these regions to help themselves. What does that mean?

Take Tajikistan, for example. In an interview with Diplomatic Courier, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation USA, Aleem Walji, told me of the Foundation’s work in the country as a prime example of development done right. In the 1990s Tajikistan was caught up in conflict and was considered a fragile state. “Over two decades, we created an ecosystem for development,” explains Walji. “We invested in education, infrastructure, broadband, language, and building the capacity of an entire generation of Tajiks.” The investment has been transformative for the region, translating to “youth that are not susceptive to many of the trends that are happening in other parts of the Muslim world…(because) they have access to economic opportunity and social inclusion.”

How massive is this effort?

“We are not trying to boil the ocean,” says Walji. “We work in sub-geographies, with communities and projects we feel we can have the most impact on…through a massive voluntary infrastructure on top of our 80,000 employees.” Not a small feat. The Foundation along with AKDN operate more than 200 health care institutions, two universities in six countries, and 200 schools and school improvement programs in very poor and remote parts of the world.

Inspired by the Islamic ethic of compassion and responsibility to care for the needy, AKDN is working to build an all-encompassing civil society that addresses the needs of vulnerable populations. AKDN has broad mandates including, health, education, architecture, microfinance, disaster reduction, rural development, the promotion of private-sector enterprise, and the revitalization of historic cities. “Our objective is to always fill gaps where public and private institutions are weak or absent,” explains Wajli “but to do it in a way that is building capacity and always alongside governments and private sector.”

We have a tendency to talk about peace in the context of conflict; to talk about health in the context of disease. But that which keeps us healthy is very different from what we need in order to stop pathology when we get sick. Indeed, in tackling our world’s biggest issues, we can look at the pathology or we can look at prevention. According to Walji: “If we look at the broader trend lines, quality of life has improved all over the world.” Maternal and child mortality rates have fallen dramatically compared to 20-30 years ago. So have mortality rates from diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. Although Wajli is modest in his assessment, Aga Khan and his network of development have employed this kind of thinking from the start. Now, we see many organizations following the logic that every citizen has a responsibility to play a productive role in society. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are precisely about that: individuals—not just governments—are empowered to bring about positive change.

This message may get lost in the news shuffle today. “The perceived levels of misunderstanding and mistrust between the Muslim World and certain parts of the West is at the forefront of what we see,” says Wajli. “I think it’s very unfortunate because the headlines don’t really capture what’s happening in the majority of the Muslim World and amongst Muslims.”

Even though the state of the world is improving and mind-boggling technological advancements are making life easier and better, we’ve become captive to our own views. We go to our comfort zones in digital communication wastelands not for dialogue but to reinforce our version of reality. The Aga Khan’s programs and investments are deeds that demonstrate the power of the dialogue of civilizations over the past 50+ years. His success should propel a new generation of bridge builders.

Photo credit: Education for Marginalized Children in Kenya’s (EMACK) Whole School approach engages parents and community stakeholders in children’s learning processes, develops a community of reading, and supports identification of school challenges and solutions by School Management Committees. These girls attend Our Lady of Nazareth Primary School, which has received support from the project. Photo by AKDN/Lucas Cuervo Moura.

About the author: Ana C. Rold is Founder and CEO of Diplomatic Courier. She teaches political science courses at Northeastern University and is the Host of The World in 2050–A Forum About Our Future. To engage with her on this article follow her on Twitter @ACRold.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/216352-The-Aga-Khans-legacy

The Aga Khan’s legacy

The News, Pakistan

July 14, 2017

The Ismaili community across the world is celebrating the diamond jubilee of their beloved spiritual leader Prince Karim Aga Khan IV with zeal. In 1957, 20-year-old Prince Karim Aga Khan succeeded his late grandfather as the leader of the Ismaili community, which now has 15 million followers globally.

The Ismailis, rejecting all forms of violence and extremism, are known as the most peace-loving people and this was especially true under the leadership of Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, who has spent 60 years promoting quality education, advocating tolerance and empowering the community.

In his message on Imamat Day, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that: “The Aga Khan has used his role to advance global humanitarian causes, helping to support sustainable development and poverty reduction projects and enhance civil society and education around the world”.

The Aga Khan – whose roots can be traced to the Egyptian and Persian empires – has enjoyed cordial relations with the elite classes of various countries. Even in British India, the Viceroy of India had formally recognised the title ‘Aga Khan’ for Prince Karim’s predecessors in 1887.

Aga Khan I, whose real name was Hasan Ali Shah, was also awarded the status of ‘Prince’ by the British government and he was the only religious community leader in British India who was granted a gun salute. After his demise, Aqa Ali Shah, who became Aga Khan II, played a pivotal role in maintaining close relations with other communities.

Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, who succeeded Aqa Ali Shah as Aga Khan III, was one of the most active and dynamic leaders of the Pakistan Movement and a close aide of Quaid-e-Azam. He was also one of the founders and the first president of the All-India Muslim League (AIML). He was a strong supporter of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s vision that the Muslims of India should first focus on strengthening their economic conditions through education before entering politics. In this regard, he also offered the Aga Khan Foreign Scholarship for talented Muslim students at Aligarh University.

After the creation of Pakistan, Aga Khan III, on the request of the then prime minister Feroz Khan Noon, purchased Gwadar from Oman and gifted it to Pakistan. Gwadar is now considered to be a game-changer for the region due to CPEC.

In 1957, at the age of 20, Aga Khan IV Prince Shah Karim Al Husseini succeeded his grandfather as 49th Imam of the Ismaili community. He also inherited his grandparent’s positive agenda that was based on tolerance and serving mankind. As a British citizen who was born in Switzerland, raised in Kenya, educated at Harvard and lived in a French chateau, the life of Aga Khan IV is a shimmering example of pluralism and global harmony.

In the 1970s, when racial discrimination was on the rise in the African continent, Ugandan nationalist leader Idi Amin began expelling people of Asian descent from the country. The then prime minister of Canada, in response to the Aga Khan’s request, accepted as many as 7,000 Ugandan Asians as refugees on humanitarian grounds. The specific incident reflects the extent to which the Western world trusted the Aga Khan. The refugees from Uganda later played a pivotal role in bringing prosperity to Canada’s pluralist society.

In another incident, Prince Karim Aga Khan decided to raise the standard of living through education during his first visit to Gilgit-Baltistan. Today, the literacy rate of Gilgit-Baltistan is the highest across Pakistan. He also founded the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which operates in more than 35 countries across the globe. The AKDN agencies are active in the spheres of education, health, rural development, institution-building and economic development.

The Aga Khan looks after various welfare initiatives as well. Through the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, he is taking steps to preserve Islamic heritage sites, particularly the historical buildings belonging to the Fatimid Dynasty in Egypt, the tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun and the ancient city of Agra in India. The Aga Khan is truly a role model. I drew inspiration from him and founded the Pakistan Hindu Council in 2005 to serve my community.

The international community has also announced various awards for Prince Karim Aga Khan. Around 50 countries have conferred national awards on him while leading universities across the world have also awarded honorary degrees to him.

The reason behind the respect that the Aga Khans have earned is their ability to serve mankind by making the best use of their wealth. On the occasion of the diamond jubilee celebrations, we must request him to serve as a bridge between the Muslim world and the West.



The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elucidation by Mahebub Chatur

DIAMOND JUBILEE - IMAMAT DAY HOMAGE CEREMONY ON 11 JULY 2017

For complete text, download the pdf from

www.ismaili.net/timeline/2017/homage-ceremony-loyalty-11-july-2017.pdf


M Eboo also said on behalf of the Jamat "Hazar Imam, noble descendant and heir of the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Ali, on this auspicious day marking 60 glorious years of your Imamat, we bow to you. You are our Mawla, you are our Ali"

For complete text, download the pdf from

www.ismaili.net/timeline/2017/homage-ceremony-loyalty-11-july-2017.pdf

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A rare interview with the Aga Khan on poverty, climate change, and demystifying Islam

His Highness Prince Karim, the Aga Khan, is many things.

“Virtually a one-man state,” as Vanity Fair once put it, he’s the spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims and a unique embodiment of the potential for East blending with West. He inherited from his Indian-born grandfather a dynasty that spans the Muslim world, but he is a British citizen, born in Switzerland, raised in Kenya, educated at Harvard, and lives in a French chateau.

A reported descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, he has dedicated his life to fighting poverty and heads one of the world’s most active development foundations, reaching millions of people in 35 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East each year via the Aga Khan Development Network.

At the same time, he is the billionaire owner of a private Caribbean island, a mega-yacht, and a stable of thoroughbred racehorses whose success is the envy of many of the monarchs, aristocrats, and heads of state that he counts among his high-society friends. Dubbed a “playboy” by the British papers, he recently divorced his second wife after a 10-year legal battle.
One thing the Aga Khan is not, however, is a willing interviewee. The media-shy Prince Karim—known as “K” to friends and “His Highness” to everyone else—avoids the press whenever he can. But when one reaches the 60th year of heading an Imamate, as Prince Karim does today, then needs must.
And so, your correspondent recently found himself on a call with His Highness and four other reporters from outlets around the world. As a de facto head of a state with no territory, whose people are spread across dozens of countries, the Aga Khan avoids directly tackling sensitive political subjects and generally steers clear of speaking about world leaders by name. He ended the call by noting that “my comments can’t be as complete as I might want them to be.”
It was with an impressively eloquent vagueness—and the odd moment of rambling—that the 80-year-old leader touched on topics like the fairness of the Western financial system, the links between climate change and poverty, and the need for pluralism in this ethnically charged world. Quartz then spoke with Mahmoud Eboo, his representative to Canada and chair of the Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum, to untangle and expand on Prince Karim’s stances.
Pluralism as the path to peace and development

The Aga Khan has chosen the promotion of pluralism—which he defines as “equity towards all peoples and backgrounds”—as one of the central themes of his Diamond Jubilee year. He argues that the countries his foundation works with are historically pluralist and suffer now from ethnic and religious divides stoked by colonialism. “I’m old enough to recollect colonial situations where colonial powers on purpose separated the ethnic groups in a given country in order to maintain rule,” he says. “That inherited situation needs to be dealt with.”

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https://qz.com/1025313/a-rare-interview-with-the-aga-khan-on-poverty-climate-change-and-demistifying-islam/
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