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Can Sikh Leaders & The Community Emulate The Aga Khan And His Community?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, May 29, 2010.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    Jan 7, 2005
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    Can Sikh Leaders & the community emulate The Aga Khan and his community, with our resources, numbers & the Universal teachings of Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

    Harbhajan S. Sangha


    Aga Khan named honourary Canadian

    Breaks ground on $300 cultural centre

    By Adam McDowell and Drew Halfnight, National Post - May 29, 2010

    TORONTO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper conferred honorary Canadian citizenship on the Aga Khan on Friday, making the billionaire descendant of the Prophet Mohammed and spiritual leader to 15 million Ismaili Muslim followers worldwide only the fifth person to be so honoured.

    Though that “citizenship” is merely a symbolic gesture, those who gathered to see the spiritual leader Friday already thought him a model Canadian.

    “He’s going to be a tremendous addition to our country — your country,” said Shenaz Ladak of Brampton, Ont., who, with a few dozen other Ismaili Muslim Canadians, stood on a sweltering street in Toronto’s northeast end in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Aga Khan.

    His followers know him as Mawlana Hazar Imam.

    The Prime Minister and the Aga Khan met Friday to break ground on a $300 million cultural centre, museum and park that will be built on the seven-acre site.

    The Aga Khan Museum — the first of its kind — will be a white-stone building with a low dome by prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki. Directly south, the larger Ismaili Centre Toronto by Mumbai-based architect Charles Correa will strike a similar, modern pose, with a multi-faceted glass roof and a limestone exterior. It will contain meeting rooms, a prayer room, youth lounge and a library. Surrounding these buildings will be a network of geometric ponds, fountains, gardens and pathways.

    The Aga Khan expressed his hope that the cultural edifice — particularly the collection of artifacts from Islamic history — would serve as a beacon for his sect’s moderate take on Islam and its “search for knowledge and beauty.”

    Harper praised the Aga Khan’s pluralistic view of the world before making him an honorary citizen; the rare gesture follows the assent of both houses of Parliament.

    “As you yourself said, Your Highness, we cannot make the world safe for democracy without first making the world safe for diversity,” Harper said. “If I may say, sir, you sound like a Canadian — and in fact, you are.”

    Like many of his people, the Aga Khan is a cosmopolitan figure. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, he spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, his teens back in Switzerland, and completed his undergraduate degree at the U. S-based Harvard University. He currently lives in France.

    Those Ismaili Muslims who gathered to steal a peek at their spiritual guide Friday had moved to Canada from Uganda, Tanzania, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

    Ladak moved to Canada 35 years ago from Tanzania. She said the education she received at Ismaili schools in her homeland, including English language instruction, prepared her well for Canadian life.

    “You are born taken care of,” she said.

    Several other onlookers Friday confirmed the Ismaili reputation for privacy by declining to give their names. But they praised the Aga Khan for supporting his people with educational and other assistance through the Aga Khan Development Network and related organizations.

    At the Toronto dig site this week, more than 100 volunteers from around North America could be seen bustling about, prepping the site for the groundbreaking.

    “There’s a strong volunteer ethic in the community,” said Farid Damji, a member of the Ismaili Council for Canada who came from Vancouver to pitch in. “It’s an ethic and a value that is instilled from a very young age, in terms of volunteering.”

    Damji said the Aga Khan chose to build the centre in Toronto because of its “cosmopolitan cultural outlook.”

    Almost half of Canada’s 70,000 Ismailis live in Toronto.

    For his part, the Aga Khan has given Canada credit for the successful integration of Ismailis in the country.

    When Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled his countrymen of Asian descent in 1972, the Aga Khan contacted his friend, then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, and negotiated Canada’s acceptance of thousands of Ismailis fleeing persecution.

    The Aga Khan has exhorted Ismailis in this country with the simple but powerful phrase: “Make Canada your home.” Many Ismailis have said this command played a role in their decision to stay in Canada.

    Noted Ismaili Muslim-Canadians include Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed and Senator Mobina Jaffer.

    The Toronto-based project — to be completed in 2013 — will complete a trio of architectural projects in the country, including the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, B.C., and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, inaugurated by Harper and the Aga Khan in 2008.

    National Post

    © Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
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    source: http://www.{censored}/life/Khan+named+honourary+Canadian/3085424/story.html
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    The Aga Khan before this one, and Hailie Selassie of Ethiopia called the Lion of Judah, were fixtures in my childhood. We did not have television until I was 10 years old. But in those days on Saturday for 10 cents we could go to the cinema where they plays a long news reel before the cowboy movie :)) ).

    Imagine a 7 or 8 year old child watching black and white movies of these two. When I would return home I was full of questions about both of them. They were riveting in their manner. And... that I can still remember their images from childhood says something about them.

    Today I recognize this as "statemanship." There is not much to go around these days in the political sphere. The Aga Khan in this article has it. This was a wonderful supplement to a fading memory of inspired leaders.
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