Friday, November 28, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter.
I look forward to his visit to Calgary to:
- accept the grace and blessings of the presence of a member of the Prophet's family
- express my personal gratitude to him for dedicating his life in improving the quality of life of my family, the Ismaili community and all humanity
- listen to his guidance on how I can live a spritual-worldly balanced life and be a model Canadian and global citizen
It was heartening to receive many warm wishes from my interfaith colleagues when I shared with them the article in the Calgary Herald announcing his visit (see below).
A Christian colleague wrote:
"The visit of Aga Khan to Calgary is a reason for all folk of good will to celebrate! With all he stands for and works for his presence here cannot but highlight the positive for all of us and is, therefore, a blessing. I cannot imagine what a joy and blessing it must be for the Ismaili community."
"I hope that today is a wonderful day for you and your community. May the experience be well and trully blessed that your time with your Imam be one of joy and spritual growth for all."
Yet, another Christian colleague wrote:
"This must be a momentous event for the local and Canadian Ismaili community. May it truly be a blessing to you. Since Christians in Canada, including those on our Dialogue panel, have a very limited knowledge of the Ismaili faith, of the role of the Aga Khan, and the Aga Khan Development Network, it might be helpful to draw their attention to a half hour interview that Peter Mansbridge had with the Aga Khan in February of 2007 on CBC. It can be viewed on :
Info on the Aga Khan Foundation Canada can be accessed at :
A Jewish colleague wrote:
"His presence brings honour to the entire city. We wish you a meaningful and successful event today and may you draw strength from the wisdom of your spiritual leader."
One of my Muslim colleague wrote:
"May God make his visit blessing for Ismaili Community as well for the City of Calgary"
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Muslim leader to visit Calgary
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.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The tours were organized as part of the Canadian Centre for Diversity's "Discover Religious Diversity: Full Day Guided Outing" program. The folllowing is a description of the program from their website:
Canada has a great diversity of faiths and religions but most of us are barely acquainted with them. So, in a single day, we take students to three houses of worship where they learn about the history, customs and traditions of each religion. Interactive questions and answer sessions are part of each visit and a brief concluding session led by Centre staff.
In all we had 150 students, parents and staff visit the centre.
Students and staff from Father Lacombe High School, Calgary
Students, Parents and Staff from St. Martin de Porres Senior High School, Airdrie
I am grateful once again to Chaplain Mike (School Chaplain) and Kari Grain (Regional Program Coordinator for Calgary) for providing me this opportunity to participate.
A note of thanks also to the Canadian Centre for Diversity for this exceptional program and to Scotiabank Group (National Sponsor) for their generous donation otherwise it would be difficult to sustain this initiative.