Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ismailis in the News - USF Mourns loss of Graduate

TAMPA, Fla. (May 19, 2009) The University of South Florida is mourning the loss of recent graduate Aly Zain Lakdawala, 21. The United States Embassy in Costa Rica confirmed that his body was found one nautical mile offshore near where he was swimming with other USF students in the Pacific Ocean near Matapalo. Lakdawala graduated from USF on May 1 with dual majors in International Studies and Philosophy, and was well known at USF for his involvement in community service. Since May 8, 14 USF students have been working with the organization "International Volunteer HQ" in rural Costa Rica. The trip was part of a community service trip of USF's alternative spring break program. Lakdawala went missing when a heavy current caught some of the group swimming during a lunch break midday Saturday May 16. Costa Rican coast guard, police, lifeguards and Red Cross have been searching for him. USF staff and the director of the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement were with the group during the entire trip. Maria Crummett, Dean of International Affairs, and other staff flew to Costa Rica to assist his father in rescue efforts. Media inquiries, please contact Lara Wade, News Director,, office phone 813-974-9060, cell phone 813-833-1498.

Ismailis in the News - India's Salim and Sulaiman Merchant nominated for Emmy

Salim and Sulaiman are Hindi music directors and singers in India. The duo consists of two brothers, Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant. Salim and Sulaiman have been composing music for over a decade having scored for movies such as Chak De India, Bhoot, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Matrubhoomi and Fashion. The duo has also composed for several Indi-pop performers including Viva, Asmaan, Shweta Shetty, Jasmine and Style Bhai among others, composed and produced several TV commercials and collaborated with a artistes such as Ustad Zakir Hussain and Ustad Sultan Khan. They got their first break when Karan Johar asked them to compose the music for his movie, Kaal. After that, they have gone to do movies with well-known producers and directors like Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai and Ram Gopal Varma. Before composing music, they were composing the background scores for movies. They are famous for their background scores in horror flicks.

Salim-Sulaiman nominated for Emmy
Times of India - ‎May 21, 2009‎
Here's news of another case of Indian music going global. Our very own hit-making duo of Salim and Sulaiman Merchant has been nominated for a prestigious ...
Salim-Sulaiman bag Emmy Awards nomination
Oneindia - ‎May 19, 2009‎
After AR Rahman did the nation proud by bagging two Oscars for his Slumdog Millionaire score, it's now the turn of ace music composer duo Salim-Sulaiman to ...
Salim Sulaiman go global now! - ‎May 22, 2009‎
2009 seems to be the for the Indian music industry. After AR Rahman winning various awards all around the globe, it's time ... 2009 seems to be the for the ...
Salim-Sulaiman Nominated for Daytime Emmy!
Bollywood Spice - ‎May 19, 2009‎
By Stacey Yount - Salim-Sulaiman are known in Bollywood for their outstanding musical scores and soundtracks and now they are garnering ...

Aga Khan Gift to Burnaby Mayor

This photo is of a decorative clock which was a gift from His Highness, The Aga Khan to Mayor Derek Corrigan to commemorate the Golden Jubilee celebration and the Aga Khan's visit to City Hall on November 25th, 2008. The clock will be on display in the glass display cabinets located in the outer hallway of the Mayor's Office.

His Highness the Aga Khan in Berlin

Photo credit: AKDN/Hinrik Schmoock
Berlin, Germany, 15 May 2009 - His Highness the Aga Khan arrived in Berlin yesterday for a two-day official visit to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.

Focus Summer 2009 Hike4Life


WHAT: FOCUS Summer 2009 Hike4Life in Kyrgyzstan
WHEN: July 30 – August 9, 2009
WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE? This is an incredible opportunity to challenge yourself, to meet people from other parts of the world, and to build lifelong friendships, while raising vital funds for Focus Humanitarian Assistance. Your participation will assist FOCUS in enabling disaster resilient communities.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 31, 2009 or when all places are filled, whichever is earlier.
QUESTIONS: Can be referred to

Tentative Itinerary: July 30 - August 9, 2009 (with approximate hike durations and distances)

Ismailis - Shah Hasan Ali Mausoleum

Hasanabad, Mazgaon, Mumbai - India

By Al-Waez Alijah Hasan Husayn Nazar Ali

Mowlana Shah Hasan Ali spent the last years of his life in the peaceful enjoyment of his large income and hereditary honours at Poona , Bombay and Bangalore . He devoted the last 30 years of his life to the up liftment of the Ismaili community in India . One of his great passions in life was horses. He had in his stables some of the best breeds of Arabian horses. His fondness for horses made him one of the prominent supporters of the turf. There are many cups won by him on the racecourses which are still preserved in the family. The Duke of Edinburgh and King Edward VII, who was Prince of Wales at that time, visited Mowlana Shah Hasan Ali at his residence during their visit to India . It was an honour which, with the exception of the leading ruling princes, was accorded to no other nobleman; this was an acknowledgement of Imam’s princely birth and of the great and loyal services he had rendered to the British government.
Mowlana Shah Hasan Ali died in April 1881 A.D., leaving three sons -Aga Ali Shah, who succeeded him to the Imamat, Aga Jangir Shah and Aga Akbar Shah. Before Mowlana Shah Hasan Ali’s death there was reconciliation between him and the ruling family in Persia . The last resting place of this great Persian nobleman, warrior, statesman, sportsman and Spiritual Leader, is at Mazagon in Bombay . This place is called "Hasanabad" after the Imam, where Ismailis have erected a mausoleum. Millions of Ismailis and Non Ismailis has visited this mausoleum from all over the world.

World Partnership Walk - Over $45m raised

Canadians join 25th World Partnership Walk to fight global poverty 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 31st, 2009
(Sunday, June 7th, in Ottawa
Sunday, June 14th, in Calgary)

Zee' Notes: This month the news spotlight has been on the World Partnership Walk to be held in various Canadian and US cities. Who would have ever thought the growth of this initiative from $50,000 in its inaugural year 25 years ago to last year's $5.5 million raised to help fight global poverty - and off course the impact much more due to matching contributions from various Government organizations. So if you have done your part in signing up to walk and got sponsors from your circle of life have a lot of fun and for those who haven't done so it's never too late and remember you are helping someone who, thru AKDN, may help jumpstart their family to a better life - you don't need any motivation then that....

Here some coverage for the Walk:

Vancouver Sun

Seaway News

Fighting poverty with cookies
Cornelia Naylor, Surrey NowPublished: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rotman MBA students visit Dubai Ismaili Centre

Zee's Notes: In January of this year a group of University of Toronto's Rotman Business School MBA students visited the Ismaili Centre in Dubai. Here is the story...

Ismailis in the News - Ali Velshi - CNN


Zee's Notes: I've followed Ali Velshi ever since he was a reporter on BNN - Canada's financial TV channel - and in the past few years he has become a household word in North America from his perch as a financial anchor on CNN. He will be in Toronto on June 17-19 to speak at Moses Znaimers IdeaCity09 - billed as a gathering of 50 of the planet's brightest minds.

Here is a great article on Ali's trek from Canada's centre of the universe to now the actual centre of the universe - New York City. I never knew his father is Murad Velshi - the first Ismaili in Canada to be elected as a member of a legislature - Provincial or Federal - he was an MPP in Ontario in 1987-1990.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ismailis in the News - Bilal Rajan

Zee's Notes: As we draw near to the World Partnership Walk to be held in many North American cities at the end of this month it seems there are many Ismailis who have made the decision to make a difference and certainly a young man we have met before is Bilal Rajan - author, fundraiser and UNICEF ambassador - who at a very early age made the world aware that he was making that difference with his Barefoot Challenge project. By the way did I mention he has single handedly raised $5 million for charity and that's before his 13th birthday.

Here's a couple of recent articles...

Ismailis in the News - Dr. Vali Jamal

Zee's Notes: I came in contact with Dr. Vali Jamal entirely via the internet. His is an amazing story of a man who, though booted out of his home by Idi Amin, came back and loves to tell about the country he loves. His compelling story includes living in Canada as well as obtaining a doctorate degree from one of the most prestigous Universities in the world - Stanford and to boot, working for the UN as an economist for 25 years. He is writing a book about the Ugandan Asians and also writes articles about life in Uganda from his busy cafe in Kampala. Recently he has started a blog (see below) which I am definitely subscribing to and inshallah one day look forward to meeting him in person...

First his story as articled in New Vision in December 2007

His Blog: For those of you from Kampala you will be absolutely floored by Dr. Jamal's look at life back in the old days and his recollection of events and people is simply mind boggling - you'll think you're back in your youthful days...

His forthcoming book:

The JAN Project - May 24th, 2009

Zee's Notes: Over the last few weeks you will notice a number of articles and videos on Morning Chai relating to Uganda - a country where many readers were born and grew up during their formative years. Today Uganda is desperately trying to grow out of the perils facing many African countries. It is a struggle and one of the issues it faces is the lack of medical facilities and knowhow. A few years ago a Canadian doctor visited Uganda and came back with a resolve to do something about the issue of children and mothers who die tragically at childbirth. I learnt last weekend a group of former Ugandan women who are all in the medical field in Vancouver are also involved in the cause. My kudos to them and I offered to pass on the message in the hopes that Morning Chai readers will wholeheartedly support them. Here is info on an event being held next week to raise funds

Click on the photo...

When clinical professor Jan Christilaw first arrived in Uganda, she found a country “so vibrant and full of life it’s like a heartbeat. You land there and you see mangoes hanging from the trees and you think, how can this place be poor? It’s just dripping with lush vegetation and the weather is perfect and there are fruits and vegetables everywhere.”

“A woman was admitted, [who] had been in obstructed labour for days and was in septic shock and HIV positive. She died that afternoon.You hear these statistics, but when it happens when you’re there, it’s unbelievable. Suddenly, it’s a real person with a real family. It changes everything in terms of how you think about it.”

The Makerere University hospital delivers 27,000 babies a year—nearly 20,000 more than BC Women’s Hospital—and faces a number of pressing problems, including a lack of resources to deal with this huge demand for maternal health care.

If you wish to make an online donation click here:

Thursday, May 07, 2009

NUR LIGHT - The Essence Art Exhibition - May 13 to May 29

Zee's Notes: A great exhibition - don't miss it ! Here is my favorite video of Sura Nur - I know you've seen it but indulge me...

LIGHT - The Essence
Art Exhibition
May 13 to May 29
Opening celebration: May 13 at 7:00pm
Roundhouse Community Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver
tel 604.713-1800
A Roundhouse Partnership

Allah is the Light
Of the heavens and the earth
The likeness of His Light is as a niche
Wherein is a lamp - the lamp is in a glass
The glass as it were a brightly shining star
Kindled from a blessed Tree
An Olive neither of the East nor of the West
Whose oil is well-nigh luminous
Though no fire touched it
Light upon Light
Allah guides to His Light
Whom He Wills
(Qur'an 24:35)

Inspired by the mystical verse on light in the Qur'an (24:35), the exhibition NUR: Light - The Essence seeks to explore the multifaceted notion of light in both its popular and mystical forms - especially within a contemporary context.
Light, in both its physical and esoteric forms is a shared motif to many faiths and philosophies,
and is prevalent as a symbol of 'the good" in popular culture. Light, in poetry, philosophy and visual arts in the Islamic tradition (though not exclusive to it), is an intricately layered reality, metaphor and symbol, is not literally perceptible to the eye, but rather, concealed within the core of being itself. It is this symbolic illumination that gradually reveals the essence of things
The world seen through such a prism, becomes a series of veils to be uncovered by both outward and inward exploration, rational and intuitive intellection. In such a process of unveiling, there is a constant 'shrinking' of space between the macro and the micro, assimilation of the profound and the prosaic.
Curated by Amyn Sunderji and Jabbar al-Janabi, this exhibition is a collaboration of the artists from the Ismaili*, Iraqi and Iranian communities and features the work of:

Amir Ali Alibhai
Jabbar Al Janabi
Sherazad Jamal
Pari Azarm
Mohamed Somani
Rozita Moini Shirazi
Rubina Rajan
Riyadh Hashim
Alia Noormohamed
Nabil Adnan
Naznin Virji-Babul
Farida Mawji

Join us at 3pm on May 23rd for music and dance performances in celebration of light, with Ibrahim Hanna, Sufi dancer Tanya Evanson, and much much more. In conjunction with the exhibition Riyadh Hashim will offer workshops on Islamic Calligraphy (see the Roundhouse Program Guide for more information)
Inspired by Light? In collaboration with the exhibition NUR: Light - The Essence, World Poetry presents a Create a Poem space in the exhibition from 2-5 pm on weekdays and 1-4 pm on weekends between May 13 and May 25. World Poetry Volunteers will be on hand to support your muse and get you writing. Selected local poets will be contacted to read their poems at the World Poetry Extravaganza on May 25th.

Aga Khan Visit - San Antonio April 2008

Zee's Notes: An interesting article on how the San Antonio Convention Center pulled off the Golden Jubilee visit with three weeks notice after the Houston and Dallas Convention officials said no to the Golden Jubilee Organizers.

As well, the Austin Jamat pulled off the following to celebrate 50 years of MHI Imamat - simply unbelievable !!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Prince Rahim Aga Khan in Syria to discuss AKDN

Apr 30, 2009

Aleppo, (SANA)-Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri discussed Thursday with Prince Rahim Karem Agha Khan cooperation between the Syrian government and Agha Khan Development Network, and the importance of its developmental and social projects in Syria.

Both sides reviewed the situation and stages of the projects being implemented by the Network in Aleppo and their positive impact on boosting social and tourist development in the Syrian second city.

During the meeting held at Aleppo Governorate building, the two sides underlined the importance of deepening bilateral cooperation in the rural development and small village projects.

Mazen Eyon

Samir Alibhai's Film 'The Aga Khan - Voice of Reason' to broadcast on BC's Knowledge Network

Shamir Alibhai is the young filmaker who has traveled the world showcasing this documentary. You can follow his blog at

Ismaili Ginans in Burushaski

Burushaski (Urdu: بروشسکی - burū́šaskī) is a language isolate (that is, not known to be related to any other language of the world).[1] It is spoken by some 87,000 (as of 2000) Burusho people in the Hunza, Nagar, Yasin, and parts of the Gilgit valleys in the Northern Areas in Pakistan.

Ismaili Geet - 'Karibu Karim' by Shaheena Karim - Youtube

Zee's Notes: Why do I love doing this blog - every once in while I find sparks of light and genius and today I found this gem - though there is no video or pictures the voice and the music alone will mesmorize you. Enjoy...

Ismailis in the News - John Hopkins student Salman Mohammed named to USA Today First Academic Team

Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

"I very much appreciate being recognized by USA Today; it's quite humbling," said Mohammed, winner of the university's Chester Wickwire Award for Diversity in 2006, the Johns Hopkins Exemplary Leadership Award in 2006-2007 and a 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Community Service. "The things I have done are a product of how I was raised and what I believe," he said. "As a child I looked up to His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. The Aga Khan's vision has led to the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve the lives and conditions of people in the developing world. Thus, as an Ismaili Muslim, I am passionate about serving my local communities in urban Baltimore and also the larger world community."

Ismailis in the News - Odessa, Missouri C-Store Owner shot dead in family tragedy...

ODESSA, MO. - Police have identified the two people shot and killed at a BP gas station in Odessa. Nurali (Nicky) B. Bhimani, 28 and the gas station's owner, was shot and killed by a family member, Nasruddin N. Dhanani, 42. Dhanani was also found dead at the scene. Complete story here...

Ismailis in the News - Ugandan Business Tycoon and Rally Champion Riyaz Kurji Dies in Crash

Zee's Notes: Ugandan Business Tycoon and Rally Driver Riyaz Kurji,46, was buried in Kampala among thousands of wellwishers and fans after suffering a fatal car accident in a car rally. The rally was stopped after the crash with Kurji leading the race. Riyaz Kurji moved to Uganda after completing studies in Ireland and founded the largest Fish exporting company in East Africa. His Alpha Group has an annual turnover of $150 million a year spread throughout Africa, The Middle East and exports products throughout the globe. But his passion lay in driving in the various car rallies throughout the African continent.
Mourners carry the casket of the late Riyaz Kurji after prayers at Aga Khan Shia Ismaili Mosque in Old Kampala yesterday

Uganda: Fare Thee Well, Riyaz Kurji
Thousands bury rally driver Kurji New Vision
OBSERVER LOCKER ROOM: Farewell Kurji The Observer
Uganda People News: Hundreds burry Riyaz
Daily Nation
TRIBUTE: Kurji is cut down in his prime
It was all about speed for fallen Kurji Daily Monitor
Renown rally driver Kurji dies Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Rwanda: Kurji Wins Pearl of Africa Rally
Celebrate Kurji's life
Dar motorists mourn Kurji
Kurji confident
Kurji's death: Motor-sport always a risk