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Diamond-jubilee in the News
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aga Khan says he will proudly transfer services to new facilities in Lisbon

(translated) The Ismaili Muslim leader, Aga Khan, said this Tuesday, July 10, in the Portuguese Parliament that he will “proudly” begin to transfer services from his foundation to the historic Palacete Mendonça in Lisbon, where he will install the Department for Diplomatic Affairs.

There will also be the “Department for the Institutions of Jamat,” he said, adding that he is also planning to organize in Lisbon the next annual meeting of the Council of the Global Center for Pluralism, as well as the inaugural ceremony of the Aga Khan Award for Music. “And much more will follow,” he promised.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aga Khan praises Portugal for pluralism

His Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Portugal include address to members of the parliament

Photo below the article

Staff Report
14:05 July 18, 2018

President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, officially welcomes His Highness the Aga Khan to Portugal at the Belém Palace where he was received with State honours on the occasion of the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee.courtesy AKDN FOUNDATION

Lisbon: In an historic address to Portugal’s Members of Parliament, Prince Kareem Aga Khan praised Portugal as a leader on the global stage, one that is widely acknowledged as a country of opportunity, and thanked Portugal for a “progressive partnership” with the Ismaili Imamat.

The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community spoke in the Senate Chamber at the invitation of Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, President of the Assembly of the Republic last week. The address coincides with global celebrations taking place in Lisbon commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of the Aga Khan, marking 60 years of his leadership as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

The address marked yet another significant milestone in an increasingly close relationship between the Ismaili Imamat (office of the Imam) and the Portuguese Republic. Building on a series of earlier accords and at the invitation of the Republic of Portugal, the Ismaili Imamat established a Seat in Portugal in 2015 pursuant to a landmark agreement.

As a reflection of the mutual esteem and trust that has traditionally characterised their relationship, that agreement and the establishment of a Seat in Portugal was unanimously endorsed by the Parliament of the Republic.

In his welcoming remarks, the President of the Assembly of Portuguese Parliament spoke of the Aga Khan’s and the AKDN’s “notable” actions in addressing the “many challenges which the modern world faces.” He added that their “commitment to education, with emphasis on children’s education, the programmes to fight poverty and the provision of health services, development programmes for rural communities, the supportive spirit and social commitment are hallmarks” of their work in improving the condition and quality of life of communities in need around the world. Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, echoed these sentiments in his speech saying, “The Aga Khan exercises his mandate with a very clear purpose to support humanity. This is the humanist spirit of intercommunal dialogue which has created such honour for the community which he has led for so many years, fifteen million faithful throughout the world. And action which, through the Aga Khan Development Network, covers critical areas for human development such as health, education, culture, rural development and the promotion of entrepreneurialism. This changes human lives and it changes the world for the better.”

The Aga Khan, in his address to Parliament, expressed gratitude to the Republic of Portugal, and spoke of Portugal as a significant partner with the Ismaili Imamat, one that shares a commitment to pluralism and embracing diversity. He described Portugal as a country of opportunity, “a country that seeks to honour both its past achievements and its future opportunities, to embrace both the gift of social stability and the promise of social progress.” “The Portuguese Parliament,” he added, “is to be commended for its role in that encouraging story.”

He noted that the history of Ismaili engagement with Portugal stretches back many years, beginning when Ismailis settled in Portuguese Territories in India in the 17th century. He noted the warm welcome that Portugal offered almost half a century ago to Ismailis fleeing the Mozambiquan civil war. In reflecting upon the past,

The Aga Khan also looked forward and considered the challenges that lie ahead, remarking “We know that the days ahead will be demanding ones, a time of profound global change.” Nonetheless, the Aga Khan remained encouraged for the future and acknowledged the role that Portugal will play in addressing the demands of tomorrow.

He emphasised the importance of Portugal in this regard, stating that, “…the Ismaili Imamat will draw strength from our continuing sense of partnership with the people and the Government of Portugal.” He ended, “So let us, then, go forward together, bound by our shared past, committed to our shared values, and inspired by our shared hopes for a constructive, purposeful future.”

Members of the Aga Khan’s family who joined him for the address included his brother Prince Amyn, daughter Princess Zahra and her children Sara and Iliyan, son Prince Rahim with his wife Princess Salwa, and sons Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Mohammad.

Special Exhibition

Following his address in the Senate Chamber, the Aga Khan officially inaugurated a special exhibit of objects from the Toronto-based Aga Khan Museum entitled Ideals of Leadership: Masterpieces from the Aga Khan Museum Collections. The stories depicted in the images and conveyed through the objects relate to some of the most important and timeless ideals of leadership that rulers aspired to through the ages. The specially curated exhibition is particularly relevant on this occasion, as the Ismaili Imamat, the AKDN and the Republic of Portugal further acknowledge and strengthen a relationship that has grown deeper over the years.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2018, July 21 : New Article on H.H. The Aga Khan, Imam of the Ismailis in Portugal's Expresso

read from this pdf file:

See English translation below....



The descendant of Prophet Muhammad celebrated in Lisbon, the 60 years as leader of the Ismailis. An exclusive interview with the wealthiest spiritual leader in the world

By Alexandra Carita
Photographs by Tiago Miranda


“This is a faith of reason”

He is one of the wealthiest men in the world and is about to live in Portugal. He has a life of commitment to the community, which follows him as Imam, and has never failed to analyse the world for the benefit of his followers. In his eyes, religion is for a premise of peace, but also of wellbeing, knowledge and economic development.

He is a descendant of Prophet Muhammad and spiritual leader of 15 million Muslim followers, ten thousand of whom live in Portugal. He has been trying to transform the world in his own way and in that of Islam. He is about to live in Lisbon. He is Prince Karim Aga Khan IV. But he is addressed as His Highness. The title was attributed by Elizabeth II, Queen of England, shortly after [the Aga Khan] took on the role of Imam, the 49th Imam of the Shia Ismailis, at the age of 20. A week ago he celebrated in our country’s capital his Diamond Jubilee, 60 years as leader of the community, which he considers to be his great source of happiness. He has elected education, healthcare and economic development as his main points of action and has taken his congregational power across the world. He brought almost 50 thousand people to Lisbon, with whom he celebrated the commemorations. Before, on a sunny morning, he spoke with Expresso about the beginning of his mandate and the present times, about religion and politics, about the community and himself, in a singular refuge where, with the warmth that has always characterised him, he let us talk, carried by a warm breeze. It was a long, dense conversation, with an intelligent man who is both a leader of the spirit and the mind, a thinker and a true master of the 21st century.

You were very young when you received the title of Imam of the Ismaili people. What concerns did you have at the time and what concerns do you have now?

Well, to go back to that moment, we have to put ourselves in what was a very stressful time, globally. There were two things happening at the same time, simultaneously. One was decolonisation and the other was the Cold War. These two phenomena were happening more or less at the same time, so there was an overlapping agitation. Much of that world was and is where my community lives and used to live. It was a transitional situation between colonial status and freedom, but freedom within the Cold War. So that was an extremely sensitive time to try and make sure that the Ismaili community maintained the right values, in a time of transformation. That those were the values of independence movements, because we wanted our community to be seen as a community of citizens of these countries, and therefore able to participate in public life, including political life.

What kind of work did all this entail?

Careful planning done in a time that required us to analyse the trends and the paths that would be taken and to know where they, the members of this community, would stay, or if they would be, as they say in French, passager [travellers]. Would they leave and not stay in their countries of origin? It was a time of observance, a time to talk to as many people as possible, to understand what their goals were within the national situation they were in. I went through those times, especially the sixties, without thinking of another major trauma. There were countries that opted for what I would call the Eastern Block, and there were countries that maintained their independence vis-à-vis global international politics and wanted to have and create their own direction, and we adapted ourselves to these situations according to what it was possible to achieve. And we were fortunate. We were well accepted as a community that has its own institutions. We chose to continue to build these institutions in the areas of education, medicine and healthcare, in economic development. There was a time when the most complicated colonial situations were many, especially in the British colonies, where the community was encouraged to maintain its own institutions. After the independence, the movement of these institutions was to meet nationalisms instead of meeting the community. As a result, many of our institutions went beyond the context of the community and drew closer to the national context. And that is where we are today.

What does this Diamond Jubilee mean to you?

This is an important occasion. We set goals that we want to achieve and a number of things that we would like to see grow, especially in countries like Tajikistan, which only recently became part of our area of action. We are working in countries where, in fact, we do not have the structures we already have in other parts of the world. For example, we have much stronger structures in East Africa because we have been working there for a long time. We still have to create the same structures in Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan or other countries in that area. Therefore, we will have to build these institutions. I think what we are going to do is try to invest in actions that help us build the future. Building the future is important. And we do it through strong and solid institutions in the fields of education, healthcare and economic development. And they are not institutions for the community, I repeat. They are institutions that operate at an international level. Maybe they started as community institutions but they grew from there. We have always tried to grow in this sense or at least at the regional level. For example, we are dealing with higher education at a regional level, not on a national basis.

One of your main concerns has always been education. Why is it so important to you?

I believe that many of these countries need to create and increase all levels of education, so that it becomes a national and not just a local asset or resource. And I firmly believe in a public-private relationship in what concerns this matter. Many of the countries that you know, that I know, which are now industrialised and highly successful countries, have a pluralism in the fields of health and education. And I believe that this is the way we should go. I do not think that the State can or should be everything for everyone continuously. I think the private sector has to, let's say, be engaged, committed. There are fields where the private sector commands, leads, so often in research, for example. This is more a domain of the private sector than of the public sector in the countries where we have been working for years. Therefore, if we want society to be involved and to be developed, we must mobilise the private sector, not just the public sector. You know, where there has been an effort to mobilise only the public sector - and I think many of us would say the same, it is evident - that mobilisation has failed. At least this is my point of view from the experience that I have had. And, I think the two sectors can coexist, they do not have to be enemies. In fact, it is much better when they coexist.

Coming back to the Diamond Jubilee. How would you like this year to be remembered by the Ismaili community and by the world?
Well, I think it is one of those cases where we have a deadline to work towards and to complete certain initiatives, and a time when we would like to start others. For this very reason, I see the Diamond Jubilee as an opportunity to accelerate social and economic change. And this is what I would like to try to do and to achieve together with the leaders of the Ismaili community, but obviously they have to be in the lead, in the thinking and reflection about these matters.

I know this is not an easy question, but I wanted you to explain to me the role of religion in today's world.

I will begin by saying to you, that all civilized societies need to have an ethical framework. Otherwise, civil society cannot function in a serious and planned way. If civil society wants to be a major force at the national level, this is how I see the developed world accepting it. And so, civil society needs to be anchored in a set of ethical premises. I think these ethical premises are often anchored in faith, in religion. So I think this is the relationship I would establish and which I consider to be very, very important. However, with regard to this issue, we are obviously interested in countries that have pluralist attitudes towards faith, in relation to society, etc. And Portugal has them. We are very, very honoured and grateful to have been able to establish our religious institutions in Portugal, which, in fact, have a global goal, because this is what Portuguese law allows and encourages. In addition, we will continue to use Portuguese civil society to be able to develop our institutions in the developed world.

“What the government did was look at this relationship between religion and governance. The Portuguese began doing this with the Concordat signed with the Vatican”

Is the Imamat going to work in Portugal?

This does not mean that we do not work in other countries as well. We will. Particularly, because our community is a very pluralistic one. It is not based in a part of the world, nor in any language or anything of the sorts. We have to be as flexible as possible to meet needs wherever they require. And like any community that is global, we cannot handle all of these issues at the same time. We have to identify priorities; we have to try to respond to the needs that occur. But this is essentially anchored in institutional capacity, not in individual capacity. We are looking, for example, at the role of higher education. And where higher education does exist, is it satisfactory? Where is investment needed? Where is it necessary to think more broadly in geographical terminology, because often higher education is limited to a geographical area? We are trying to make globalisation in our institutions a reality so that we can serve the communities, wherever they may be. But it is a process. We never reach a full result. That is not realistic.

And as for the principles of the Ismaili religion. How do they align with other Islamic principles in general?

I would say very well. We do not have issues of this nature. We are Shia Muslims and therefore the community has an Imam, whose appointment is hereditary. But broadly speaking, I think we are seen as an asset in most of the countries where we live. And we are encouraged to extend our institutions, to transform community institutions into national institutions. We have done this with our economic, educational and healthcare institutions. These institutions must have begun in the 1950s as community institutions, as I have mentioned. And if we think of the 1950s and 1960s, in the British colonies, for example, we will be reminded that communities were encouraged to create their own institutions. Today, this is completely forgotten, it does not exist. Nowadays, the goals are to create national institutions to serve everyone. This implied changing the dynamics and the scale of what we were doing. And that means repositioning institutions so that they have a logical position in the future of each country. And we have tried to be in what I can call, the field of high technology applied to each area to which we are dedicated.

Can you give us an example?

For example, in medicine, we are interested in tertiary care. We are not a public service organisation that can provide first aid throughout the country. That is not our role. That is why we focus on the tertiary service. Are there priorities in this field? Yes, there are priorities. Cardiology and Oncology. We are specialists in cardiology and oncology because we think this is the role of our healthcare institutions. And we are investing in research; we are investing in partnerships with institutions outside the Western world because we think they can bring us new insights. And in return, we provide them with the research they do not have. That is why they are very happy to work with us in our institutions; they can do the research that they are unable to do in their countries of origin. We are expanding our global relationships in the technical fields very solidly. Some of our financial institutions have grown and are now national. For example, I think Habib Bank may be considered the most important bank in Pakistan, today. The Jubilee Insurance Company is one of the top insurance companies in the country. Therefore, between 1957 and today, our institutions have become national or regional institutions, which is the right positioning. The idea that small communities can develop institutional capacities is frankly not realistic.

Is that the duty of religion?

I think it is much more than that. And it is not just religion. It is what national needs represent. If you have the capacity or the means to develop that capacity, I think it is the duty of a national institution to seize opportunities and develop them, if you have the resources to do so, the willingness to do so and the ability to do so. And we measure our performance against global standards in health, education, and the economy. We are continually evaluating ourselves. And the goal is to have more practice, more ability to perform. It is to take to each community, each country, each region, the best practice, in whatever we are doing.

You have dedicated your life to trying to end poverty and inequality. What do you think about the political and social tensions we are experiencing? I am talking about migration, of nuclear weapons, of violence, of the climate, of unemployment...

I begin with the premise that society cannot develop itself if it does not live in peace. And I think peace is the premier premise for all of us. But either you are in a country where there are internal conflicts, or you are where there is a regional conflict. And that, in my opinion, is the end of development. Hence the number one premise is the consensus on national goals. What are the national goals? Are they consensual? Are they egalitarian and just? Do we have the right resources to make them work? I look at society as a set of capabilities that need to be developed together so that the sum is greater than the addition of small numbers. And I think we are beginning to see that. I go back to the fifties and sixties, when there was still what I call a colonial heritage. That form of approach to a national consensus was not very strong. Many of the colonies have been developed through the division of people rather than through their unity around a common goal. I think this no longer exists today. Do not forget that in those decades we had an extraordinary situation because the process of decolonisation happened simultaneously with the Cold War. And the Cold War was very, very aggressive. Movements of independence and national policies were seen not only in the light of national issues, but also in the face of the Cold War. That no longer exists. So between that time and today, a great source of tension has disappeared. This has changed the dynamics of the world. If we think about Africa’s situation then, it necessarily reflects the effects of that War. Regimes and political leaders had to choose between the West and the East. Today they do not have to do so. Today these movements are related to their own dynamics. I think today the notion of performance is probably the greatest driver of political thinking. Which regimes perform well and build their capacity to deal with populations and have them under control? It is very interesting to see how everything has changed.

I would like you to talk about Portugal now.

What will the Seat of the Imamat bring to Portugal?

You have to ask the Portuguese. I cannot answer that question!

I would also like to ask you what the Portuguese can expect, by having the Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon?

Well... the context is between the relationship between religious institutions and modern governance. This is the real context. A context in which religious institutions are improved in what they do, that is, they need a safe environment to enable them to function. These institutions, such as humanitarian institutions, have taken on certain objectives and developed their civil society capacity. And it is very important that country laws allow religious institutions to thrive, as it is even in the national interest. And Portugal is the ideal country for this relationship and has been extremely considerate to me, as Imam. I think the country has been very intelligent, in what concerns the building of bridges so that religions work well and always with a result that is of national interest. When problems arise, and they are not here, but they arise in other countries, it is when religious institutions and national goals are not compatible. That is when we have trouble. However, Portugal has been very smart to work with religious institutions. We are not the only religion with which the Government works. There is a very, very strong national precedent for this relationship to work. As a religion, we are working in the domain that is already very well positioned for the two sides to work together and as it should be. We are very grateful and honoured for that.

Has the Portuguese Government awarded you many privileges?
I would not call them privileges. What the Government did was look at this relationship between religion and governance. The Portuguese began doing this with the Concordat signed with the Vatican. This was the first domain with which they worked, and they worked very well. That is why the experience of the Concordat was the springboard for our relationship and it has been a very, very happy relationship. We have benefited as a religion from this precedent called Concordat. The Concordat was a very important step in the formation of your country in political terms and was extended to us by the Government. Portugal is dealing with difficult problems in a very efficient way. The Portuguese are strong in their convictions, it is the general opinion when I talk to my friends and we compare what is happening in various parts of the world. Portugal has made very important choices in modern history, courageous decisions. It is therefore a country we all admire.

And are we not gaining anything, with the establishment of the Imamat here?

Ah yes! We are going to create several institutions here but with international objectives. But we will continue to deal with each other under a great basis of friendship. There will be aid as there will be for countries like Mozambique and for Portuguese-speaking countries. It will be a very supportive relationship. And I hope we can share the interests of Portugal, not only here but also abroad. We have a set of common interests.

And are you moving here?

I do not know. But I know I will come much more often. I'm still contemplating if I will move or not. You will see me more often, I am sure of that.

Have you ever thought about what your life could have been if you had not been appointed Imam when you were 20 years old?

I would probably have been a mediocre academic!

Do you have time to enjoy life, to take care of your own businesses, or not?
The truth is that I represent an institution and this institution does not come and go. There, is where all my time and my happiness is, working within that institution. That is where my happiness comes from. I am very, very privileged because I was not the one who chose to be the 49th Imam. My grandfather made that choice in 1955 or so, and I was not aware of it. I think that every individual who has the possibility to contribute to the quality of life is a happy individual. You have a purpose, you see? I think the worst of disasters is having a life without purpose. I think it is a horrible idea.

What was the most important moment of your life, as a religious leader and as a man?

I think that was when I became aware of my grandfather's wishes when he passed away. This is because his decisions obviously changed my life. I was in University at the time. I was at Harvard. And I had to try to find a new academic orientation, because I had to finish my studies faster than I would have done in another situation. I was still an undergraduate but with a personal assistant and two secretaries, which was unheard of! There have been a number of unique things. But it worked out. And you know? I did not have my secretary take notes in college classes!

Do you regret anything in life?

No, I don’t think so... You know, it is not the way I think.

You are a very positive person.

I do not think in those terms. The answer is no.

Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?

It is essentially the life of the institution and what the institution requires, its manifestations and whether those manifestations are what they should be, or whether we should be doing things differently from what we do. We have already done a lot of work in the field of history because we want to make sure that we understand the evolution of the Ismaili thought, in the past. It is a religion of the brain, a religion of the mind. It is not just a religion of the soul. It is a faith of reason. And so we want to try to make sure that the philosophies of the past are well understood and can have adequate space in modern life. There is a whole context because it is a historical religion. We have an accumulation of history that is very important, and extremely pluralistic. It was formed from various parts of the world and from different languages. And today, all these communities are, in a certain sense, united in a single light, with different creeds, and these creeds are filling gaps in these countries where the gaps are not filled economically, at the educational level in terms of early childhood development, for example.

In terms of child development!?

Yes, this is an area that has expanded enormously in the last decade, on a massive scale. What we know today about Early Childhood Development (ECD) is totally different from what we knew 20 years ago. That is why our priorities have also had to change. ECD, for example, is now one of our top priorities. And what we are seeking is to make sure every Ismaili child has the opportunity and access to ECD programmes. That will take time. It will take resources. However, it is a rational goal based on the good quality of science. A few decades ago we could be talking about the need for higher education, university, postgraduate and all those sorts of things. Today, we are completely focused on ECD. Because it has become the recognised basis for an educated society. You know, we learn from others.

Do you ever think about your heir?

No! No. The honest answer is obviously that I do, but I do not want to talk about it!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aga Khan praises Portugal for pluralism

His Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Portugal include address to members of the parliament

Lisbon: In an historic address to Portugal’s Members of Parliament, Prince Kareem Aga Khan praised Portugal as a leader on the global stage, one that is widely acknowledged as a country of opportunity, and thanked Portugal for a “progressive partnership” with the Ismaili Imamat.

The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community spoke in the Senate Chamber at the invitation of Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, President of the Assembly of the Republic last week. The address coincides with global celebrations taking place in Lisbon commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of the Aga Khan, marking 60 years of his leadership as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.


Aga Khan’s diamond jubilee celebrated

The diamond jubilee of the Aga Khan concluded with global gathering in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal on July 11.

Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan IV is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

Some 61 years after he first acceded to the Ismaili Imamat.
Portugal, an important and long-standing partner for the Imamat and for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), served this week as the host of a global celebration of His Highness’ Jubilee.

The celebration included an address to Portuguese members of Parliament, meetings with the President and Prime Minister, the inauguration of a special exhibit of leadership values, and exhibitions highlighting the scope of the work carried out by the AKDN all over the world.

In his address in the Senate Chamber to Portugal’s members of Parliament, the Aga Khan praised Portugal as a leader on the global scene, one that is widely acknowledged as a country of opportunity, and thanked Portugal for a “progressive partnership” with the Ismaili Imamat.

The Aga Khan Foundation, an agency of the AKDN, has been active in Portugal since 1983, working on initiatives related to early childhood education, poverty alleviation, economic inclusion, strengthening of civil society, and care for the elderly.

Following his address in the Senate Chamber, Aga Khan and President of the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues opened a special exhibit of objects on loan from the Toronto-based Aga Khan Museum entitled Ideals of Leadership: Masterpieces from the Aga Khan Museum Collections. The stories depicted in the images and conveyed through the objects, relate to some of the most important and timeless ideals of leadership that rulers have aspired to throughout the ages.

The Diamond Jubilee commemoration represents both recognition of the Aga Khan’s work over 60 years and an opportunity to launch wide-ranging new initiatives for improving quality of life.
During this Diamond Jubilee year, the Aga Khan has visited a number of countries around the world including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Portugal, at the invitation of their respective governments.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Portuguese weekly magazine Visao 27th June to 4th July 2018, dição 1321 - The cover page says "The enigmatic and powerful Aga Khan". The life and fortune of the Ismaili leader who chose Lisbon for his world headquarters. Karim Aga Khan, millionaire, philanthropist and leader of 15 millions Ismailis is celebrating 60 years of his reign in Lisbon - Add to your collection of Diamond Jubilee Memorabilia, you will not regret!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Expresso Portugal Article on Ismaili Community and His Highness the Aga Khan
Expert translation by Sadiq Habib who is also featured in this article. With special permission.

“When the king went to Évora, everyone went to Évora. It will be the same with the Aga Khan.”


He is “a mix of king, Pope and living God” and moves crowds–as will become clear in the coming days, with the arrival of thousands of faithful to Portugal, to attend the celebrations of his 60 years as leader of the Ismaili Muslims. Some think he will continue to do so, after installing the global headquarters of his community here, in the fashion of kings of yore. One Ismaili, who came from London to take part in the the celebrations, warns: “Our integration here has been successful, but that should not be taken as meaning that there is no racism or Islamophobia in Portugal.”


The “security of Portugal”, when compared with other countries where the Ismaili Muslim community is installed, has been presented by historians and other experts as the criterion that determined the choice of this country as host of the world headquarters of the Ismaili Imamat, to be inaugurated soon.

Sadiq Habib, an anthropologist and researcher based in the United Kingdom, and himself a member of this religious community, agrees, but immediately warns that “celebratory and exceptionalist speeches must be avoided”. “Our integration here was successful, but this should not be taken as meaning an absence of racism and Islamophobia in Portugal. Certain discourses seek to deny or downplay the existence of these situations, but they do exist”, he tells Expresso.

At 33, Sadiq Habib is part of the first generation of Ismaili Muslims to be born in Portugal, after the community settled in the country following the Carnation Revolution of April 25. He is pleased with the installation in our country of the world headquarters of the branch of Islam to which he belongs: “We are grateful to Portugal for having welcomed us in such a positive way, making possible the installation of the headquarters here. This is the result of a process of several years, involving several governments, allowing a meeting of wills.”

The mansion which will house the future headquarters of the Ismaili Imamat in Lisbon (after an investment of around 12 million Euros) is the Palacete Henrique Mendonça, where the headquarters of the Nova School of Business & Economics was located. It will be one of the stops in the itinerary of Prince Karim al-Hussayni—titled Aga Khan IV and claiming descent from the Prophet Muhammad—who is visiting Portugal to celebrate his 60 years as leader of the 15 million people who make up the global religious community of Shiite Muslims.

The celebrations begin this Friday, July 6, and continue until the 12th. 45 thousand faithful are expected to partake—a number that may nevertheless be exceeded, as explained to Expresso by a source from the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal, which oversees the Aga Khan Foundation in Portugal (AKFP). The Aga Khan will be staying in a hotel in the capital and will be received by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in the Palace of Belém. He will also meet with the Prime Minister, António Costa, in the Foz Palace.


Sadiq Habib, a researcher and specialist in Islamic studies, who travelled from London to take part in the celebrations, does not hide the “pride” of being here. “The community is celebrating a milestone in its 1400-year history. Obviously, being a member, I am here with great joy. The Jubilee [Diamond Jubilee, name given to the commemorations of the 60th anniversary, which began in July last year and ends now in Portugal] is always a milestone in the life of a community like ours,” says Sadiq, acknowledging the “difficulty in expressing in words” the importance of this event.

But he continues: “It is a source of happiness for me, and for all those coming from all corners of the world to celebrate this event, that it is possible to have this celebration in the present conditions, particularly given that ours is a minority community, one which has not always had a positive history within Islam, with moments of conflict and persecution, and even genocide. It is a unique occasion and a very rare event in the lives of Ismaili Muslims.”

Ismaili Center of Lisbon, in Laranjeiras, Lisbon D.R.

Ismaili Center of Lisbon, in Laranjeiras, Lisbon DR

The choice of Portugal to install the world headquarters of the Imamat was a personal decision of Prince Aga Khan, causing many to ask,—but why Portugal, where there are estimated to be only about 7,000 Ismaili Muslims? From the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal, we are told that: “Portugal is a country that the Aga Khan knows very well. He has visited several times and has many friends here.”

A third reason will have to do with the fact that the prince “considers Portugal a country of great tolerance and historically very open to the world, which is, a bit like the entity that he himself directs, a supranational entity.” “The Aga Khan is not a prince of a country or a state, he is the leader of a community that lives all over the world and is absolutely ultra-national.”

Mainly from Pakistan, India and the eastern coast of Africa, Ismaili Muslims left these countries after British decolonization and became more present in the Anglo-Saxon world, such as Canada and England, but also in Portugal, where they settled after the Carnation Revolution of April 25.

The Aga Khan Foundation was created in 1983. “They left Mozambique with money and without crisis. They came here and started making lots of money again. For a long time, they owned all the furniture stores of Almirante ReisFOOTNOTE: Footnote. When the profitability of that business started to fall, they moved to restaurants,” says José Pereira Bastos, an anthropologist who specializes in ethnic minorities and teaches at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Currently, Ismaili Muslims have a presence in the business and academic elites of some 30 countries through the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). In Portugal, they continue to trade in furniture, clothing and hotels, owning the Vip Hotels chain, with hotels in the continent, Azores and Mozambique, and the Azinor group, owner of the Sana chain, with more than 10 hotel units in Portugal and others in countries such as Germany and Angola.

The main investments have been in the construction of hospitals, mosques, universities and schools, and in support of development programs in various regions. José Gabriel Pereira Bastos traces the profile of the community: “It has a good image, totally non-conflictual and uninvolved in international conflicts, and exemplarily peaceful. Of all the communities with Indian roots in Portugal, it is the most developed, it is well above and beyond the others in this sense. It is very organized and has medium-term planning, to the point that I consider them to be more a multinational than a religion, although obviously it [Ismaili Islam] is also a religion.”

Also, the “security factor” was, in this anthropologist’s opinion, crucial for the choice of Portugal. “In no other country would they have the security that they have here. For Muslims, we are the country where there are no crimes against Muslims or terrorism. The gerigonçaFOOTNOTE: Footnote in power also helps, given this government’s openness to the various ethnicities.”

PHOTO JOS & Eacute; Caria


The purchase of the Palacete Henrique Mendonça to install the world headquarters of the Ismaili Imamat was, as reported by the Público newspaper, approved by the Ministerial Council shortly after the Aga Khan family contributed with 200 thousand euros to the public campaign towards the acquisition of the painting “Adoration of Magicians”, by the painter Domingos Sequeira, in 2016.

The AKDN would also come to donate 500,000 euros to scholarships for children whose families were victims of the Pedrógão fires, and to sign an agreement with the Portuguese government to award 10 million Euros in research scholarships. “At one point the realization arrived that it would be useful to create a seat to serve as the center of all the offices and entities scattered around the world,” explains a source from the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal.

Sadiq Habib says he was caught unawares by the announcement of the installation of the headquarters in Portugal. “I had no idea it was coming here, I saw it on the news. There was a dialogue with other countries, but the Imam will have had his reasons for having chosen Portugal.” But do you agree with the decision? “It is not for me to agree or disagree. As a member of the community I am happy, as a researcher I have to try to understand,” says Sadiq.


The advantages for Portugal in hosting the world headquarters of the community are, in the opinion of José Pereira Bastos, “evident”. “The Aga Khan is a mixture of king, Pope, and living God. He is very discreet, very ‘low-profile’, but also very powerful from the economic and international point of view. He has a very strong connection with Britain. There’s a lot of money at stake.” The installation of the headquarters in Portuguese territory “will reinforce”, therefore, “Portugal’s international political and economic position”. “First it was GuterresFOOTNOTE: Footnote, then CentenoFOOTNOTE: Footnote, then António VitorinoFOOTNOTE: Footnote and now it’s the Aga Khan here in Portugal,” the researcher points out.

Another advantage, not political or diplomatic, but social and demographic, will be the possibility that the prince’s move “will stop the flow of people with Indian roots that are leaving the country en masse.” “I know the reality of the Hindu community in Portugal. A few years ago they were ten thousand, today they are about four thousand. They are all moving to London and Manchester, only the elders and a few children are staying. And this flow obviously harms Portugal immensely, due to our negative demography”, says José Pereira Bastos, for whom the prince’s coming to Portugal could reverse this situation.

“With the Aga Khan here, it all changes. The monies, the investments, the businesses all return. It was the same at the time of the monarchy. When the king went to Évora, everyone went to Évora. When he moved to Santarém, everyone went to Santarém. And if the Aga Khan comes to Portugal, then everyone will come after him, entire families, everything.”

The Henrique Mendonça Palace, in Lisbon, was sold by the State & agrave; Aga Khan Foundation, which will install there, its world headquarters PHOTO D.R.

The Henrique Mendonça Palace in Lisbon was sold by the government to the Aga Khan Foundation, which will set up its world headquarters PHOTO DR

Jorge Malheiros, a specialist in migration and researcher at the Center for Geographical Studies of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning of the University of Lisbon, considers that the installation of the headquarters of the Ismaili Imamat and the official residence of Prince Aga Khan in Portugal may “open doors to new economic and political relations with other continents, namely Asia and Africa, or even countries like Canada, where there is also a relevant Ismaili community.”

“The Ismailis are big influencers.” It will also interest the country, the researcher continues, “to have specific groups such as the Ismailis to attract interest in the country” besides “iconic figures such as the singer Madonna.”

The specialist in migrations says that there is additionally a symbolic element to be considered: “The political discourse has been based on notions of interculturality and religious diversity, and welcoming this headquarters has legitimized this discourse.” Unlike the expert previously mentioned, Jorge Malheiros does not see in the Aga Khan the same capacity to influence of old Portuguese monarchs. “I do not think his presence will be reflected in a huge growth in direct investments. From the point of view of financial management and projects, certainly more things will happen here, but that does not mean that the investment is made in Portugal.”

In the next few days, Sadiq Habib will have the opportunity to be very close to Prince Aga Khan. This is not the first time this has happened, but it is always a moment of great solemnity. We asked him what he most admired in the leader of his community, but Sadiq prefers to highlight one of the projects created, in 1977, by the Aga Khan—the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which, in his words, promotes ​​those which are also the values ​​of Islam. “There is an integral understanding of architecture. not only as construction but also as social intervention. And in a world and a context where everyone shouts and seeks to affirm their religious values ​​through violence and coercion, this award is exemplary in the way it shows what Muslim civilization is.”
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mawlana Hazar Imam meets with President of Ireland

His Excellency President Michael Higgins of Ireland and his wife Sabina Mary Coyne, today received Mawlana Hazar Imam at their official residence Áras an Uachtaráin. The occasion honoured Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee, which concluded last month.

The two leaders expressed their commitment to working together to support sustainable development and the strengthening of civil society, and of human resource capacity to improve the quality of life and create opportunity in various parts of the world.

Mawlana Hazar Imam’s family’s engagement with Ireland’s equine industry and related economic development spans three generations.

The Diamond Jubilee year, which concluded on 11 July 2018, marked the 60th anniversary of Hazar Imam’s accession to the Ismaili Imamat.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

President Higgins meets Aga Khan Áras an Uachtaráin

Aga Khan’s family has links with Ireland’s equine industry

President Michael D Higgins hosted the Aga Khan at a reception in Áras an Uachtaráin on Saturday marking the Shia Muslim leader’s 60th anniversary in office.

The occasion honoured the conclusion of Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini’s, (Aga Khan IV) accession to the Imamat, the institution and office of spiritual leadership of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

The Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee year concluded on July 11th last.

The Aga Khan is visiting Ireland after the holding of the Nations’ Cup at the Dublin Horse Show, the international show jumping competition which was established with help of the late Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan.

The two leaders expressed a commitment to work together to “support sustainable development and the strengthening of civil society to improve the quality of life of poor and marginalised communities,” a spokesman for the President said.

The Aga Khan, whose family’s engagement with Ireland’s equine industry and related economic development spans three generations also heads the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the world’s largest private international development agencies.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2018, August 11: President Michael D Higgins hosted the Aga Khan at a reception in Áras an Uachtaráin on Saturday marking the Shia Muslim leader’s 60th anniversary in office.

From the President's website and Irish Times and The.Ismaili:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Video: Mawlana Hazar Imam's Diamond Jubilee visit to Kenya

The film of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Diamond Jubilee visit to Kenya is now available online. This 37-minute film recounts the history of the Ismaili community in East Africa, preparations by the Jamat, and the programme undertaken by Hazar Imam during his visit to the country in April 2018. The visit brought together Jamats from the jurisdictions of Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Malagasy.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exhibition At Aga Khan University (AKU) To Commemorate Aga Khan's Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Sumaira FH 4 hours ago Mon 19th November 2018 | 03:58 PM

The Aga Khan University (AKU) is hosting an exhibition, "Rays of Light," depicting the life and contribution of Prince Karim Aga Khan here on November 27.

KARACHI, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 19th Nov, 2018 ) :The Aga Khan University (AKU) is hosting an exhibition, "Rays of Light," depicting the life and contribution of Prince Karim Aga Khan here on November 27.

Major focus of the event would be on his commitment in past 60 years to improving the human condition of people across the world, said the organizers here on Monday.

They mentioned that Prince Karim Aga Khan, also the founder and chancellor of AKU, had special interest towards the socio-economic development of the country.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mon Nov 19, 2018

AKES Pakistan celebrates diamond jubilee

The Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan, on Saturday held a regional conference to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the Aga Khan at the Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan School.

The conference illustrated the impact of education in Pakistan over the past 113 years since the opening of the first school in Gwadar, Balochistan in 1905. Since then 160 schools have been established, impacting more than 42,000 students countrywide.

The conference focused on a study conducted by students mainly in Sindh to trace the history of Aga Khan Schools and highlight the valuable contribution of the institutions in partnership with the government towards the attainment of national goals for education.

The findings show the impact of the schools in building a conducive learning environment and increasing access to quality education. Through active community participation, the AKES Pakistan provides access to marginalised communities.

Student enrollment in the Aga Khan Schools (south region) increased from 80 students in 1950 to currently over 9,600.

The investment in the development and training of teachers over many decades has exponentially enhanced the number of qualified teachers to over 500 in the region with 60 per cent having a postgraduate qualification. The impact of which is evident from the high student passing rate of 97 per cent at the Higher Secondary level, out of which 60 per cent are high achievers and four out of 10 graduates join the medical profession.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail presided the event as the chief guest. Around 250 people attended the conference, including government officials and representatives of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), eminent scholars and academicians, alumni of Aga Khan institutions, prominent professionals and members of civil society.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor Ismail highlighted the longstanding partnership of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Pakistan and the government. “Agencies of AKDN has rendered services in education, health, social development and other fields in Pakistan. Their values of respect, diversity, pluralism, honesty, integrity, fairness, and, above all, the spirit of serving those who are in need are exemplary,” he said.

The Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan, is amongst the largest private networks of educational institutions in Pakistan. It represents diverse schools ranging from rural community schools with fewer than 100 students to large urban schools with over 3,000 children.

“For the last 60 years, through the Aga Khan Development Network, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan has been working tirelessly to improve the quality of the life of people in some of the most impoverished and marginalised countries,” stated Hafiz Sherali, president, Ismaili Council for Pakistan. “Above all, AKDN has been working to provide confidence, trust and hope in the communities.”

Students from AKES schools have performed well in board exams and many of them, particularly from rural areas of the country, have pursued further education, including enrollment in PhD programmes.

“The foundations of education and empowerment that were laid more than a century ago have borne fruits today in the shape of hundreds of thousands of people all over Pakistan who have studied from Aga Khan Schools and gone on to live successful, fulfilling lives of service to their communities and country,” said Imtiaz Momin, CEO, Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan
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