Friday, December 18, 2009

Aga Khan III - Tribute Video

Zee's Notes: New video on You Tube on the contributions of Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah to world politics and the eventual formation of the nation of Pakistan.

If you understand Urdu you will enjoy this - otherwise some great pictures as well great footage of a Jubilee Darbar.

Aga Khan Foundation East Africa CEO Arif Neky at Madrasa Resource Centre milestone

Coastweek-- Seen [from left] MRCK National Board Chairman Omar Lali, Chief Kadhi of Kenya Sheikh Hammad M. Kassim, Minister of Transport Honourable Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Deputy Director of Basic Education Shaaban Mohammed Digo, Aga Khan Foundation, East Africa CEO Arif Neky.

Coastweek-- On Thursday, December 3, 2009, Madrasa Resource Centre, Kenya (MRC, K) celebrated the launch of its 25th anniversary publication.

The event was graced by honourable Chirau Ali Mwakwere, minister for Transport.

The publication, entitled “The Madrasa Early Childhood Programme: 25 years of experience”, was developed to highlight the history, progress and lessons of the programme since its inception in 1986.

Kidnapped Canadian Journalist Amanda Lindhout thanks Aga Khan for help in release


CALGARY – Journalist Amanda Lindhout is thanking everyone involved in her rescue from 15 months of captivity in Somalia — from the Canadian government and the Aga Khan right down to her family and the ordinary Canadians who raised money to fund her release. “I am so proud to be a Canadian,” Ms. Lindhout said in the written statement — her first public statement since her release from kidnappers last month.
“My faith in human decency was sorely tested at times during my captivity. However, after my release, I am humbly reminded that mankind is inherently good by the tremendous efforts and support of fellow Canadians.
“The belief I would one day be reunited with my family gave me the strength to endure a difficult situation that often looked hopeless. I find it hard to express the depth of my gratitude to my mom, dad, and Perry, who each put their own lives on hold and sacrificed everything so I may live to return home. They never gave up and I am blessed to be so loved.”
Ms. Lindhout also praised the efforts of the Canadian government — even though Ottawa has repeatedly said it does not pay ransoms for kidnapped citizens.
“I know there’s great debate about the role government should or shouldn’t play in a situation such as mine, and I understand the Government of Canada is being criticized both for what they did, and didn’t do to support my family,” she wrote.
“I accept they did what they could within the confines of Canadian policy, and for that I am grateful.”
Ms. Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan were kidnapped in Mogadishu in August 2008, along with local journalist Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was released in January.
For more than 12 months, Ms. Lindhout– a 28-year-old from Sylvan Lake, Alta., southwest of Edmonton — survived in captivity the African country, enduring death threats, fluctuating ransom demands, lurid speculation about her situation and heart-wrenching pleas to television stations for help.
Ms. Lindhout has said she was beaten numerous times and forced to sit in a corner by herself during her captivity. The room she was kept in was windowless and without light, she said, and she had very little food.
Ms. Lindhout thanked the staff of the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi “for providing Nigel and I with excellent treatment and care during our stay” and singled out the Aga Khan, the Imam of the Nizari Muslims, “for personally supporting our recovery and ensuring we were well taken care of.”
Ms. Lindhout thanked the Canadian High Commissioner in Nairobi, Ross Hynes, “and his wife Vanessa, who are not only exceptional representatives for our country abroad, but inspiring examples of selfless, kind human beings. Thank you for providing my family with such wonderful support after my release.”
Source: National Post

Karimabad - Hunza

Zee's Notes: Continuing on the journey of Shangri-La where people live in harmony and old age here is a pictorial of Karimabad, the capital of the Hunza Valley.

 See it on Flickr here

Karimabad is the capital of Hunza in Gilgit-Baltistan by khalilshah.
Karimabad (Urdu: كريم آباد) is the capital of Hunza in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Karimabad is also known as Baltit. It is named after Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual head of Shia Ismaili Nizari community. It is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan and it swarms with tourists from all around the world during summers. It provides spectacular views of many beautiful mountains like Rakaposhi. The Guardian ranked it as the 4th Best Tourist Site in Pakistan.

Bollywood star brings boyish charm to Canada

Zee's Notes: The Olympic Torch trek to Vancouver is gaining momentum, with less than 60 days to O-Day, when 60,000 lucky fans will gather at BC Place Stadium for the Opening Ceremonies. In the meantime some serous celebrities are making the run in the torch's cross Canada run including our own Ismaili Council for Canada President Mohamed Manji.

The Globe and Mail 
TORONTO -- Moments before the arrival of Akshay Kumar - the most famous torchbearer whom many Canadians have never heard of - organizers were gazing at the eager crowd of thousands swelling Yonge Street and worrying if the Bollywood star had enough security.
"I don't think they comprehended this," said Andrew Clark, vice-president of market development for the Canadian Tourism Commission. "I think it's going to be a little chaotic."

Read complete article here

Ismailis in the News - Bilal Rajan carries Olympic Torch

December 18, 2009

Last night, I carried the Olympic flame through the streets of Toronto!  My journey started at Sick Kids Hospital with thousands of onlookers and media.  It was a bit chilly, but the incredible Olympic spirit kept everyone warm and in a celebratory mood.  It was so great to share the moment with my parents and friends who were present. 

I can’t begin to tell you how much of an honour this really was.  I am one of more then 12,000 torchbearers who are carrying the flame throughout our great country.  The Olympics has such an important message of international peace, unity and friendship, and I think the spirit of these games will inspire people of all backgrounds to work together in creating a better world. 

Thanks again for all your support.  Talk to you soon!

Warm Regards,

Bilaal Rajan
“Together We Can Make A Difference”

US Consul General visits Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Burnaby, BC

The Burnaby Jamatkhana

The Burnaby Jamatkhana by US Mission Canada.
Consul General Phil Chicola is given an orientation by members of the Burnaby Jamatkhana, or Ismaili Centre, on December 17, 2009. Burnaby, British Columbia. 


Ismailis in the News - Faranaz Keshavjee

Zee's Notes: Bookmark this blog on your favorites - I love her slogan - In Search  for Salaam. Faranaz Keshavjee writes in a Portuguese paper - Expresso.

Ismaili Community Inpires - Editorial Comment

Zee's Notes: Interesting editorial reply in a Dallas newspaper.

Ismaili community inspires

For the last 45 minutes of each weekly, three hour, lesson students go leave while parents get a chance to meet with teachers. During this time, students participate in a variety of activities, including yoga, and spanish lessons. Here, students, Saarim Khakwani, center, and Aahil Ajani, left in orange shirt, of the advanced level, 5-6 year old group, close their eyes and focus on the lessons they learned that day as part of cool-down exercie. Photographed on Monday, November 20, 2009 at the Ismaili Jamatkhana & Center in Carrollton. JEFFREY PORTER/Staff PhotographerRe: "Involved, inspiring -- Program lets Ismaili Muslim parents share learning experience," Thursday news story.

It has been my privilege to work with members of this Ismaili community for almost 30 years. These first-generation Americans have readily incorporated their lives and their families into our social and economic fabric. During the annual Partnership Walk event, there are American flags flying. Their children come dressed in their Boy Scout and Girl Scout uniforms.
I have seen many of these children grow up to pursue their dream careers as businessmen, professionals and even a racecar driver. Several of these young people have interned in our law office prior to becoming lawyers themselves.
The outreach of the Ismaili community to the population at large is notable and laudable. Their members encourage inclusiveness in their community activities.
With such great potential, it is sad to see daily reminders of the dangerous world in which we live. Perhaps our greatest collective failure has been to cast all members of a community or a religion as extremists, occupiers or terrorists, based on the acts of a few disenchanted and disenfranchised fanatics.
Rather than the daily deluge of stories of terrorism that evoke fear and prejudice, our community, and especially our children, would be better served by stories that provide hope and inspiration for our way of life.
Marcel M. Weiner, Dallas

Pamir Mountains, the Crossroads of History -- NY Times Travel

Zee's Notes: A while back I wrote of the land of the Pamir Mountains as being the inspiration of the movie Shangri-La- where people lived in peace and were healthy well into their 100's. This is an interesting look at what's happening along the Tajik-Afghan border from a travel writer.

Published: December 20, 2009
BY 9 in the morning, the bazaar on a rocky island in the Panj River was a frenetic scene of haggling and theatrics. Afghan traders in long tunics and vests hawked teas, toiletries and rubber slippers. Turbaned fortune tellers bent over ornate Persian texts, predicting futures for the price of a dollar. Tajik women bargained over resplendent bolts of fabric. All were mingling this bright Saturday at a weekly market held throughout the year and, in one form or another, for thousands of years here in the Wakhan Valley, which divides Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Two faiths, one tree: the holiday negotiation

Farhana Alarakhiya and Rob Parker are teaching their daughter Sarra the common elements of their faiths.

Farhana Alarakhiya and Rob Parker are teaching their daughter Sarra the common elements of their faiths. PAWEL DWULIT FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

OTTAWA From Friday's Globe and Mail

For Farhana Alarakhiya and Rob Parker, the biggest issue was what to put on the top of their Christmas tree.
Mr. Parker was accustomed to a star - it had been part of his childhood since his family attended the United Church in his home town of Dundas, Ont. But that symbol made Ms. Alarakhiya uncomfortable as an Ismaili Muslim who immigrated from Kenya with her family when she was 9 and takes her faith seriously. Islam sees Jesus Christ as a prophet, she says, and she felt the star was connected too closely to the image of Jesus as the Son of God.

Read complete article here