Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Aga Khan Canada Visit - Summary

MHI arrival at Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver - Nov 24th, 2008

Youtube Video by Adil Chagani

CBC News - Vancouver

CTV News - Vancouver

GLobal TV - Calgary

YouTube - Flag raising at Burnaby Darkhana (at dawn)

YouTube - Welcome Calgary style

YouTube Video on Calgary Preparations and Celebrations

YouTube Video on Toronto Prepararations and Celebrations - the best summary of the visit.

An unforgettable occasionBurnaby Now, Canada - 19 hours agoNatasha Rajan can't remember the first time she saw the Aga Khan as a four-year-old in her native Tanzania. But she won't forget the most recent time, ...

Q and A with the Aga KhanVancouver Sun, Canada - 28 Nov 2008... and founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and Don Cayo of The Vancouver Sun. The interview took place Nov. 23 in Toronto. ...

Golden JubilationSouth Asian Post, Canada, Canada - 27 Nov 2008Vancouver was the final stop on the Aga Khan’s eight day, four-city Canadian tour, which began in Ottawa last Tuesday, with stops in Toronto and Calgary. ...

Gallery: Aga Khan's arrival in, Canada - 25 Nov 2008VANCOUVER - She was only nine, but Almira Bardai remembers the day the Aga Khan came to dinner at her mother's family home. She didn't get to join the 200 ...

Ismaili Muslim leader says Canada's diversity is a model for the worldThe Canadian Press, B.C. - 25 Nov 2008VANCOUVER, BC — The leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims says Canada's pluralism is a model to the world. The Aga Khan thanked Canada for ...

Muslim leader draws crowds in, Canada - 25 Nov 2008The 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 ...

Aga Khan's devotion to humanity revealed during Calgary visitCalgary Herald, Canada - 25 Nov 2008Unlike 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 ...

Crowd of thousands greets arrival of spiritual leaderVancouver Sun, Canada - 25 Nov 2008VANCOUVER - Thousands of Ismaili Muslims from across North America took to the streets of downtown Vancouver Monday evening to welcome their spiritual ...

The Aga Khan reflects on the world best hopes and worst dangersVancouver Sun, Canada - 24 Nov 2008It’s something I hear a lot from people who know far more about international development than I do. Enough pieces of the puzzle have been found and fitted ...

Aga Khan sees hope for Muslim-West, Canada - 24 Nov 2008The spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims says he sees real prospects for new bridges and better relations between Muslim states and ...

Welcome to an honoured visitorCalgary Herald, Canada - 24 Nov 2008The 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, ...

Spiritual leader brings out followers' emotionsCalgary Herald, Canada - 24 Nov 2008With 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. ...

Aga Khan takes a personal interest in empowering womenVancouver Sun, Canada - 24 Nov 2008There 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 ...

Aga Khan holds up Canada as model for the, Canada - 23 Nov 2008TORONTO - What may often sound to Canadians like a discordant cacophony of voices from our diverse cultures and interest groups is apparently music to the ...

Thousands expected for Aga Khan's visit in, Canada - 22 Nov 2008CALGARY - 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 ...

Thousands expected to attend gatheringsVancouver Sun, Canada - 22 Nov 2008VANCOUVER - Two large events will be held by religious organizations downtown in the next few days, despite BC's reputation as one of the most secular ...

Leader walking 'road of hope' salutedThe Province, Canada - 26 Nov 2008The Aga Khan's golden jubilee tour of BC made two stops yesterday -- one rubbing elbows with BC leaders, another mixing with his Ismaili supporters. ...

Aga Khan praises Canadian pluralism during Vancouver visitMetro Canada - Vancouver, Canada - 25 Nov 2008The spiritual leader of 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims and head of the world’s largest NGO, the Aga Khan, thanked Canadians yesterday for our contribution ...

Aga Khan's message of plurality a lesson for us allThe Province, Canada - 25 Nov 2008Two year-old Rose Mwaka had her foot amputated last August after an intern misdiagnosed her illness and gave her the wrong injection. ...

Thousands give Aga Khan a rock star greetingCTV British Columbia, Canada - 25 Nov 2008Thousands lined Vancouver streets Monday night for a brief glimpse of the Aga Khan as he arrived in BC for a quick stop. The leader of the world's 15 ...

Thousands welcome Aga KhanThe Province, Canada - 25 Nov 2008More than 25000 people will flock into BC Place today to greet the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims. ...

Royal hello for Muslim, Canada - 25 Nov 2008By DAVE DORMER, SUN MEDIA Thousands of the city's Ismaili Muslim community turned out at the Roundup Centre yesterday to hear words of wisdom and ...

Ismailis prepare to celebrate Vancouver visit of Aga Khan to BC PlaceGeorgia Straight, Canada - 24 Nov 2008By Shadi Elien Tomorrow (November 25) will mark an important day for the estimated 15000 members of the Ismaili community in Vancouver as they celebrate Aga ...

Aga Khan Marks Golden Jubilee In CanadaSouth Asian Link, Canada - 24 Nov 2008OTTAWA – Ismaili Muslims’ spiritual leader Aga Khan, the Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) arrived in Vancouver this week as ...

Thousands gather to hear Aga KhanCalgary CTV, Canada - 24 Nov 2008Thousands are filling the Round Up Centre for their opportunity to hear the Aga Khan. The spiritual leader of more than 15-million Ismaili Muslims is in ...

Aga Khan, spiritual leader to Ismaili Muslims, in Canada for eight ...Daily Gleaner, Canada - 22 Nov 2008By LAUREN LA ROSE TORONTO - Canadian Ismaili Muslims are marking a half-century of leadership of the Aga Khan, as the spiritual leader to millions around ...

The Aga Khan after 50 years: We may yet set the world rightVancouver Sun, Canada - 25 Nov 2008Despite 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 ...

Ismaili Muslim leader says Canada's diversity model for the worldWhistler Question, Canada - 25 Nov 2008British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, right, shares a laugh with spirtual leader Aga Khan during a photo op in the Premiers office during a visit to ...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ismaili visitors arrive in Vancouver for Golden Jubilee Visit

View Larger Map

The map above is Downtown Vancouver - click on the bed icon to see the Hotels listed on the GJ Canada website - these are on the Transport Shuttle route to the Agrodome Satellite JK 
BC Place is the Green button and the Blue button is Downtown JK

The restaurant icon is Vancouver's famous Simbas Grill Downtown location and the Burnaby location is below - click on them for directions.

The map below is a Greater Vancouver map highlighting key areas - the Yellow button is the Pacific National Exhibition - site of the Pacific Coliseum and the Agrodome. Click on the icons to see specific areas of interest.

The Aga Khan: faith and action

His Highness the Aga Khan is presented with the insignia of Companion of the Order of Canada by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, during a private ceremony that was held at Rideau Hall, on Monday, June 6, 2005. His Highness the Aga Khan was invested as an Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada, for his meaningful contributions to Canada.

Photographer: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall

Special to Globe and Mail Update

Aga Khan hails brilliant filly and Cartier Horse of the Year Zarkava

Video on

Great pictures from the event at Getty Images...

Article from

Zarkava was the big winner at the at the 2008 Cartier Racing Awards in London's Grosvenor House Hotel Nov. 17, collecting both the Horse Of The Year and Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Filly awards.

The daughter of Zamindar was unbeaten in seven starts, culminating in a brilliant Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) victory in October, and owner Aga Khan revealed that the filly's great, great grand dam had been named after his daughter Princess Zahra, who also attended the 2008 Cartier Awards.
“I would like to thank Cartier for the prize that has been given to Zarkava and just share with you what she means to me," he said when accepting the Three-Year-Old Filly Award.
“Zarkava goes back to my grandfather's time, to my father's time and the family carries the name of my daughter and so she is very special and I think very exceptional. Sometimes we are associated with fast ladies and this is a case when I am very happy to be associated with a fast lady.”
After collecting the Horse of the Year award, the Aga Khan added: “Thank you very much for the honor and I have to mention my daughter. She bred Mandesha and she bred Darjina, and she will probably be putting her father back out to the field.”

Read complete article here...

Governor General Welcomes His Highness the Aga Khan

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, officially welcomed His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network. His Highness is visiting Canada on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee
Date: November 19, 2008
Photographer: MCpl Jean-François Néron, Rideau Hall

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Aga Khan Visit to Canada - November 19th, 2008 - Day 2

Zee's Notes: It's now Day 2 of MHI's visit to Canada.

I went to BC Place today to volunteer for preparations for the Darbar on Tuesday Nov. 25th. What's impressing me more and more everyday is the number of youngsters who are making the committment to their faith and to MHI. I come from a time where we almost lost a whole generation of teens. In the early '80's my generation had the benefit of growing up in Africa and when we came to Canada our value systems were firmly entrenched so it was not too hard to retain our culture, faith and heritage - and off course moms stayed home while dads went off to work in their new jobs. For many new families both parents had to work so the kids, in many cases, who really grew up in Canada were heavily influenced by peer pressure and sought different answers to pressures of life. The '90's kids really grew up influenced by their grandparents who babysat them for the most part. The last 20 years have been more stable as the Canadian Ismaili nuclear family (including grandparents) firmly established themselves socially, economically and moreso their committment to their faith.
So when I saw all the teens and youth working and having the time of their life it made me grateful to all the dads, moms, grandmas and grandpas who gave themselves so their kids could have a better life. We really need to say a big thank you to those pioneers who took on the challenge in 1972 - many who arrived at Canadian airports with the clothes on their backs literally - and made it a life - and a good one at that.
So the message here is that when we celebrate the Deedar in the next few days let's spare a moment to shed a tear of joy of gratefulness of the blessings we've been lucky to have received in the almost 40 years of life in Canada - which was only possible due to the vision of one who may have a time horizon of 100 years or possibly more - is that not incredibly mind boggling ?....all we can do is be in total awe...

Some news from the wires today:

Governor General Welcomes His Highness the Aga Khan at Rideau Hall
November 18, 2008
OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will officially welcome His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network. His Highness is visiting Canada on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, November 19, 2008, at 4:30 p.m.

Aga Khan on eight-day visit to Canada, Thailand -
Toronto, Nov 20 (IANS) The Aga Khan, the spiritual head of Shia Ismaili Muslims, is on a eight-day official visit to Canada to meet his followers and the ...

BC welcomes the Aga Khan The Asian Pacific Post, Canada
A current of electrified excitement is crackling through British Columbia’s Ismaili community as the arrival in Vancouver of His Highness the Aga Khan fast ...

The Aga Khan builds a better world The Asian Pacific Post, Canada
Celebrating his Golden Jubilee as the spiritual leader of millions of Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan brings his message of pluralism, peace and prosperity to ...

Aga Khan to address Ismaili community here Vancouver Sun, Canada
As Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, he will meet and address members of Canada's 75000-strong Ismaili community in special events to mark his Golden ...

Aga Khan kicks off 8-day visit The Province, Canada
The spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims will meet with Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and BC ...

Aga Khan in Canada to celebrate 50 years of leadership of Ismailis The Gazette (Montreal), Canada - 18 Nov 2008
By Salim Jiwa, Vancouver Province Thousands of Ismaili Muslims have begun a week of celebration to mark the arrival of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan on ...

His Highness the Aga Khan arrives in Canada - Tuesday November 18th, 2008

Upon his arrival in Ottawa, Mawlana Hazar Imam is received by President Mohamed Manji of the Ismaili Council for Canada. The Honourable Ministers John Baird and Jason Kenney welcomed Hazar Imam on behalf of the Canadian Government. Photo: Gary Otte

Zee's Notes: Mubaraki to all on MHI's touchdown on Tuesday November 18th, 2008 at Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. Some interesting notes on watching the video:
Hazar Imam was met by 2 senior Cabinet Ministers from the Canadian Government as he came down the stairs off the Gulfstream jet - the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Next was Mohamed Manji, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada
Mobina Jaffer, the senator from BC, was the first in line to receive MHI followed by her spouse Mr. Nurullah Jeraj. Yasmin Ratansi, the Liberal member of Parliament for Toronto's Don Valley East riding was next.
The most heart warming welcome was with Justin Trudeau, recently elected as Liberal MP for the Papineau riding in Quebec, who also happens to be the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau - a great friend of MHI. Indeed MHI was present at the funeral in October 2000 at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica. A cheer ensued from the jamat, watching the video, at Burnaby Lake JK as this exchange took place.
Also in line was BC Judge Sheni Dossa (wearing the red scarf) and her spouse. Next, and receiving a cheer also from the local BC crowd, off course was our very own Darkhana M/K's (Salim and Leila Ahmed and Karim and Shairoz Nathoo) , who also had travelled to Ottawa to receive MHI.
After the Nashid al-Imamah and the Canadian national anthem, MHI's motorcade departed and passed through Lansdowne Park where the Ottawa jamat had gathered to celebrate MHI's arrival. Some great pictures and first hand commentary on this at .

All in all, a great start to MHI's historic visit to Canada on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

His Highness the Aga Khan to arrive in Ottawa today Tuesday Nov. 18th, 2008

Media advisory

His Highness the Aga Khan to visit Canada on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee

18th-25th November 2008

Prime Minister Stephen Harper meeting with His Highness the Aga Khan in October 2006. (CNW Group/Aga Khan Foundation Canada)

OTTAWA, Nov. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritualleader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) arrives in Ottawa today at the start of an 8-day visit to Canada on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee. The Aga Khan, who is in Canada as a guest of the Government, is commemorating his fifty years of leadership as Imam of the Ismaili Muslims. He will be met by The HonourableJohn Baird, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities on behalf of the Government of Canada.

During the visit, His Highness will be welcomed by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada and will meet with senior government officials to discuss areas of active collaboration between Canada and the AKDN.

The Aga Khan will travel to Toronto, where he will meet with The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. He will also preside over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 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.

During his stay in Calgary, the Aga Khan will meet with The Honourable Norman L. Kwong, Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta; Dr. Indira Samarasekera, the President of the University of Alberta, and Dr. Carl Amrhein, Provost and Vice President.

In Vancouver, the Aga Khan will meet with the Mayor of the City of Burnaby, His Worship Derek Corrigan, as well as The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia.

The Aga Khan will meet and address gatherings of the Ismaili community in each city.

His Highness is scheduled to return to Ottawa for the official inauguration of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building on Sussex Drive,on December 6, 2008. The Delegation will serve a representational role for the activities of the Imamat including the AKDN, and will mark a new phase in the Imamat's partnership with Canada.

The Aga Khan Development Network has a long-standing relationship with Canada and Canadians. Over the past 25 years, the AKDN, particularly through Aga Khan Foundation Canada, has collaborated with a diverse set of institutions, including universities, government departments, the private sector and civil society organizations, to bring the best of Canada's human,intellectual and technical resources to bear on the challenges of thedeveloping world.


Golden Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan His Highness the Aga Khan completed his 50th year as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims on 11th July 2007, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah. The Aga Khan leads a community of 15 million Ismaili Muslims living in some 25 countries around the world and is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). As part of the commemoration of His Highness the Aga Khan's GoldenJubilee which began on 11th July 2007, he has been paying official visits to some 35 countries, using these occasions to recognize the friendship and longstanding support of leaders of state, government and other partners in the work of the Ismaili Imamat, and to set the direction for the future, including the launching and laying of foundations for major initiatives and programmes.

The Aga Khan Development Network

His Highness the Aga Khan is founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals and to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network's nine development agencies focuson social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless ofgender, origin or religion. The AKDN's underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for social development is in excess of US$500 million.

Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Aga Khan Foundation Canada is a non-profit international andnon-denominational agency that supports social development programs in Asia and Africa. As a member of the world-wide Aga Khan Development Network, the Foundation works to address the root causes of poverty: finding and sharing effective and lasting solutions that help improve the quality of life for poor communities. AKFC programs focus on four core areas: health, education, rural development and building the capacity of non-governmental organizations.Gender equity and protecting the environment are integrated into everyprogram. Established in 1980, the Foundation has built a reputation in Canada as an effective development organization that acts as a catalyst forincreasing awareness and understanding of key global issues.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aga Khan Golden Jubilee - Ismaili Frontierless Brotherhood

Zee's Notes: During the 7 days of the Golden Jubilee Games it was very, very evident the notion of Frontierless Brotherhood among the 1100 plus athletes who gathered in Nairobi. It almost seemed that every individual who came to the games was predisposed to connecting with their Ismaili brothers and sisters from other countries. Whether you were Canadian, American, Pakistani, Indian, East African, Tajik, Afghani, Syrian, French, English etc. etc. they all were one and though the games were competitive it was all about the unity and celebrating the diversity - at the end during the closing ceremonies there were no countries but simply Ismailis and all we will remember is how joyous it was to be one.

Here's a clip from the Opening Ceremonies if you haven't seen it...

Click on the link below to get a taste of the what the Frontierless Brotherhood is all about.

Ismailis prepare for Aga Khan Visit - D-2

Zee's Notes: Today is Sunday November 16th (2 days to go for MHI's arrival in Ottawa)

Vancouver was abuzz all weekend with the performances of the 'Allah Hu' shows - all four of them sold out - even though there is so much activity in preparation for MHI's Darbar being 9 days away. The youngsters who hail from Calgary mesmerized the local crowds with their 'Qawali' show and in the JK's, the restaurants and anywhere where Ismailis gathered it was to talk up the 'Allah Hu' shows - such was the impact they had on the city. So if these talented artists come to your city do not miss their spellbinding and inspirational performance.
On Saturday the local leadership gave presentations to various stakeholders on where things stood in terms of Darbar preparations. The noticeable theme in the Golden Jubilee Darbars is the effort by the leadership to keep the Jamat upto date with information. The one learning the leadership has taken away from all the Darbars held so far is that it is vital to give the Jamat info in a timely manner in order to mitigate the swell of rumors which have had major impacts - examples include the December '07 Dubai visit dates which proved to be false and the potential Summer '08 visit to Canada which also was a hoax - seemed someone had too much time on their hands - though it was a well thought out document.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the leadership across Canada that Inshallah, their hard work and efforts be rewarded with a successful visit and a happy Imam.

Here is a great video highlighting the Golden Jubilee in various cities throughtout the world...enjoy

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ismailis prepare for Aga Khan Visit

Zee's Notes: Now that the visit is official - it's time to revisit some earlier videos...enjoy

Here is a new one for you...

Canada Prepares For Aga Khan Visit

Street Banner by Vancouver's Convention Center

Canada's Ismaili's prepare for MHI's Golden Jubilee Visit.

Zee's Notes: Today is Friday November 14th, 2008. (D - 4)

If I was to try and tell you of the excitement currently being felt by the Canadian Jamat with MHI set to land in Canada in 4 days - it would be understated but you can see it in the faces of the people in JK tonite. I just got back from Burnaby Lake where the Greater Vancouver Students gathered and there was a buzz like you would not believe. Tonight, the students are having their celebration under the 'Jubilee Dome' - which is a huge semi-permanent tent which serves as the social and entertainment hall. Though the preparations have been underway for months it is now a reality for the Canadian Jamat. I can imagine similar activity occuring throughout the country.

As well, it seems everyone is in meetings being held day and night in the final organizing for Vancouver which is D-10 days. Burnaby Lake was a place to see all the leaders and convenors today in what will be a marathon session but then I suspect the next 10 days will be like this everywhere.

So the big news today was the re-opening of the registration for the International Jamat for the Vancouver and Toronto Deedars. When the website opened 2 days ago the story was that Toronto had it's capacity filled in 15 minutes and in less than 24 hours all Canadian centres were full. So tomorrow November 15th the site will re-open for the International Ismailis again. The Canadian Leadership is getting on with the challenge of reciprocating the incredible hospitality Canadians were blessed to receive this past year in all the Darbars.

Tomorrow there are 3 shows the youth are presenting entitled 'Allah Hu' at Burnaby Lake and Lions Gate Headquarters JK. Inshallah, I'll try to keep you updated on a day-to day basis as to the happenings in Vancouver as we get to the magic day November 25th, 2008.


From the news:

Aga Khan to make jubilee visit to B.C.

The Province

Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Aga Khan will visit Vancouver on Nov. 25 for a Golden Jubilee anniversary meeting with members of B.C.'s Shia Ismaili Muslim community. "The community is very excited about having His Highness visit," said Farid Damji, a volunteer with the Ismaili Council of B.C.
The Aga Khan has been spiritual leader, or Imam, to the ethnically-diverse community of Ismailis for the past 50 years. Many of his 20,000 followers in the province are expected to gather at B.C. Place Stadium for a ceremonial afternoon. "He will deliver a message and meet community leaders," said Damji. The trip is part of a worldwide tour this year. The Canadian portion runs Nov. 18-25 and Dec. 5-6.

Muslim leader to visit Calgary

Graeme Morton, Calgary Herald

Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Aga Khan, spiritual leader to the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims, will pay a visit to Calgary this month.
The local stop on Nov. 24 -- the Aga Khan's first visit to Calgary in 16 years -- will be part of a weeklong tour of Canada, marking his 50th year at the head of the global Ismaili community. Canada is the 14th country the Aga Khan will visit as part of the celebration, with other stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
"We've been anticipating the possibility that he might come to Calgary, but to have it confirmed now is very exciting," says Calgary Ismaili community member Sameera Sereda. "There are a whole generation of young Ismailis who have never had the opportunity to see him." Calgarian Mansoor Ladha had the chance to interview the Aga Khan as a young journalist working in Tanzania in 1970. "We've been waiting for months and months for this announcement to come," Ladha said. "There will be Ismailis coming to Calgary from all across the Prairie provinces for this day." Community member Almoonir Dewji said Calgary's Ismaili population has doubled to about 10,000 since the Aga Khan's last visit here. "There's a tremendous feeling of grace and blessing that he's coming again," says Dewji. "He is a great role model to me personally, because he embodies the teaching of the prophet in the current time." Details of the Aga Khan's schedule while in Calgary are still being finalized, but a large communal gathering at Stampede Park is planned. In addition to his spiritual leadership, the Aga Khan has gained widespread attention for his humanitarian and economic development work in a number of Third World nations. He has been a champion of Islamic art and architecture and of the restoration and preservation of ancient Muslim archeological sites. The Aga Khan has developed close ties with Canadian leaders through the years, lauding our country as an example of religious pluralism in a world often torn along racial and spiritual lines.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, a Search for Salvation by Shafique Virani

Professor Shafique Virani is an award-winning author and internationally renowned public speaker who has addressed people from over 50 countries and audiences of over 15,000 people.
After receiving his PhD from Harvard University, he served on the faculty at Harvard, was the Head of World Humanities at Zayed University in the UAE, and is currently Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto in Canada. He has been honored by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada and President Mohammad Khatami of Iran, is the recipient of an International Book of the Year Prize, recognition from the Middle East Studies Association and the Foundation for Iranian Studies, and has also been a semi-finalist for the Academic Idol television show, which celebrates outstanding intellectuals who have a gift for communication.
His landmark book, The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation, was published by Oxford University Press. All author’s proceeds from this book are being donated to registered charities. Professor Virani also enjoys volunteer work. His activities take him from around the corner to around the world, volunteering his time from North America to South Asia, from Europe to Africa. Read more...

Ismaili Golden Jubilee Games - Go Syria Go

Marcel - Basketball Syria

Zee's Notes: One of the most memorable stories of the GJG held in Nairobi in June 2008 was the sheer diversity of the Ismaili Community gathered in one place to commemorate this historic event. An even more compelling story was the athletes and supporters from Syria. Even though there were well over 25 countries represented no country showed the spirit that the Syrians displayed in the week that was The Games. If I said the Syrians were the life and spirit of the games I would be understating their contributions to make the games what they were - a true celebration. On the buses which transported athletes around the venues, at the volleyball courts where they displayed their skill and athleticism or at the Games Village the Syrians were the life of the games - they sang and they danced - but moreso in my view they united the 1200 plus athletes and the Ismaili Community gathered in Nairobi who got caught up in their infectious enthusiasm and spirit. In looking at the video of the Syria Deedar I couldn't help but remember the one common chant of the games - GO SYRIA GO.

The young man in the picture above is Marcel who played on the Syria basketball team. I took this picture at Kasarani Stadium after his baskeball game. He was, in essence, the soul of the Syria group. His claim to fame was an instrument - the oud - he carried throughout the games and he delighted crowds with his impromptu performances and he was indeed loved by all in Nairobi.
My telling moment on Marcel is as follows: On one of the last days of the games the GJG organizing committee held a presentation for Prince Hussein and Princess Khaliya at the Nairobi Serena hotel in one of the ballrooms situated off the lobby - I just happened to be there that afternoon by chance - and I saw Marcel waiting outside - he had been invited to perform at the presentation. About an hour later I happened to see Marcel again in the lobby and this time he was being consoled by someone as tears came pouring out of his eyes and you could feel the joy Marcel was feeling within - it was surreal as that moment captured for me the essence of what the games were all about - and Syria's Marcel was indeed the soul of the games. Here is what Altaf Jina, member for Communications and Publications for Kenya Council, wrote about him on the

"One particular Syrian I spoke to on several occasions was a young man by the name of Marcel. When he played the oud (a traditional Arabic stringed instrument) it was as though he escaped to a magical world, overwhelming all those around him with the intensity of his emotion and his devotion to his music. When asked how long he could play before he got tired, Marcel passionately responded, “for hours — the instrument is a part of me, if I stopped playing, it would be like not breathing.” Marcel took part on the Syrian basketball team. He remarked that while their team had lost, the experience of interacting with other Ismailis from around the world, and exchanging thoughts and ideas with them was far more of a victory than just the sporting result. "

All I can say is - "GO SYRIA GO".

If you want to see how the Syrians worked their magic in Nairobi here's a snippet (though fuzzy) and if you want to see more of the GJG highlights this gentleman from Pakistan (there's that Diversity thing again) has captured a lot more here on his YouTube page:

Aga Khan visit to Canada - It's Official !!!

From The Canada GJ Website

Zee's Notes: On Saturday November 8th the announcement was made in all JK's across Canada of MHI's visit to Canada November 18-25th. The dates for individual cities were annouced the following day - the darbars will be held in Toronto (Nov 22/23), Calgary(Nov 24) and Vancouver(Nov 25). Complete info is available on the Canada GJ website:

The following message was in all the regional editions of the electronic Al-Akhbar on the weekend.


On behalf of all the Jamati Institutions, Mukhi Kamadia sahebs and Mukhiani Kamadiani sahebas, we extend our warmest Mubaraki to the Jamat on the historic occasion of our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee visit to Canada.

The Golden Jubilee is an occasion for us to renew and reaffirm our unconditional love, devotion, and loyalty to our beloved Imam-e-Zaman. We offer our humble shukrana to our Imam for his guidance, his tremendous efforts on behalf of the Jamat and the broader Ummah, and his endeavors to improve the quality of life of the communities amongst whom we live.

The celebration of Mawlana Hazar Imam's visit is a major undertaking and we sincerely thank the outstanding and selfless dedication of the countless sevadaris and donors who have contributed selflessly over many months to prepare for a memorable visit.

We pray that this historic Golden Jubilee continues to bring peace, spiritual and material happiness, and inspires the global Jamat for generations to come (Amen).


Over the coming weeks, we will keep the Jamat informed of plans every step of the way as follows:

1. Jamatkhana announcements.

2. The website will offer regular updates on Darbar information.

3. Starting tomorrow night, you can visit the Information Desks located in Jamatkhana loggias.

4. You can also call the Golden Jubilee Hotline at 1-877-570-2008 from 6:00am until midnight Pacific Time starting Sunday.

5. Weekly and special editions of the Al-Akhbar and Electronic Al-Akhbar.

6. We will publish a Golden Jubilee Information Guide closer to the Darbar day

7. We will also publish a Regional Information Brochure closer to Darbar day, which will include parking maps, facility maps, and information you will find useful for the day of the Darbar.

8. Members of the local and national leadership will visit the Jamat over the coming weeks to share further information on this historic visit to Canada.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Aga Khan Syria Visit - August 2008

Zee's Notes: In April 2008 I organized a group of seniors to the LA Darbar. In the course of the organizing, I was floored by the number of people, particularly seniors, who had done multiple deedars in this Golden Jubilee year. I met a retired gentleman from Vancouver who called me 2 days before we were to depart for LA. In short, he had just come back with his spouse from Dubai and he wanted to join our group for LA which was full at the time. He also mentioned that he had also gone to the East Africa(Kampala, Nairobi and Dar), Mozambique and Madagascar darbars. I called him back a day later to give him options so he could travel with us and he shocked me by informing me he was going to San Antonio as he had a relative there and then he was going to fly to LA from there. Wow !!! and I found out later this couple made it to London and Portugal as well. I remember this story as I watched this video of MHI's Syria Visit and I thought of the couple if they made it there the way try this - close your eyes and listen to the geets first, though it's 9 minutes, and then replay and watch - you'll feel something in your heart - but only if the music touches you like it did to me...enjoy

Shah Karim - Tribute by Central Asian artist

Zee's Notes: A beautiful tribute to MHI by Central Asian artist Ahmadi Saidik. I found this YouTube - if you like the music  visit

Aga Khan - Central Asia Visit

His Excellency President Emomali Rahmon presents Mawlana Hazar Imam with a gift of traditionalTajik garments. Photo: Rahim Khoja

Zee's Notes: MHI recently completed his Golden Jubilee visit to Central Asia. There was a time when independant bloggers brought timely news and info on MHI's activities however, I am very impressed by the quality of info presented by our very own and websites. So if you want the complete news and highlights:

Prince Karim Aga Khan IV arrives in Taldykorgan
Kazinform, Kazakhstan - 30 Oct 2008

Kazakh PM receives Prince Karim Aga Khan IV
Kazinform, Kazakhstan - 29 Oct 2008

Prince Aga Khan IV expected in Kazakhstan
Kazinform, Kazakhstan - 27 Oct 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Aga Khan movie screened in Switzerland

From Shamir Allibhai's blog

Zee's Notes: One person who is having the time of his life and following his dream is Shamir Allibhai - the producer of 'The Aga Khan and the Ismailis'. He has travelled just about all over the world and has met the most amazing people you could imagine - I'm having a blast just following his adventures.

Shamir's blog is at

American artist inspired by Aga Khan collection of Islamic Art in the news

Artist Asheer Akram with his black painted wall piece titled “Angel 2” (2008), which is part of his exhibit at the Late Show

Art review: Asheer Akram at the Late Show
The Kansas City Star

Visit Asheer's we site at

Ismaili In the News - Moyez Somani elected President of CMA - Saskatchewan

Moyez Somani , CMA, MBA, FCMA
Moyez Somani obtained his CMA designation in 1983 in Ontario. He also holds an Advanced Graduate Diploma in Management, and an Executive MBA from Athabasca University. In addition, he completed the Leadership at the Peak Program from the Centre for Creative Leadership in Colorado. Moyez is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Farm Credit Canada in Regina. He has over 20 years of senior management experience in the financial services industry, including 3 1/2 years as Vice President, Investments at Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation. Moyez is actively involved in the local community serving on the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, as a member and Chair of the Audit Committee. He is also a member of the Investment Committee for the AgriFood Equity Fund, an Honorary Director on the Financial Management Institute (Regina Chapter) Board, and a member of the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board for Canada. Moyez has served CMA Canada (Saskatchewan) in several capacities. He has been a member of Council since 2001 and has also served as member and Chair of the Audit Committee, and as a member on the former Executive Committee. In 2004, Moyez was named a Fellow of The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (FCMA).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tajikistan: Ismaili Resurgence

Zee's Notes: As Central Asia prepares for MHI's visit next month it seems only natural that we revisit the Ismailis in the former Russian empire - in the next few weeks I hope to find some insight into this region where it was taboo to practice any form of religion under the Soviets. Here is an article from 3 years ago from 'Institute of War and Peace Reporting'

Members of a minority faith punch above their weight as their spiritual leader is also a major aid donor.

By Shirin Azizmamadova in Dushanbe (RCA No. 418, 05-Nov-05)

The Ismailis of Tajikistan, a religious minority concentrated in the eastern mountains, have come a long way since Soviet times, when they were afraid even to have a picture of their spiritual leader the Aga Khan on display at home.
The Soviet authorities were hostile to religion in general, but took a peculiarly strong dislike to Ismailism, originally a branch of Shia Islam, even though it preaches tolerance rather than jihad. As a result believers were forced to practice their faith in secret for decades.
Shirin Sarkorova, who lives in the village of Khuf in the Badakhshan region, still treasures the photograph of the current Aga Khan’s grandfather, which she kept hidden away in a chest for almost 40 years.
The sudden collapse of Communism meant that the Ismailis were able to practice their faith freely, and even meet their leader. In return, the Aga Khan Foundation, AKF, invested large sums of money to help their remote mountain communities survive and develop.
However, much of AKF's activity took place away from the view of many Tajiks simply because the Pamir plateau is almost another world, perched on the Afghan border with China and Pakistan not too far away.
Now perhaps for the first time, the Sunni majority of Tajikistan will come face to face with the Aga Khan’s engagement with the country. Two months ago, the foundation stone was laid for an Ismaili centre similar to those established in other parts of the world.
The 20 US dollar million project is scheduled for completion in just two years, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the present Aga Khan's elevation to the position of Imam. The plan is to hire hundreds of unemployed Tajiks to do the construction work.
The Ismailis differ from the ethnic Tajiks culturally as well as religiously, speaking languages only distantly related to Tajik, a form of Persian.
In this part of the world, the Ismaili faith is also strong in adjacent mountainous areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Ismailis believe that members of the Aga Khan lineage are the true Imams or heirs of the Prophet Muhammed. They split with the main Shia community over a succession issue in the eighth century.
The Aga Khan is thus of central importance to his followers, and many elderly Ismailis are grateful that they have lived long enough to see him in the flesh. The Aga Khan’s first visit to Badakhshan was in 1995.
Said Sharipov is warden of a jamaat-khana, the prayer house that takes the place of a mosque for Ismailis, in the Rushan district. “My grandfather told me about our Imam. I have seen him,” he told IWPR.
Unlike other Muslims, Ismailis pray twice a day, and the clergy consists of the khalifa (literally “caliph”) who looks after one or two villages.
The Imam has brought his followers in Tajikistan a lot more than a spiritual renaissance, since the Aga Khan Development Network of which the foundation is part is an international development agency working in areas as diverse as healthcare and culture. Many Badakhshanis credit him with saving them from starvation after the collapse of Soviet economics and infrastructure, and in the ensuing civil war.
“Without him, I can’t imagine how we would have lived. He builds schools. Children are given food every day. And look how many Pamiris are studying abroad,” said Sharipov.
“This veneration for our Imam is not surprising,” said sociologist Sayora Ashrapova. “Of course, the Aga Khan Foundation has provided invaluable aid for the revival of the region. It is very good…. especially in winter, when road from Dushanbe to [main Badakhshan town] Khorog is closed and the region is virtually cut off from the rest of the country for months on end.
“Life is tough. For all their industriousness, the people of the Pamir cannot do without outside help.”
From early humanitarian aid starting in 1993, the AKF has progressed to more sophisticated grassroots development programmes that had already been tried-and-tested in similar mountainous parts of northern Pakistan.
“Over 12 years of work, it may amount to millions of dollars,” said Hakim Feerasta, AKF head in Tajikistan.
“Along with humanitarian aid, we began agricultural reforms. Our main objective is to make people less dependent on aid, and give them an opportunity to develop their own business. Currently around 80 per cent of residents of the Pamirs provide for themselves.”
Along with the Ismaili centre, the other big scheme at the moment is to open an international university in the Badakhshan provincial centre Khorog. Japanese postmodernist architect Arata Isozaki has been chosen to design the campus - one of three in Central Asia, the other two being located in non-Ismaili Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan.
The university is intended to focus on educating people from poor mountainous areas in the wider region as far as Turkey and China, and the construction project is being hailed as futuristic. In an area where power cuts mean people rarely watch TV or listen to the radio, communications will be by email and satellite link
Feerasta makes the point that AKF assistance is targeted at everyone, not just the Ismailis. AKF has branched out to run projects in other areas of Tajikistan where there are no Ismailis and most people are Sunni Tajiks.
The AKF is still closely identified with Badakhshan. One official with the central government in Dushanbe acknowledged that in the eastern Pamirs, “the Ismaili leader carries a lot more weight than the central authorities do in the shape of Badakhstan regional head Alimamad Niyozmamadov”.
Among other Tajiks the Ismailis are regarded as belonging to a slightly different world – culturally and spiritually as well as geographically.
The construction of an Ismaili centre in the capital has met by residents with a guarded response rather than outright hostility.
"Members of other faiths create schism in society. Look how many ethnic Tajiks have adopted other religions,” said Dushanbe resident Izatulla, clearly referring to the activities of proselytising Christian groups. “For me, the Ismailis aren’t really proper Muslims.”
Many Sunni clerics are wary of a group they consider schismatic from a theological point of view.
“I have to say many Muslim clerics are not happy with the idea of building an Ismaili centre,” said a religious official in Dushanbe who asked not to be named.
He said there were some Ismailis attending the Islamic University in Dushanbe, but they kept their beliefs to themselves, “and we try to turn a blind eye to them – we do not tolerate members of sects in the mosques”.
One urban resident said he did not agree with the Ismailis' liberal attitudes.
“They really are different from us,” said Dushanbe resident Maksud Shukurov. “Many families clearly practice total equality between men and women. For example, they sit down at the table together when they have guests – even men who are strangers…. Personally I don’t like such freedom for women.”
But apart from the new centre in Dushanbe, the focus of Ismaili life will remain far away from such objections, up in the Pamir mountains, where the main aim is to carve out an existence in this harsh environment.
“Life has got very difficult since the Soviet Union collapsed,” said Asilbegim, a neighbour of Shirin Sarkorova in Khuf. “Sometimes I look over at Afghan Badakhshan. You can see it across the Panj river. We’re becoming like them. But we have been saved by our Imam.”

Shirin Azizmamadova is the pseudonym of an independent journalist in Dushanbe.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ismaili receives Award in Calgary

Zee's Notes: The Albert Oil sector has ridden the global economic boom train over the past 2 decades. There are well over 10,000 Ismailis who live in Calgary and Edmonton and the community has prospered along with the $147 barrel of oil. Just 10 years ago I remember you could buy a condo in the Belt Line area of Calgary for less than $50,000 and prices have tripled if not quadrupled since then. But the Ismailis have given back and how - the community participates fully in the fabric of the cowboy lifestyle and examples include Rahim Jaffer - the high profile member of the ruling Conservative Government who sadly just recently lost his seat - though I have no doubt Rahim will be front and center soon in Ottawa - the nation's capital.

Jaffer served city well -The Edmonton Journal : Saturday, Oct. 18

Energy TV recently recognized Ayaz Gulamhussein , the dynamic coordinator of the World Partnership Golf and Bridges that Unite in Calgary.

Here is Ayaz at the opening of the Bridges that Unite launch.(turn up the volume)

Here is an interesting video of the Ismaili float at the world famous Calgary Stampede - the Calgary Ismaili float team has won numerous Team and Individual Awards at the festival over the past 25 years.

Thanks to our colleagues at IsmailiMail for this one.

Congo - National Post series on 'Worst Places to Live"

Heidi Kingstone on Congo: A country with everything, but whose people have nothing

Zee's Notes: It's been 30 years since the mass exodus 'Out of Africa' for Ismailis - however many stayed in Congo - the land of diamonds and gold - a country of incredible but risky opportunities. If you had the guts, and many did, millions could be made. I remember the stories of the wealth accumulated by some legendary Ismaili businessmen. Today Congo is suffering - poverty and depravation for it's people and the sad part is the International Community doesn't care - though there is still a sizeable Ismaili presence in neighboring Zaire judging from the following article in :

Congolese Jamat hosts a dinner in celebration of the Golden Jubilee

As well, here is a great piece on the history of the Ismaili experience in Zaire:

Tomorrow: Kenya's slums...

Kenya's black hole
Second of four parts; London-based journalist Heidi Kingstone has reported from some of the world's most wretched places. This week, she profiles the worst of the worst
Heidi Kingstone, National Post Published: Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ismaili Leaders’ International Forum (LIF) announces Aga Khan visit to Central Asia

Ismaili Center - Dushambe to be completed in 2009
Message from the Tajik Jamat on the Pamir Mountains still visible after 10 years

Zee's Notes: When Mukhianima at Burnaby Lake got up to speak last night everyone was sure it was to confirm the email that had been floating around that MHI was coming to Canada at the end of November. This was the second hoax for the Canadians as 6 months ago someone with lots of time on their hand created a very elaborate and authentic looking Canadian GJ itinerary sometime in May - which turned out to be, excuse my language - BS - and this time it was a simple email which stated dates and cities.

Anyhow the news was the Darbar visit to Central Asia at the beginning of November and though the Canadian visit may occur in the next 6 weeks - it has not been officially announced. Our sincere congratulations to our fellow Ismailis in Central Asia on the upcoming visit by MHI.

The other message was for the International Jamat to think carefully before making plans to travel to Central Asia.

For complete info:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ismaili Anthem - a tribute from S Raheemani

Zee's Notes: Toronto dynamo Suleman Raheemani ( is the genius behind SR Production - producing music and artists as well playing on the band AAKASH. He was responsible for delighting us earlier this year with videos of Zahir 'RC' Bhaidani and his group's incredible ginan performances. Here is his latest - a rendition of the Ismaili Anthem...enjoy.

Ismaili candidates in Canadian Elections

Zee's Notes: While the world waits for the US elections next month, Canada had it's own national election today and 2 Ismaili candidates contested their incumbent seats - sadly the election produced a minority government creating uncertainty on the political landscape - nevertheless our congratulations to Yasmin Ratansi who was re-elected in Toronto's Don Valley East. Rahim Jaffer was defeated in what will be considered a major upset losing his seat in the usually strong Alberta Conservative riding of Edmonton Strathcona.

Ratansi cruises to victory
Toronto Star, Canada - 15 Oct 2008

Jaffer not yet conceding race to Duncan - watch news video here..., Canada - 16 October 2008

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe : dans les coulisses de l'écurie de l'Aga Khan

Zee's Notes: Nice video of MHI at his stables and an interview in French (at end)

See video here...

Warm welcome awaits Aga Khan in Chitral

Warm welcome awaits Aga Khan in Chitral
The News International, Pakistan - 12 Oct 2008

Zee's notes: Interesting article on the Chitrali's efforts to raise funds for MHI's visit scheduled in mid-November.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nairobi's Sno-Cream - an Ismaili favorite...

Zee's Notes: Wow...ran into this interesting article on the net - the Sno Cream on Koinange Street in Nairobi - I remember going to this place in 1972 and again this summer when I visited Nairobi for the Ismaili Golden Jubilee Games - what sweet memories !!! The article also mentions His Highness the Aga Khan, in 1966, sending a note to then owner Amirali Hussein Merali...

Read the complete article here...

Mehboob Keshwani - Aga Khan Golden Jubilee tribute

Mehboob Keshwani sings 'Ya Ali, Mawla Ali' - his personal tribute for His Highness the Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee - I'd like to know where Mehboob sang this - if anyone knows please shoot me an email.

Ismaili Youth Amyn Mawani - End to Poverty

Meet incredible youngster Amyn Mawani - an Ismaili 3rd grader doing his part to end world poverty. His website is

Abeeda Parveen - Ghazal Queen sings Ismaili ginan in Dubai

Ghazal queen Abeeda Parveen mesmerized us all when she sang 'Ya ali khub Mijalas' in front of His Higness the Aga Khan. Here she is reciting the same ginan in Dubai.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Zarkava - Aga Khan stable star wins Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 2008

Zee's notes: Zarkava - the star of Aga Khan Studs stayed unbeaten and won the most prestigous race of Europe. Check out this private video which captures the win and the celebrations imediately after - note the arrival of MHI and Princess Zahra to the winners circle just after the 3 minute mark....

50 Years of Aga Khan - Slideshow

50yrs Of Aga Khan
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Zee's notes: I found this on SlideShare - a social networking site where you can share slides and this is from a site that many of you may enjoy visiting - especially if you are or know someone from Musoma, Tanazania ( )