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CANADA 2008 Padhramni, Event, News and Testimonies
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TORONTO, Nov. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - McMaster University and Aga Khan
University will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Saturday, November 22, 2008, to deepen and extend a quarter-century partnership between the two institutions and relevant faculties.

His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of Aga Khan University, and The
Honourable Beverly J. Oda, Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, will preside over the signing of the agreement. Mr. Firoz Rasul, President of Aga Khan University and Dr. Peter George, President of McMaster University will sign on behalf of their respective institutions.

The Ceremony will take place at: 10:00 AM EST at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto on the 19th floor.

Under the agreement, the two universities will establish a programme of
academic and scientific exchange in areas of interest and benefit to both
institutions, including health sciences, sciences, social sciences, business
and the humanities.

The collaboration between the two universities dates back to the 1980s,
when McMaster and AKU, with the support of the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC), joined in the creation of a high-quality school of nursing that would strengthen front-line health care in Pakistan and the region, while expanding professional opportunities for women.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aga Khan visit a key event for Ismaili council

Brooke Larsen
Burnaby Now

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A big day for Burnaby's Ismaili Muslim community is just around the corner.

The Aga Khan comes to B.C. Place Stadium Nov. 25, part of his Golden Jubilee visit.

Farid Damji, a volunteer with the Ismaili Council of B.C., said the Burnaby-based council plans to shuttle local residents to B.C. Place.

It's estimated that close to half of B.C.'s 20,000 Ismailis live in Burnaby.

"It's a very special event for the community," Damji said in an interview.

"(The Aga Khan) is a direct descendent of the prophet Mohammed. It's a tradition that goes back 1,400 years."

It's not known how many people will use the shuttle service, Damji said, adding plans are still being finalized.

"Many of them will shuttle or drive their cars or take transit," he added.

The Aga Khan's visit marks the 50th anniversary since he became the spiritual leader of the Ismaili faith.

He became Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims on July 11, 1957 at age 20.

The Canadian portion of his world tour runs Nov. 18 to 25 and Dec. 5 to 6.

Damji said "several thousand" people attend the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Burnaby each week.

The centre has boards that operate in the areas of health, education, youth, women's development, arts and culture, economic planning and social welfare.

"It's really a place of prayer and congregation," Damji said, adding citizenship courses and Metro Vancouver board meetings have also been held there.

The Aga Khan last came to Vancouver in 2005.

© Burnaby Now 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OTTAWA 18 NOV. 2008

YAM to all of you!

I just wanted to share with you all my wonderful memories and experience of welcoming Mowlana Hazer Imam yesterday to Ottawa.

The jamat was asked to arrive to Landsdown park Civic Centre (where we are having our off site JK for now) at 3:00pm. The evening before President Saheba had said that they were going to make a special request to President Manji that Hazer Imam's motorcade pass through the parking lot of Landsdown so that the jamat would be able to welcome. Approximately 700 jamati members, which consisted of the Ottawa Jamat, and members of Bellville, Kingston, Montreal and Toronto jamats gathered in the Civic Centre to patiently wait for news about Hazer Imam's arrival.

At 4:30pm the seniors were led out to their waiting area and the jamat was requested to start heading out to their waiting area. For those seniors who were less mobile and needed more assistance, the organizers had a bus ready for them to take them to their spot and when it was full, jamati members were asked to help drive seniors in their cars. The seniors were then allowed to wait in the bus until just a few minutes before the motorcade was going to pass. Chairs were als setup for them so they didn't have to stand.

Volunteers were lined up like a barracade to help the jamat get to there waiting positions as well. At approximatly 5:00pm, all the jamat and volunteers were in position, anxiously waiting for the motorcade to pass. Even though it was bitterly cold and the wind was blowing, everyone (all 700) were in great spirits and there was not one person that didn't have a smile on their face. The most interesting part about this was that the snow was falling, but nothing was landing on the people or the ground. The ground was dry! Between 5:00 and 5:20 updates on Hazer Imam's status were being relayed to the jamat who had by now formed on long line along the route that the motorcade would be travelling.

At 5:25 (i think, it was difficult to keep time) it was told to us that the motorcade would be arriving at any moment. Seniors were in their postitions and everyone had their My Flags and Canadian flags flying high! From the corner of our eyes we could see the police cars blocking the roads and then all of a sudden there was a police car entering the parking lot and behind it was Hazer Imam's car. His car slowed down to a complete stop at the entrance, at which point the lights were turned on in the car and window was rolled down. Hazer Imam's car then drove ever so slowly along the route. Hazer Imam waved to each and every murid and had a huge smile that could light up the room. He looked immensly happy! The jamat was cheering, tears were flowing and flags were flying high! Within what felt like 30 seconds, MHI's car drove along the route and then exited from the other end of the parking lot.

The jamat was cheering and huggin and Mumbaraki's were being conveyed to all. Volunteers quickly guided the jamat back into the halls where tears were freely flowing and sweets were being handed out. The feeling in the hall was so vibrante and was filled with so much happiness and excitment. The one thing that a lot of people were saying was that when the motorcade came into the parking lot, the weather was forgotten and everyone was feeling warm.

For me, it was an experince of a life time and memories that will last me forever. The smile on my face is still there and will be forever! I hope I was able to bring a smile on your face as well. You were all in my thoughts at all times.

Please feel free to share this with others!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thousands expected for Aga Khan's visit in Calgary

Graeme Morton
Canwest News Service

Saturday, November 22, 2008
CREDIT: Jean Levac for Ottawa Citizen
The Aga Khan, in a visit to Ottawa's Rideau Hall on November 19.

CALGARY - Calgary's close-knit Ismaili Muslim community is on pins and needles in anticipation of Sunday's visit by the Aga Khan, spiritual leader for the world's 15 million Ismailis.

The Aga Khan, who began his weeklong Canadian tour in Ottawa on Nov. 18, will fly into Calgary Sunday evening.

The 24-hour Calgary stop, his first visit here in 16 years, will include a meeting with Lt.-Gov. Norm Kwong.

But for Calgary Ismailis, the highlight will be the Aga Khan's gathering with the community on Monday afternoon. More than 14,000 faithful are expected to pack the venue for his address, a prayer session and social gathering.

"There are about 10,000 Ismailis in Calgary and we're expecting more than 3,000 to come down from Edmonton and many others from across the Prairie provinces," says local community spokeswoman Sameera Sereda.

"This is a huge event for our community. Everyone is extremely excited. I'm sure he will share with us guidance on both spiritual and worldly matters," adds Sereda.

For the Mahjor family, who came to Calgary from Afghanistan seven years ago, the chance to see their imam in person is creating sleepless anticipation.

"Because of the ongoing dangers in our homeland, we were never able to see the Aga Khan in person," says Jamila Mahjor.

She notes the couple's four children, who range in age from five to 12, are among the estimated 3,000 local volunteers who have been assigned various tasks leading up to and during the Aga Khan's visit.

"Our youngest (five-year-old Arash) is going to be handing out bags for people to put their shoes in as they enter the hall," says Mahjor.

Amin Mahjor, who was working in Russia when his family was first sponsored to come to Calgary in 2001, says life under the Taliban was difficult for Afghanistan's Ismaili Muslims.

"They closed our prayer centres. We weren't able to practice our faith in public. We believe in equality between men and women and the Taliban didn't like that," says Amin.

Amin says the Aga Khan, who turns 72 in December, has been a great role model for all Ismailis in both spiritual and secular life.

The Aga Khan Development Network has spearheaded economic, educational and humanitarian initiatives in many Third World countries.

The Calgary visit is part of an extended global celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Aga Khan's leadership of the Ismaili community.

The Aga Khan will fly out of Calgary late Monday for Vancouver, the final stop on his Canadian tour.

Calgary Herald

© Calgary Herald 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Hello All those could not make to come Toronto for Deedar

First Mubaraki to you all .

Hazar Imam arrived at Rogers Centre (Sky Dome) & 3. pm noon.
Jamat had gathered early morning.

It was Full Sky Dome wiith Happy Ismaili Murids from all over the World.
33 Countries Ismaili Murid came for Deedar
Approx 35 - 40 Thousand Saturday Deedar.

Hazar Imam was very happy, and entered with the GJ Robe.
Hazar Imam took about 15 minutes going round the jamat & blessing Khanavadan Khanavadan,
Then Mowla came to the Throne.
Then Ayaat was said, and Ginan recited Haith no Maravado.

Hazar imam's face was lit up with Noor, smiling looking all sides & smiling. There was Noor Noor every where.
Then Kasida was recited.

Chain, Thal Sufro etc was presented to Hazar Imam. Accepting all with Khanavadan.

Hazar imam came to the mike and was smiling, Hazar Imam said Today is Darbar GJ Day, a Day of Happiness, and I want you all to be happy smiling and laughing that is what is Darbar all about. Jamat laughed with Hazar Imam. Hazar Imam said I like to have fun and laugh with my Jamat, but first will talk about serious matters.

Said Economy is going to be bad, exercise caution in spending and be wise. when difficult time is over you can again enjoy what you were doing,but at this time havre to use your judgement.

Hazar Imam concerned about Poor countries, and would not like to see "My jamat poor".

THanked the Government of Canada & Provincial Government for their Support and Hospitality. then Hazar Imasm said when I was entering the Darbar the Ramp on the wall said "LOADING ZONE" now I donot load anything, and hazar Imam laughed & the Jamat Laughed too.

Hazar Imam said I am leaving with no Loading, jamat laughed with mowla.

Hazar Imam blessed the Jamat for Mushkilassan, happiness, unity in the family,barakat,and all your wishes fulfil blessings for Ruhani s. and said I want you to be very happy and have smiles on your face and laugh with joy.

Hazar Imam blessed Abe Safa,then The National Council President gave a speech and pledged Loyalty
to Hazar Imam on behalf of the Jamat.
President presented a gift (didnot get to know) and Vice President present a Tray which Hazar Imam took
some time reading and accepted the gifts (will let u know what it was )
The stage Darbar was beautiful Unique one then all other I have been.
Gold Screen, Gold Chair , White Carpet and White diff kinds of Flowers.
Liiking at the staduim, nobody woukd believe this is stadium where hokey is played.

it was transformed into a Palace.

Hazar Imam left darbar and again took round the whole staduim and blessed the Jamat Present.

Hazar Imam was greeted outside by Non Ismaili Spouses and Mowla took time talking to them and shaking hands and signig autographs. It was beautiful to see Hazar Imam taking so much interest talking to them.
well this is all I can rember now played rasda dandiya am tired,
Had Biriyani Samosas Icecream etc etc. lots and lots of food.
Remembered yiu all in my prayers during Deedar. Mubaraki to you
loves & Loves
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LEFT Photo: 2008, November 22: CANADA VISIT - . The Aga Khan presided with Honourable Beverly J. Oda over the signing in Toronto of a Memorandum of Understanding between McMaster University and the Aga Khan University (AKU), which has campuses and programmes in eight countries in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Mr Firoz Rasul and Dr Peter George signed on behalf of their respective institutions. (Photo: Heritage Staff)

Later that morning, The Aga Khan meet with The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. A special meeting was held in the afternoon at the Rogers Center with his community comprising of members from 33 countries. (Photo: Heritage Staff)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Updates from

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Mawlana Hazar Imam and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at Queens Park. Photo: Gary Otte

This morning, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Aga Khan University and McMaster University, which addresses objectives shared by both institutions in the health sciences, the social sciences, humanities and in business. The Memorandum was signed by McMaster University President, Dr. Peter George, and President Firoz Rasul of the Aga Khan University, in the presence of Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Bev Oda, and Mawlana Hazar Imam.

In his address, President George noted that Mawlana Hazar Imam “has been a shining example of the enlightened world leader, a man with a deep interest and investment in redefining the potential of the developing world through advancements in the fundamental pillars of human security and achievement – health care, education and cultural enrichment.”

Later, Mawlana Hazar Imam called on the Premier of the Province of Ontario, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, at Queens Park.

In the afternoon, thousands of murids gathered at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, where Mawlana Hazar Imam granted the first of four historic Golden Jubilee Darbars in Canada.

Additional photos are available in the gallery. Also see the video of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s arrival in Ottawa. Further details on Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Canada will continue to be posted at

Friday, 21 November 2008

Attorney General Chris Bentley and MPP Reza Moridi welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam to Toronto. Photo: Gary Otte

Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived at Pearson International Airport in Toronto this evening. He was received on behalf of the Government of Ontario by the Honourable Chris Bentley, Attorney General of Ontario, and Reza Moridi, MPP.

Mayor Frank Scarpitti of Markham and Jamati institutional leaders were also present at the airport to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aga Khan holds up Canada as model for the world

Don Cayo
Canwest News Service

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CREDIT: Jean Levac for Ottawa Citizen
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Micha?lle Jean, Governor General of Canada, officially welcomes His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, November 19, 2008.

TORONTO - What may often sound to Canadians like a discordant cacophony of voices from our diverse cultures and interest groups is apparently music to the ears of the Aga Khan.

In an exclusive interview on Sunday with Canwest News Service, the hereditary leader of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims held up Canada - a country he has visited often and has maintained a close relationship with throughout his 50-year reign - as a model with much to teach the world.

Not that the Aga Khan, long a champion of the urgent need for pluralism in every society, thinks the rest of the world can be, should be or wants to be just like us. The lesson is not to export a cookie-cutter replica of our society, but rather it's in our method - the way Canadians have learned to craft workable accommodations for the huge diversity of our citizens.

The absence of pluralism is, in his view, a root cause of much of the world's discord. About 40 per cent of the countries in the UN are what he calls "failed democracies" - countries where ethnic or tribal concerns routinely trump the greater good.

The idea of including those who are outside a core group doesn't come naturally to the human species, he said. It is learned.

Canada, he said, "can do an enormous amount" to impart the lesson of its success.

"You have, as far as I can tell, made a wise divide between the economics of the country and the politics of the country," he said.

"There is a respect for the notion that economic management today is a science. It's not a political football."

In addition, "You have created a democratic context in which various groups feel comfortable. You have created a genuine pluralist society, and you have looked for leadership in all your groups. That leadership, which is very diverse, gives all these groups a sense of comfort."

Conversely, "If you look at African states or Asian states you can see that there are communities that have been totally marginalized, whether they have competent individuals or not."

There is, perhaps, no better modern-day example to illustrate both sides of that coin than the story of his Ismaili followers replanting their roots in Canada.

In 1957, when he inherited the title of 49th Ismaili imam from his grandfather, Canada had but one Ismaili citizen - Safar Ali Ismaily, who had immigrated here just five years before. This number scarcely grew, with only a tiny trickle of newcomers until 1972 when a flood of about 6,000 refugees arrived from East Africa after their expulsion from newly independent Uganda and the seizure of their assets in Tanzania and Kenya.

But as much as their departures were driven by strife, their arrival has proved to be an uncommon success. Canadian Ismailis have grown to an economically successful community of nearly 100,000, which has maintained an abiding attachment to its members faith and institutions while also engaging vigorously in broader society.

Their initial success was facilitated by the intervention of the Aga Khan himself with his friend, then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who helped pave the way for the diaspora.

It was also helped, he said, by the fact that they spoke English and most were well educated - advantages not enjoyed by many other immigrant groups who have fled to Canada from other parts of the world.

As a Muslim leader, the Aga Khan took care to explain, his role differs from religious leaders in the Judeo-Christian tradition in that his duty includes addressing quality-of-life issues for his followers, not just spiritual matters.

In his role as a temporal leader, he moves as an equal among world leaders, but he has no country.

His followers are spread among 25 countries, many of them fragile or in turmoil. As a minority in the Shia tradition, which is itself a minority in the Muslim faith, Ismailis have often been persecuted and many remain vulnerable in some of the countries where they live.

The success enjoyed by Canadian Ismailis - landing in an open, pluralistic country where they are free to practice their faith and to prosper - isn't in the cards for most who remain in these difficult circumstances.

"If you look at the Ismaili community, or any other community that's as diverse, it's unrealistic to expect that hundreds of thousands of people will ever be able to move from a country like Pakistan, or India, or Afghanistan to the West. That's not realistic.

"Therefore, we are actually committed to try to improve what happens there."

That commitment is manifest through the Aga Khan Development Network. This is a complex web of affiliated non-profit agencies and profit-seeking (but, he stressed, not profit-driven) companies that seek to establish stability and progress in places where there is little or none. Although these agencies focus on countries where Ismailis live, they work with people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds.

The network is funded in part by the Aga Khan's personal wealth, both inherited and built through his business acumen, as well as the tithes of its followers. But it also has non-Ismaili supporters, and it collaborates extensively with other agencies. They include CIDA, the aid arm of the Canadian government, which he singled out as a particularly significant and long-standing partner.

The Aga Khan was in Toronto as part of an eight-day visit to Canada in celebration of his 50th jubilee. The visit includes high-level meetings with a variety of Canadian leaders as well as celebrations with his followers. He started the visit in Ottawa, he will visit Calgary on Monday, and he will end the tour in Vancouver on Tuesday.

Vancouver Sun

© Canwest News Service 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

McMaster, Aga Khan continue partnership

Officials with McMaster University and Pakistan's Aga Khan University will sign an agreement to continue their decades-long partnership today.

The collaboration between the two schools started shortly after the AKU was founded in the early 1980s.

In addition to exchanges of faculty and students, McMaster president Peter George said the two institutions collaborated on the construction of Aga Khan's nursing school in Pakistan in the 1980s.

The partnership also led to the creation of a woman and health leadership program in the 1990s.

"We have worked on expanding programs in a number of fields," he said, adding scientific exchanges in business and sciences will continue.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiritual leader brings out followers' emotions

Stephane Massinon
Calgary Herald

Monday, November 24, 2008

With tears in his eyes and his voice quivering, Nash Jetha speaks quietly when asked why he came to see the Aga Khan's arrival Sunday night in Calgary.

"I am here for the greatest moment of my life," he answers.

Having never had the opportunity to see the Ismaili spiritual leader in person, he said just being in the presence of his holiness was incredible.

"Emotionally, it was overwhelming. Since I was a young boy, he has always been our pillar," said Jetha, who came from Edmonton to be at the arrival.

"It's hard to describe. I am from Africa and we were uprooted from there and came to Canada. He's been there all the time. He's taken care of us."

Jetha was one of 300 Ismailis to be at a private airport hangar Sunday night where the spiritual leader arrived. The Aga Khan is touring Canada as part of his jubilee celebrations.

The gathered crowd -- after fits of false starts, nervous laughter and palpable excitement -- fell completely silent as the Aga Khan walked in, shook a few hands and received a gift from the mayor.

The crowd waived as he walked toward the Cadillac that awaited him and again toward the car as he left.

Many hugged after the event that lasted perhaps a few minutes.

The Aga Khan is the imam for the world's 15 million Shiite Imami Ismaili Muslims, of which there are an estimated 10,000 in Calgary.

As part of his celebrations, he plans to pay official visits to 35 countries.

Mayor Dave Bronconnier presented him with artwork from Calgary-area artist Mark Gibeau. It was a bowl representing the faces of diversity.

"The Ismaili community is a very strong component of the fabric of

Calgary. It's incredible in terms of the volunteering they do, everything from the Stampede float to the homeless to building affordable housing units in the community of Mayland Heights," said the mayor.

"This is an important visit with the spiritual leader arriving here today," Bronconnier said.

The big event will take place today when an anticipated crowd of 14,000 people will gather at the Roundup Centre for an address from the 77-year old Geneva, Switzerland-born, Harvard-educated leader.

For Jetha, who will be in attendance, it will be momentous.

"We feel that wherever he puts his foot down, it's a blessing for us," he said.

© The Calgary Herald 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aga Khan takes a personal interest in empowering women
Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, November 24, 2008

There are Golden Jubilee flags flying high in our great city this week denoting the visit of the great spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community, the Aga Khan.

The Aga Khan is a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. In keeping with the Shia tradition of Islam, the mandate of the Imam extends to both spiritual and worldly matters.
Through the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of agencies provides catalysts for development through their mandates that range from health and education to architecture, microfinance, disaster reduction, rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalization of historic cities.

I personally owe him gratitude, as he has provided me with numerous tools to be able to elevate my standard of living. He has provided me with an excellent education. He built kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools in Kampala, Uganda, where I was able to learn English and obtain a solid education. He took such care of these initiatives; I know he personally supervised the selection of teachers sent to Uganda.

He has empowered Shia Ismaili Muslim women by providing them with a base level of education and then elevating them further by offering them access to university education. Today in his institutions women are appointed to senior positions and given great responsibilities. For the most part, Ismaili women have achieved equality because of his beliefs, vision and work.

In 1978 he guided us to make Canada our home.

I would like to thank and salute him for helping me to truly become a Canadian, and for the ability to reap all the benefits this life has provided.

Mobina Jaffer

Senator for British Columbia

© The Vancouver Sun 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My account of the Deedar/Darbar experience.

Here you go Shehnaz. Please do share this with everytone you know. Also, please note that I have not bothered with spelling or grammar. I was just writing as things came to my mind.

Toronto Darbar, Saturday, November 22nd. 3:00 pm. at Rogers' Centre (formerly Skydome). This stadium is used to play baseball and football (American football). Someone erroneously suggested it is meant for hockey. It is not.

The whole experience was EXTREMELY wonderful. The council made sure that everything was taken care of for ALL murids. They had luxury buses for people from Ottawa, Montreal and other jamats who were coming to Toronto. We left our home at about 9am and parked our car at the Exhibition Place parking. There were shuttle buses waiting to take us to the darbar site. Everyone in the bus was dressed so nicely and was happy and greeting each other.

Hazar Imam was supposed to arrive at 3pm. We got to the Rogers' Centre at about 10am and it was already 60% filled! We got a nice spot just a little to the right of the the entire stage was in front of us. There were 6 big screen projectors setup and many LCD television sets through the hall. Rogers' Centre isn't normally a very good place for an event like this but one thing I noticed was how intimate it was. Because of it's shape (circular), it felt very intimate. Unlike the Direct Energy Centre or Toronto International Centre which are retangular, this location seemed different in a very nice way. The stage was beautiful! It was large, simple yet very elegant. The volunteers were trying to get everyone to sit on the carpeted area (the playing field). However, there was just no more room, so they had to open up the 100 level seats for older people and people who came really late

The Intezar program was very nice with lots of appropriately selected ginans and zikar tasbihs. The Jamat was VERY WELL behaved. I compare this to the 2005 Deedar when I felt (and a lot of other people did too) that the Jamat wasn't very well behaved. I think the Waezeens prepared the jamat very well a few days in advance. The intezar program started at 12noon. One hour before HI was supposed to come, the entire Jamat was seated in its place with very little movement. About 10-15 minutes before the Imam's arrival, (apprx. 2:45 - 2:50) the Jamat was asked to sit quitely and await HI's arrival in the hall. There are accounts that there was 30000 - 40000 murids in the hall and IT WAS QUITE. This part was so amazing....there was "pin-drop" silence. We were told the Salwats will start as soon as HI enters the halll.

HI's motorcade arrived at about 2:52pm (as usual, panctual) and we could see this on the screens they had set-up. Then at about 3:07, HI entered the hall. Right away you could tell He was very happy. He was smiling and blessing the jamat. He continued His customary walk for about 10-13 minutes and arrived at the stage.

There were the following recitations:

Quran ayat + meaning
Ginan - Ya Ali Khoob Mijals
Qaseeda - Khushamdeed
Address and homage by the President of the Canadian council, Mohammed Manji, on behalf of all the countries represented at the Darbar (33 countries)

Then HI stood up and gave His firman. Here is the gist of the Firman. I was too 'involved' with the present moment to remember everything He said.

He started off by blessing the Jamat. I know that for a long time, HI stopped giving His 'Paternal, Maternal" blessings in His firmans. He used to do this long, long time ago. Also, I don't remember if He gave His 'Paternal, Maternal" blessings in any of the other GJ firmans....however, I could be wrong. But here, in Toronto, during the Saturday deedar, He gave His "....most affectionate, paternal, maternal loving blessings"....for various things. He thanked the gov. of Canada and Ontario. He specially blessed the volunteers for making the arrangements for the outside Jamats....outside of Toronto and the International jamat.

Right away, He said a Darbar is an occasion of happiness and of rejoicing and He said later on, at the end of the Firman, he was going to share some humour with us. He said that Islam is a faith of happiness and of joy....not just the serious things. And it makes Him happy to see the jamat smiling. So he said he was going to share some humour with us and said we should all (the jamat and the Imam) should laugh together. "But first", he said, "we should talk about some serious matters."

Then He talked about the economy. He said the future is "unpredictable". We need to be careful and not invest in assets that may not give us adequate returns. Then He said/asked what can be done during this "unpredictable times"? He asnwered by saying people should work together in their professional and business ventures. He said this will help us ride out the bad economic times as well as create a framework to work together even after the economy has steadied itself.

Then He talked about Din/Duniya. The need to have a balance between the two.

Then He talked about activites that are not in line with our ethical values and value system. He laughed and called these activities "frivolous activities". (frivolous = self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose). Again, with a smile, he said "some activites are frivolous and some are simply frivolous and evil". Laughing, He said, "Give them up." Now, don't don't take His laughter at face value. It almost seemed like He was saying - give them up or there could be serious consequences - it was more like a sarcastic laughter. But the point He made was enormously clear!

The he taked about humour again and reminded us that He told us He will share some humour with us. He said that as he got off his car (at the Rogers' centre), he a writing in BIG, BLACK letters on one of the ramps in the belly of the Rogers' centre that said "Loading Ramp". The jamat laughed. The he said, this was fine, but he suspected that there might some clever person who will, when the Imam left the darbar, say "that the Imam left loaded". Of course the reference was to alcohol. Then a little later on, when he was talking about something serious, He started fumbling for words and then once he found the right ones, he paused and said "Now, don't let that confuse you with the Imam being loaded". Everyone laughed. Then He laughed and added "that will never happen". (hhhmmm...perhaps a message in the last statement?).

Finally, He once again reminded everyone that Islam is a religion of happiness and of rejoicing and that when He sees the jamat happy and united and smiling, it makes the Imam happy and he also reminded us that we all, at all times, in His thoughts, love and affection.

Then He sat down.

Then there were some ceremonies.....abe shafa, etc.

The Imam stood up again and gave another short firman. He talked about what His (and ours) goal was for GJ. He talked about the ultra poor, the aged and civil society.

Gave His blessings again and walked off the stage. He walked again for almost 15 minutes. There was a section where there the very sick people who were on stretchers (hospital beds). HI walked INSIDE that area and spent a few minutes with them, blessing them (not talking). Later on, when everything was done, I was walking by this section and saw an older gentleman, perhaps about 80 - 85. He was in bed, covered to his mid-section by the blanket. He looked fairly sick and had his eyes closed. There was some IVs attached to him and he was on the heart monitor. What amazed me to see was that he was in a suit! This is how we Ismailis come to see our Imam, even in this condition. And then there are some people in jamat khanas who have absolutely no idea what to wear in jk. They come dressed as though there were going to watch a James Bond movie. Now, there are always exceptions....people coming straight from work, etc. But over all, people need to know how to dress in jks. But any how.....back to the darbar.

Once the Imam left the hall, the jamat offered Shukrana tasbih and zikar tasbih. Again, everyone was seated and so well behaved. Then the external monitors showed the Imam, back into his suit, talking to the non-Ismailis spouses. He spent almost 30-40 minutes with them. Shaking hands, placing his hand on a baby, even signing an autograph! When we see things like this, and see the Imam so upclose and personal to non-Ismailis, we at times say "I wish the Imam was like this with us as well". But we should realize that our relationship with Him is at a totally different level. In the darbar hall, the Imam blessed us hundreds of times by saying "Khanavadan". Not once did He say this to the non-Ismailis. He even changed out of his "jaba" (robe) when He went to meet them.

Now, if anyone knows what he discussed with the non-Ismailis spouses, please share it with us. I am sure e-mail travels fast, far and wide. I would love to see what he had to say to them. I am not sure if the council is going to share this with us. Even if they do, it may just be after we have already heard it from other sources!

Finally He left the Rogers' Centre and the Jamat was then asked to take a break before the jamati ceremonies were to start.

Anyhow, I hope I have given you a gist of what happened that day. It was truly amazing and the voluteers did such an amazing job and worked so hard.

Today, He is in Calgary and tomorrow, He will be in Vancouver.

Once again, mubaraki to you Shehnaz and your family and to everyone who is reading this e-mail.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:01 am    Post subject: PADHRAMNI CANADA TORONTO DAY 1 Reply with quote

Golden Jubilee Darbar Toronto Canada Nov 22nd 2008 time 3pm
Venue Rogers centre, Toronto, Canada

It was a very big day in Canada.
Mawlana Hazar Imam Shah Karim ‘s first Golden Jubilee Darbar in Canada
The city was beaming with some 50 thousand murids from all over the world.
The nature had decorated the city with white glistening snow flakes every where.
It was cold but not unusual for Toronto winter. it was really beautiful everywhere. Holiday lights were adding to the festivities.
There was no snow fall on the day of the darbar.sukhar1
No traffic jams or any difficulties encountered in commute.
Canada volunteers did remarkable.
The Rogers centre is a stadium in the heart of the city with capacity of about 40 thousand persons including the stepped sitting area. About 20 thousand for sitting on the floor level
Darbar stage was elegantly decorated with white flowers and golden jubilee décor.
Hazar Imam’s white and gold chair was in the middle of the stage .3 large screens were on either side of the stage.
The gates opened at 9 am. Intezaari program began at 12 noon
Everyone was seated by 2pm .Great discipline!
Hazar Imam arrived at seven minutes before 3 pm.
Monitor promptly showed the car and Hazar Imam stepping out of a black long car. my eyes were filled with tears as I watched Mawla stepped out with his Right arm held against his body as if hurting he came out with his legs first I felt he physically looked a bit tired. He was wearing a dark grey colored pinstrippped suit and light blue patterned tie. He was warmly received by the leadership.
He went to his private area to be dressed in GJ Attire.
He entered the hall from the back of the hall close to special needs area. He was showered with salvats by the jamat reciting in great harmony.
Mukhi kamadias were walking behind him at a small distance.
He went around all the red carpet area ,blessing the jamat softly in un audible words his right arm was on the side and his left arm folded at the level of the waist.
He walked for about 10 minutes to give deedar and then ascended the steps to sit on the takhat .
He invited Mukhikamadias and Mukhiani kamadianis to the stage who took their respective seats
I was very close to the big screen and could see each and every expression on Mawla’s face
He was out of breath from this walk and ascent on the stage he was catching up on the breath
It was five minutes before his breathing rate was normal
He smiled but I could sense some worries behind the smile.

Chain was garlanded by Mukhi saheb
Quranic ayat and the recitation was done
Followed by the ginan Ya Ali khub majalis.
They did wonderful!
Monitor was focusing Mawla and the reciters at a right pace
Mawla’s face was serious most of the time looking every where.
President Sahib made the loyalty address
Occasional nod and occasional smile during all of it.
Then Hazar imam got up to make Farman
Everyone said salvat
The Farman started with blessings for each and every murid present, their families and jamats and all the volunteers for a remarkable work.
Darbar is a time of happiness and laughter together, he said.
He said we will have humor and laugh to gather but now a small serious talk
He expressed his gratitude to the government of Canada.
He expressed his admiration for the enormous volunteer work and effort of all the murids who contributed to the effort of golden jubilee darbars, a remarkable work.

He right away came to the topic of economy - he said there is worldwide economic crisis.
Predictability is difficult and fragile
Live wisely and carefully on the presumption that future is unknown more than normally
The financial instability is also in the developing world as it is in developed world.
Do not engage in anything in frivolously.
Global financial world is in turmoil
Deep recession is going to affect everywhere.

Predictability is unknown during this time.
Live carefully live wisely.
Murids in same profession or similar businesses may come together and help each other
Families must come together and help each other
Make your value system stronger
The lifestyle adopted during the recessionary time can be beneficial to continue even after the crisis has dissolved
He said, “During last 50 years of my Imamat I have given much of my time in developing opportunities in the counties of your origin”

“Never have I said establish yourself in the East or the West.”
Volatility will not stop at the frontiers of industrialized world
There will be a process of slow down in many parts of the world
What can jamat and institution do in these current times for my spiritual children?
Live prudently.
reinforce the institutions of civil society
help each other come to gather in your business and profession to help each other
this process will give you a positive situation which will better protect you from recessionary forces
good progress in developing world requires good governance
When there is no good governance civil society is very important.

Hazar imam then expressed his admiration for time and knowledge nazrana across the world by the murids

This time and knowledge will support the institutions during these difficult times
In Canada there are jamats from various parts of the world especially jamats from central Asia has opportunities to benefit from pluralism in Canada and seek education and access to English language and in due course one day return to their countries to give benefit to their brothers and sisters
Value system in the West is different from the value system of Islam
Remain true to the ethics of Islam
Think as one family, help each other, be generous, be loyal, truthful, and protect your values it is of enormous importance.
Attend prayers regularly.
If the pressures of modern life do not permit attendance, take a tasbih call the names of Allah, Hazrat Ali or the names of Imams.
Faith must be a part of your everyday life.
From material life to spiritual life and then again back to materialism do not do that
Be regular in practice of your faith. If you have any frivolous habit gives it up.
If frivolous and evil habit give up both
Occasion of golden jubilee is a time of happiness and laughter
You can derive humor and laughter from children and in anything you see around”
He started smiling and gesturing happiness. then he said,:

“When I entered the darbar site I Passed the black board reading “LOADING RAMP”!
That means when I leave I will be “LOADED”?!
I would love to be loaded but it is never the case with the Imam.”
He laughed heartily and so did the jamat.
I did not get the joke but I just loved Mawla bapa laughing and that made me so happy I just laughed also so did everyone and the hall was filled happiness and smiles.
He said you should smile and find laughter in small things and keep yourself happy
Islam believes in happiness we can be happy and laugh and enjoy! And be immensely happy!
Then he gave blessings and said I pray for the fulfillment your wishes , Mushkil asan ,unity in the families and lots of khanavadans.
He sat down and then was presented with nazrana and mehmani
He rose once again thanked for the wonderful gifts and started talking some more Farman when
He reviewed the issues of the jamat during the golden jubilee year and work needs to be done.
1. Support the poor and very poor murids in eliminating poverty in industrialized and non industrialized counties ,it will take time to achieve the goal, but we have to do it.
I will take your time and knowledge but don’t compare it with” “ LOADED” he laughed some more. So did the jamat.
2.Life expectancy is getting longer working life is getting longer
Aged in the jamat should feel loved and given dignity
3. Certain jamats do not have constitutional bodies or Jamatkanas that work needs to be done
4 Strengthen the institutional capacities so we can harness the resources globally with implementing of “best practices”(utilizing time and knowledge)
I will be physically not present with you
But he wants a happy and united jamat.

He was then ready to leave ,walked some more everywhere he did not go before
Went to the hospital area and blessed everyone some more
He then left with the mukhikamadias to his private time
He came out again dressed in suit
He then went the area where non Ismaili spouses were standing he was very happy and enthusiastically talking to a number of spouses
Gave autographs saw the photos showed by some, shook hands with a number of them played with a few babies he looked as if just did not want to leave.
President Sahib and Shafiq Sachedina were patiently following him he talked almost 30 minutes with them
All the Ismailis in the hall were so jealous !
They would not be if they only knew the immense value of what they had just received was million times more precious than what others got!
Only khanavadan is the word others die for!
Hazar imam passed through “the loading ramp” on arrival but in fact we got loaded by his blessings and the pearls of his Farmans and guidance
Amazing darbar !
Amazing emotions !
Amazing everything!
He truly came to load the jamat spiritually!!
Unparallel event!
Mashalllah Canada jamat and volunteers did great!
Very many felicitations to both my nephews Amin and Nazim Jivani who worked day and night giving seva and were satisfied with Imam’s glimpse from far with tears filled eyes but got immense satisfaction that every jamati member had amazing experience.
They received Imam’s immense admiration and special blessings Ameeen
The celebrations followed.
Jk ceremonies were done.
Dinner was chicken biriyani ,samosas ,ice cream tea cookies and much more.
Played rasgarbas
Reached home at 230 am.
Sukhar Al hamadallah.

Dolly Chandani M.D.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Sunday, Nov 23 Didar in Toronto Reply with quote

Excellent Didar o­n Sunday. MHI also spoke in fluent French during his Didar. The CN Tower - tallest Tower in Canada was lighted up in Green and Red colors ! Hope everyone noticed that. If not, there is a picture of the CN Tower in today's ( Nov 24th)  Toronto Star
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Sunday, Nov 23 Didar in Toronto Reply with quote

alnoordharsee wrote:
Excellent Didar o­n Sunday. MHI also spoke in fluent French during his Didar. The CN Tower - tallest Tower in Canada was lighted up in Green and Red colors ! Hope everyone noticed that. If not, there is a picture of the CN Tower in today's ( Nov 24th)  Toronto Star

Can you send the link of the picture of the CN Tower in today's Toronto Star?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Sunday, Nov 23 Didar in Toronto Reply with quote

sphinx wrote:
alnoordharsee wrote:
Excellent Didar o­n Sunday. MHI also spoke in fluent French during his Didar. The CN Tower - tallest Tower in Canada was lighted up in Green and Red colors ! Hope everyone noticed that. If not, there is a picture of the CN Tower in today's ( Nov 24th)  Toronto Star
<BR><BR>Can you send the link of the picture of the CN Tower in today&#39;s Toronto Star? <BR><BR>Thanks
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could someone please let me now what time Mawla is expected to arrive at the BC Place Stadium on Tuesday. I wanted to recite a tasbih at the time. Thank you and Darbar Mubarak to you and your families.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Welcome to an honoured visitor
Spiritual leader works tirelessly for his sect and all peoples

The Aga Khan's visit to Calgary today marks a significant event for the city's small but influential Ismaili community. For the first time in 16 years, they will have the chance to meet and worship with their spiritual leader.

The Aga Khan is visiting as part of a i6-month celebration in honour of his 5oth anniversary as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

Torsten Site, AFP-Getty Images Imam Aga Khan is visiting on his Golden Jubilee.(Photo)

He has much to celebrate, as this 71-year-old is no ordinary man. Not only does he advocate on behalf of this minority sect among the world's 15 million Shia Muslims, this charismatic leader stands as a living example of someone dedicated to working on behalf of all of humanity, regardless of race, religion or creed.

His tireless aid work includes establishing the Aga Khan Foundation, today the world's second largest philanthropic foundation in international development.

He also founded and heads the AgaKhan Development Network — the world's largest non-governmental development agency. It focuses on economic and educational development and has established more than 300 schools and advanced educational programs for thousands of students in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda and other African nations. New schools are in progress or planned for Afghanistan, Syria and the Congo.

Of Canada's 75,000 Ismailis, some 10,000 live in Calgary. Today's event is expected to attract 15,000 people, as followers from across the Prairie provinces convene here for the chance to meet and pray with their spiritual leader.

The Aga Khan has always had special admiration for Canada. It is he who is deserving of praise. We welcome him to Calgary on his Golden Jubilee and congratulate his efforts to bring down barriers of religious, racial and ethnic divisions.

Last edited by kmaherali on Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thousands gather to hear Aga Khan
Updated: Mon Nov. 24 2008 17:25:22

Thousands filled the Round Up Centre for their opportunity to hear the Aga Khan.

This is the first time in 16 years that his highness has been in Calgary and volunteers have been working around the clock to prepare for his visit. "We've had 3,500 plus registered volunteers and thousands more people who are just doing the work," says Naheed Nenshi the coordinator of volunteers.

The spiritual leader, of more than 15-milion Ismaili Muslims, made a stop in Calgary as part of his Golden Jubliee, which marks his 50-years as leader. "This is really the pinnacle of a faith experience for the people in this community," says Nenshi.

For this jubilee year, the Ismaili Muslims are focusing their efforts on reducing poverty. In Calgary, the Ismaili's are working with Habitat for Humanity and are helping to build a housing project in Mayland Heights.

The Aga Khan is on a week-long Canadian journey with Vancouver being his last stop.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aga Khan's devotion to humanity revealed during Calgary visit

Bob Remington
Calgary Herald

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CREDIT: Grant Black, Calgary Herald
From Left, Amira Juma, 22, sister nadia, 19, and mother azmina arrive at the roundup Centre on monday to see Ismaili muslim leader aga Khan.

Unlike his father, a notorious playboy who had an eye for racehorses and Hollywood starlets, his highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV--the highness part was bestowed on him by Queen Elizabeth--has dedicated his life to humanitarian causes, including the empowerment of women in Muslim society.

Not without keeping some of the family tradition, mind you. His first wife was a British fashion model, and he still breeds racehorses on his estate near Paris. But the billionaire Aga Khan, who visited Calgary Monday, is much more than racehorses. He is without question a visionary whose devotion to pluralism and poverty reduction is so profound that his influential Aga Khan Development Network, one of world's largest philanthropic organizations, has diplomatic status in nearly a dozen nations.

The Aga Khan is the spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims, all of whom must have been in Calgary Monday, judging by the traffic jams to get into any event he attended on his first visit here in 16 years. His most intimate function was lunch with 150 Calgary business and community leaders, many of whom were donors to a $5-million fundraising effort to kick-start a teacher training institute set up by the Aga Khan University in East Africa.

"Thank you not only on behalf of the Aga Khan University, but thank you on behalf of millions and millions of people in Asia and Africa who need to believe in hope. That only happens when society moves forward in an organized and stable way," the Aga Khan told the group in the gentle, almost shy voice one might expect of someone with a commitment to humanity.

It was a proud moment for local businessmen Jim Gray, Sherali Saju and lawyer Brian Felesky, who spearheaded the fundraising effort. It isn't easy convincing people in Calgary to send $5 million to Africa, a continent with a history of endemic corruption, even when the recipient is the respected Aga Khan network.

It must have been particularly rewarding for Saju, who along with thousands of other Ismailis was driven out of Uganda by the brutal Idi Amin and who, in the determined entrepreneurial tradition that typifies the Ismaili community, made a life in Calgary as a successful businessman.

He now devotes much of his life in the best spirit of Islam to helping those who are less fortunate, regardless of race or creed, inspired by the leadership of the Aga Khan.

From the lunch, the Aga Khan made his way to a private gathering of 15,000 Ismailis on the Stampede grounds, which included nearly every member of Calgary's 10,000 strong Ismaili community, another 4,000 from Edmonton and about 1,000 more from outside Alberta.

It took nearly 5,000 volunteers to co-ordinate the Aga Khan's less than 24-hour local visit.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many members of our community," said Nashir Samanani, president of the Ismaili Council for the Prairies.

The Aga Khan's visit is part of a cross-country tour to mark the 50th anniversary of his imamat.

Although only 20 at the time, Prince Karim was made imam of the Shia Ismailis by his grandfather, Aga Khan III, who bypassed Prince Karim's father, Prince Ali Khan, and his uncle, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, who were in the direct line of succession.

Ali Khan, who married actress Rita Hayworth after his divorce from Prince Karim's mother, went on to become Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations. His first speech to the UN General Assembly in 1958, was observed by Washington Post as "a momentous occasion, since the ambassador's previous public utterances had been largely limited to shouts of, 'Wine for everyone!' and 'Where are the girls?' " although he is widely regarded to have become an eloquent and dedicated spokesman for Pakistani issues throughout his term.

At his lunch, Prince Karim Aga Khan spoke briefly of the need to build stable institutions in the developing world. The Aga Khan University (AKU), established in Karachi, Pakistan a mere 25 years ago, is one such institution.

Spread over three continents with affiliation agreements that include one with the University of Calgary, it has had a profound impact on Pakistani society, focusing primarily on health and education, with half of its medical students female.

"If you look at what has happened in the past decades in the developing world, there are a number of lessons you can draw. And I think one of them is the volatility of development. To stabilize development in most of these fragile parts of the world, one of the fundamental principles is to develop strong institutions," the Aga Khan said.

"AKU has achieved that in Africa and Asia, and we have achieved it with Canadian support and Canadian willingness to look at the developing world as it is, not as certain people would like it to be. I think our institutions have to function in societies that are changing, and your help is helping us to do that."

Gray saw that for himself in the remote Hunza region of northern Pakistan, where he met five young women from illiterate farming families who had graduated from an Aga Khan school and were applying to some of the top universities in the world to become teachers and nurses.

If there were more billionaire racehorse breeders like the Aga Khan, the world might be a less dangerous place.

© The Calgary Herald 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Royal hello for Muslim leader

Thousands of the city's Ismaili Muslim community turned out at the Roundup Centre yesterday to hear words of wisdom and inspiration from their spiritual leader, His Royal Highness the Aga Khan.

A direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, the Aga Khan came to Canada on invitation from the federal government and stopped in Ottawa and Toronto before coming to Calgary, his first visit to the city in 16 years.

The Aga Khan left for Vancouver last night where he will wrap up an eight-day tour of the country today.The purpose of the trip, said volunteer Sameera Sereda, is to celebrate the Aga Khan's golden jubilee.

"The Aga Khan commemorated his 50th anniversary last July, so since then he's been visiting countries around the world and visiting his communities around the world," said Sereda.

Aga Khan met with Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong, as well as University of Alberta president Dr. Indira Samarasekera and vice-president Dr. Carl Amrhein before speaking in front of about 14,000 followers at the Roundup Centre yesterday afternoon and holding a public prayer service last night.

"He provided guidance to the community on both worldy and spiritual matters," said Sereda.

"Living with the ethics of Islam and the importance of education.

"The values of generosity and alleviating poverty, those are messages he speaks on on a regular basis."

The Aga Khan also heads the Aga Khan Development Network, which improves living conditions of people around the world and has an annual budget of $500 million.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Aga Khan after 50 years: We may yet set the world right

Don Cayo
Vancouver Sun

Monday, November 24, 2008

Aga Khan

TORONTO - Despite the West's "big, big, big failure" in Iraq and continuing conflict in much of Afghanistan, the Aga Khan says the world has made great strides against mass poverty, and he now sees real prospects for new bridges between Muslim states and the West.

Such optimism was recurrent during an hour-long exclusive interview with The Vancouver Sun on Sunday. The Aga Khan was here on the second stop of a four-city tour of Canada, which ends in Vancouver today, to celebrate his 50 years as hereditary leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims.

He cited several reasons for hope.

One is growing acceptance on both sides of the divide for his urgent call to combat what Harvard professor Samuel Huntington dubs "the clash of civilizations" and the Aga Khan terms "the clash of ignorance."

This is what led to the mess in Iraq, he said. It was "entirely predictable."

"Hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslim leaders would have told the Western world exactly what to expect when Saddam Hussein was eliminated."

And, "That's the sort of situation where predictability is absolutely essential."

Historically, he said, it has been common in the West to assume "the industrialized world is always right and therefore . . . should be the norm for everybody else."

The Muslim world doesn't always agree, but it is often torn, wanting to adopt what it sees as the best from the West while shunning the rest.

Education is the key to better relations, he said.

For Muslim states, this involves continuing his 50-year push for acceptance of pluralism and an end to insistence that tribal or ethnic priorities always trump the greater good. And it involves schooling - one of the key thrusts of his Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). This $500-million-a-year group of agencies works in a score of poor countries on projects that range from activity-filled little madrassas where preschoolers learn to read in rural villages and urban slums, to on-the-job teacher training in places where qualifications are rock-bottom low, to state-of-the-art high schools offering the international baccalaureate program, to two acclaimed international universities.

For the West, it means more inclusive curriculums in institutions that were long rooted solely in the Judeo-Christian tradition, unaware of Muslim history and culture. This is happening, he said, to the point where the West will come to redefine what it means to be an educated person in today's world.

So, too, with Western governments. They are gradually coming to understand just how diverse is the Muslim world, yet how in every Muslim country the relationship between religion and state is, unlike in the West, inextricably intertwined.

What's still needed, he said, is two things.

The Muslim world has to be clearer about what it wants. And the Western world must learn to assess the risks in doing what it does.

"The reactive mode is a tremendous liability. Being in an anticipatory mode changes the whole nature of things. . . .

"What's very encouraging, from my point of view, is that this identifying of risk is something I can [now] talk to Western governments about."

The Aga Khan stressed again and again the need for patience and taking the long-term view. But when asked about the urgent problem of Afghanistan - the need for Western nations to decide what to do next week and next month and next year - he concedes that in the violent areas security is an immediate concern.

"Development cannot take place in an environment of insecurity," so regional issues have to be taken care of, including in the neighbouring tribal areas of Pakistan, where there has never been central government control.

But, "I tend to think of Afghanistan as a number of countries . . . with different ethnic backgrounds, different levels of security and peace."

So it's important "not only to deal with security issues - and security is severe - but to continue to build strongly and confidently in areas where reconstruction is taking place."

"Once [reconstruction] becomes self-sustaining, it tends to grow across divides. People look at what's happening village to village or province to province, and they ask themselves, 'Can we get this?'"

This opens up the possibility of dialogue. And, once this process starts, "success will spill over."

In some once-destitute parts of the world - he mentioned Malaysia and Indonesia, but there are many more - progress is well under way.

So, despite the continuing strife and uncertain outcomes in Afghanistan, Iraq and several other parts of the world he cares about deeply, his optimism remains intact.

In fact, he said, over the half century since he inherited the Ismaili imamate from his grandfather, the gap between what he hopes for the world and what he actually expects has narrowed greatly.

That was the era of declining colonialism and frightening Cold War tensions

"The world I became involved in in 1957 was a very, very difficult world to work in. The forces at play were dramatic.

"That has all changed significantly."

Today's challenge, he said, has evolved into how to make the remaining poor areas of the world "areas of opportunity where people can have hope and confidence in improving the quality of life."

That challenge fits perfectly with a central ethic of his faith.

Muslims, he said, do believe in concepts of charity - giving to needy people who have no other options.

But a higher concept - a duty, rather than a gift inspired by kindness - is to help build in the powerless "the capacity to be masters of their own destiny.

"That is referred to [in his faith] as the best form of charity."

From this ethic sprang what was, at the time, the odd mix of non-profit and profit-seeking agencies that make up the AKDN. It has led, for example, to substantial investments in things like Afghanistan's first five-star hotel - sure from the get-go to be a money-loser, but a potential profit centre nonetheless - or a plant to manufacture nets for a not-yet-established aquaculture industry in Uganda.

It is, in other words, remarkably patient capital. And while his agencies that make such investments hope to make money - and some, indeed, do - the decision to invest is never profit-driven. The business case is based first on whether it will foster improvements in quality of life.

Though the AKDN had few peers when it pioneered the use of business tools to attain social goals, the approach is catching on. As has the ethical imperative for at least some of those who have done well to also do good.

The Aga Khan said he is delighted at the resurgence of massive private capital in development initiatives manifest by people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet or, on a smaller but still dramatic scale, Vancouver mining magnates Frank Giustra and Lukas Lundin, who have pledged $100 million each to the Clinton Foundation.

"I am very, very, very pleased that there is a sense of social ethics which is coming back in a part of the world which I thought had become so materialistic that they had lost the notion of ethics. That they had lost notions of the unity of humanity and the fact that they couldn't leave people - millions and millions of people - at risk of ill health, of marginalization, lack of security. . . .

"At one time I thought things were really becoming just too materialistic. But Bill Gates and other people around him are starting to reverse that whole attitude."

A benefit that is perhaps related to this is Western donors' increasing adoption of another concept his agencies have long practised - businesslike oversight of development spending.

"For a long time, there was a notion that development work, development activity, should not be measured," he said. "It was [seen as] unethical to measure something which was done with a charitable attitude.

"But measuring the impact doesn't mean that it's a commercial goal. It's understanding the impact on the communities you want to help.

"If your programs of support are not doing what they should do, you need to know that. You need to be able to understand what's gone wrong, and you need to be able to correct it."

For programs delivering things such as education and health care, outcomes are usually countable and easy to understand. But in areas that are less tangible but equally important - such as fostering vibrant elements of civil society that he considers so important to protecting nascent democracies and pre-empting conflict - measurement is not straightforward.

For this, donors must gauge the impact on quality of life - as defined by the aid recipients.

"One of the lessons we've learned is to . . . listen and listen and listen," he said. "If you apply your own criteria, you'll get it wrong."

Yet, even then, it's not quite so simple.

Both for the faith-based Aga Khan network and for principled democracies like Canada, donors can and often do face a delicate dilemma when their cherished beliefs are not shared by recipient societies. Equal treatment for women is one such value that is shared by the Aga Khan and the Canadian government but often flies in the face of tradition in the places that most need our help.

Drawing a line in the sand is one option when such values conflict, he said, but "you have to be very careful handling these things, because they can be a real boomerang if you get them wrong. . . .

"It's not the issue of whether you want to see them changed. It's the issue of how do you change them."

So his answer boils down to persistence and patience.

These themes of patience and persistence permeate the Aga Khan's responses on almost every issue. It has taken 25 years - half the span of his long-running imamate - to foster modest, though significant, economic development and functional cooperation among nearly 4,000 villages in lawless northern Pakistan. It will take similar patience, plus a lot of wisdom, to counter the fallout of failed democracies in areas as diverse as Central Asia, East Africa and Eastern Europe.

But, going forward, he sees a 25-year span as probably long enough to set right the worst of the dire poverty that afflicts a quarter of the world's people. If, and this is huge if, the world gets its policies and priorities right.

Getting it right would mean more global and regional stability, better quality of life for millions, and, eventually, a raft of new players buying and selling in the world marketplace.

And getting it wrong?

"The risk of failure is that these parts of the world will remain fragile, ill-governed, with weak economies. Internal stresses will become external stresses."

This risk, he warns, is dangerously high.

Thus, "The downside is very, very serious. And the upside is encouraging, and can even be achieved."

Then, as the interview ends, he adds one more risk: "Intellectual vanity. For everyone."

© Vancouver Sun
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Updates from

Sunday, 23 November 2008

A ceremonial guard representing the Calgary Police Services, the Fire Department and the Emergency Medical Serices welcomed Mawlana Hazar Imam to the city. Photo: Gary Otte

On his final day in Toronto, Mawlana Hazar Imam granted the second Golden Jubilee Darbar of his Canadian visit at Rogers Centre, where thousands of murids from Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces, as well as other parts of the world, had gathered in the afternoon. Afterwards Hazar Imam departed Toronto and flew to Calgary.

At his arrival Mawlana Hazar Imam was received by the Honourable Ron Stevens, Deputy Premier of the Province of Alberta and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, His Worship David Bronconnier, Mayor of Calgary, and Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Alison Buie. A ceremonial guard representing the Calgary Police Service, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services greeted Hazar Imam, and Jamati leaders were also present to welcome him to the city.

The Mayor of Calgary presented Mawlana Hazar Imam with a gift of a glass bowl created by Alberta artist Mark Gibeau. The piece was selected from the artist’s Face Series, and reflects the people from his prairie surroundings and the native cultural environment of his youth.

Hundreds of Ismailis had lined the streets of downtown Calgary to welcome Mawlana Hazar Imam. With his window open, Hazar Imam smiled and waved as he was driven past the crowd.

Additional photos are available in the gallery. Also see the video of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s arrival in Ottawa. Further details on Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Canada will continue to be posted at
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Msg from someone…mubaraki – terrific deedar in Calgary. Mowla sends duashish for everyone. He said “tell your families and jamats its as if they were present here” made a lot of jokes. Was very happy and stressed on remembrance ethics and faith as part of life. He said do not exit and enter faith as you like. Prudence economise careful on commitments. Smile be happy be thankful for what allah has given us.

He said do not be individualistic! Work together. Mowla gave so much dua for barakat he said thousands fold. So that we may have comfort of material life and for strength on spirit, for mushkil asaan, for eternal peace for all ruhani. Ameen
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muslim leader draws crowds in Vancouver
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | 11:37 AM ET Comments11Recommend15CBC News

The Aga Khan was greeted by a crowd of thousands as he arrived at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver on Monday night. (CBC)Thousands of people turned up outside the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver on Monday night to jubilantly welcome the Aga Khan. But even organizers of the event said they weren't expecting the crowds that lined the streets for five blocks.

As the hereditary and spiritual leader of an estimated 15 million Nizari Ismaili Muslims around the world, the Aga Khan is wrapping up a four-city tour of Canada to mark his 50th anniversary as Imam.

Cheers erupted spontaneously as people waited almost two hours for the Aga Khan to pull up to the red carpet, and there was no shortage of adoration for the billionaire philanthropist, whose followers say they love him for his extremely generous humanitarian work.

"He just wants to make life better and he thinks that everyone should. We just have unconditional love for him, unconditional love," said one of the reception's co-coordinators, Farrah Devji.

After arriving in a motorcade of white cars, the Aga Khan gave the crowd a quick wave before stepping inside the hotel. He will be making several more public appearances in Vancouver.

On Tuesday, the Aga Khan is schedule to attend a luncheon in his honour hosted by Premier Gordon Campbell.

In the evening, he is scheduled to lead an estimated 25,000 people in a religious gathering at BC Place.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not see anything about our Beloved Mowla in the Toronto Star nor the Globe and Mail re. his visit to Toronto and Canada.... did anyone see.. I have been flipping through newspapers in vain.... icon_sad.gif
Was there no coverage here in Toronto ???
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thousands give Aga Khan a rock star greeting
Updated: Tue Nov. 25 2008 09:12:47

Darcy Wintonyk,

It was a greeting suitable for royalty.

Thousands lined Vancouver streets Monday night for a brief glimpse of the Aga Khan as he arrived in B.C. for a quick stop.

The leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims is on the last leg of an eight day, four city tour of Canada to commemorate his 50th anniversary as Imam.

Ismailis consider the billionaire philanthropist to be the direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad.

Many people travelled thousands of kilometres for a moment they say they've been waiting their whole lives for.

"This is a very great occasion, very very great occasion to welcome our beloved Hazar," one worshipper who came all the way from Florida told CTV.

"This is the first time being here and for a lot of people this is their first opportunity for people to see him."

Premier Gordon Campbell will host the Aga Khan at a luncheon in his honour Tuesday, only hours before he will attend a religious gallery at B.C. Place.

Born Prince Karim Aga Khan, the Aga Khan IV is the eldest son of Prince Aly Khân, a Pakistani leader of independence whose second wife was screen legend Rita Hayworth.

The Aga Khan's personal wealth is estimated to exceed $1 billion, with interests in horse racing, stock investments, and a tourist complex in Sardinia, a large island in the Mediterranean Sea.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

positive wrote:
I did not see anything about our Beloved Mowla in the Toronto Star nor the Globe and Mail re. his visit to Toronto and Canada.... did anyone see.. I have been flipping through newspapers in vain.... icon_sad.gif
Was there no coverage here in Toronto ???

I am also surprised considering that we have a few Ismaili news anchors and they said nothing
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw Pawanjeet Garewal of the Daily South Asian Free Press at the photo session with Premier McGuinty in Toronto on Saturday 22nd Nov. I suppose in the next issue, they will have a full coverage of the visit.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Msg from someone…mubaraki – terrific deedar in Calgary. Mowla sends duashish for everyone. He said “tell your families and jamats its as if they were present here” made a lot of jokes. Was very happy and stressed on remembrance ethics and faith as part of life. He said do not exit and enter faith as you like. Prudence economise careful on commitments. Smile be happy be thankful for what allah has given us.

He said do not be individualistic! Work together. Mowla gave so much dua for barakat he said thousands fold. So that we may have comfort of material life and for strength on spirit, for mushkil asaan, for eternal peace for all ruhani. Ameen
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