Exclusive Simerg Photo Essay: His Highness the Aga Khan and Premier Kathleen Wynne Inaugurate the Beautiful Aga Khan Park in Toronto

PATRON AND BUILDER

Please click on photo(s) for enlargement

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam of Shia Ismaili Muslims  directly descended from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.). Photo: AKDN/Anya Campbell. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam of Shia Ismaili Muslims directly descended from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.), is the builder of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and the newly opened Aga Khan Park that connects the two buildings. Photo: AKDN/Anya Campbell. Copyright.

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THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY

The recitation of the Canadian National Anthem at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

The recitation of the Canadian National Anthem at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Qur'an reciter Ahsan Afzaly, left, with his back-up colleague, Edrees Amiri, pictured at the Ismaili Centre prior to the opening ceremony. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

Qur’an reciter Ahsan Afzaly, left, with his back-up colleague, Edrees Amiri, pictured at the Ismaili Centre prior to the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

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The audience listen to the Ismaili Muslim Choir prior to the arrival of Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mawlana Hazar Imam for the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant

The audience listens to the Ismaili Muslim Choir performing at the far left corner prior to the arrival of Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mawlana Hazar Imam for the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant

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Mawlana Hazar Imam, Premier Kathleen Wynne and the reciter of the Holy Qur'an, Ahsan Afzally, look on as a translation of the Qur'anic verses in English and French is underway. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, Premier Kathleen Wynne and the reciter of the Holy Qur’an, Ahsan Afzally, look on as a translation of the Qur’anic verses in English and French is underway during the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne delivering her speech at the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. This panoramic view shows the elegance of the event which was held inside a beautifully decorated tent built for the occasion. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Premier Kathleen Wynne delivering her speech at the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. This panoramic view shows the elegance of the event which was held inside a beautiful tent built for the occasion. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam congratulates Premier Kathleen Wynne after the completion of her speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam congratulates Premier Kathleen Wynne after the completion of her speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam gathers his speech before rising to speak to the audience at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam gathers his speech before rising to speak to the audience at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam addressing the audience at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam addressing the audience at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam in an animated mood as he shares a joke related to the expulsion of his community from Uganda during the reign of Idi Amin. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam in an animated mood as he shares a joke related to the expulsion of his community from Uganda during the reign of Idi Amin. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Mwlana Hazar Imam receives a standing ovation as he is congratulated by Premier Kathleen Wynne after the completion of his speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mwlana Hazar Imam receives a standing ovation as he is congratulated by Premier Kathleen Wynne after the completion of his speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam graciously accepts the standing ovation he receives after completing his speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam graciously accepts the standing ovation he receives after completing his speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mawlana Hazar Imam unveil the plaque to officially open the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mawlana Hazar Imam unveil the plaque to officially open the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mawlana Hazar Imam shake hands after unveiling the plaque to open the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mawlana Hazar Imam shake hands after unveiling the plaque to open the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam and Premier Kathleen Wynne prepare to depart after unveiling the plaque to open the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam and Premier Kathleen Wynne prepare to depart after unveiling the plaque to open the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam seen departing the exquisitely prepared tent structure that hosted the inauguration ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam seen departing the exquisitely prepared tent structure that hosted the inauguration ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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The President of the Aga Khan Council for Australia, Azim Remtulla, was among those who attended the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

The President of the Aga Khan Council for Australia, Azim Remtulla, was among those who attended the opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Park on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

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The Aga Khan Museum became the venue for a special reception for guests who attended the opening of the Aga Khan Museum on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Museum became the venue for a special reception for guests who attended the opening of the Aga Khan Museum on May 25, 2015. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Date posted: May 27, 2015.

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Reflections on the Opening of the New Aga Khan Park: “Where Nature Gifts the Outdoors” by Navyn Naran and “Trinity” by Ikhwan Allani

WHERE NATURE GIFTS THE OUTDOORS

The Aga Khan Park. Photo: AKDN/Moez Visram. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Park. Photo: AKDN/Moez Visram. Copyright.

BY NAVYN NARAN

Its a place for contemplation,
for enjoyment,
for reflection,
In quiet pools with glimmering surfaces,
and bubbling of laughter.
In the presence of oneself or a group of others,
Welcome to the garden.

For nightime quiet,
For morning awakening,
And daytime walks
For enjoying the green earth,
the fresh smell of shrubs,
A place to sit
Where God is.
Where Nature gifts the outdoors.
Where my mind is at ease
and the murmur of the water,
the ripples from the raindrops
remind me how connected everything is.
How a central rhythm reverberates
twanging like a musical chord
in our individual auras…
Where does that send us?
I like the feeling that silhouettes these buildings
and transmits an energy reflected inside.
We are divine,
We are respectful,
We are compassionate,
We are all beautiful,
if we are only aware of who we are.

If sadness comes over you,
Come to the park.
And to the one side rises a spiritual space,
And to the other, a creative one.
Even in a busy place.
there is space.

Lines and curves, patios and earth.
It is,
My Park.
My museum.
A gift .
I too can enjoy the beauty and awakening.

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TRINITY

An aerial view of the Aga Khan Museum (left), the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre. Photo: AKDN/Geoff Grenville. Copyright.

An aerial view of the Aga Khan Museum (left), the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre. Photo: AKDN/Geoff Grenville. Copyright.

BY IKHWAN ALLANI

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Rahim

Alas,
Three spaces that lift the spirit,
Have come to life.
Ah, how my soul has been eager,
For this blessed day to arrive.

Masha’Allah

The Museum stands as a symbol of culture and knowledge,
A beautiful expression of the Islamic heritage.
Every art piece reflects our wonderful tradition,
Cherishing poets, scientists and mathematicians.
1400 years of Islamic history, coming together as one,
Step by step, piece by piece, what a collection this has become.
Blessed I am, to witness the past in the present,
O soul, breathe, Be one with this moment!

Subhan’Allah

The Park is majestic, a sight of pure aesthetic beauty,
Humbly sowing the seeds of brotherhood and unity.
Every blade of grass promises a new conversation,
As fresh gusts of wind whisper new information.
Flowing water pledges a cleansing of the mind and spirit,
Every thought, every action, one with the universe, no limits.
Blessed I am, to experience this natural ornament,
O soul, breathe, Be one with this moment!

Al-hamdulillah

The Ismaili Centre is the abode of the soul, paradise,
Where the Lord and His believer become one, synchronize.
The flawless rock crystal is the epitome of perfection above,
Where light and shadow blissfully coexist, intoxicated in love.
Ya Allah, Ya Ali, Ya Muhammad, resonate with every heartbeat,
Humbled, I prostrate before The One, I am now complete!
Blessed I am, to free my mind from worldly involvement,
O soul, breathe, Be one with this moment!

Shukran’Allah

May the Museum inspire the mind,
May the Park energize the body,
And may the Prayer hall purify the soul.

Ameen!

Date posted: May 26, 2015.

Copyright.

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About the writers: A regular contributor to this website, Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since. Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in the Paediatric field.

Ikhwan Allani graduated from the University of Toronto, with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mental Health Studies. He currently works as a Medical Assistant at Appletree Medical Group, and has previously worked as a Research Consultant for The Centre for Mindfulness Studies, and as a Research Assistant at the University of Toronto.

A Welcome Poem for Mawlana Hazar Imam for the Opening of the Aga Khan Park

REFLECTIVE POOLS IN THE GARDEN,
WELCOME TO THE PARK

IMG_1815 Aga Khan Museum ParkBy Navyn Naran

The park has been busy with many preparations,
t’was a sunny bright day and the place was a-buzz,
No honey bees in sight, trees, crisp in their posture
Readying for the performance, the opening of the park.

Excitement and interest, can be seen and be heard
At the museum and center, delightful and clean
The beauty and grace and calculated thought
In art, materials sustainable, masterpieces sought.
Today clouds flirt in our skies, but hearts are filled,
the sun is watching, the ground freshly tilled.
Welcome my Mawla, welcome to your park!

Welcome, my Mawla
Welcome to this garden.
The outdoors “where God IS”,
as you, hidden in my heart.
The green is yet young,
as is my soul’s quiet space,
the roots stretching free,
a new baby unfurling in perfect place.

Water pools, invite clarity and clear thought,
peace, contemplation facing east, west, south and north,
in this space, feeling happy, your Love’s blessing, you are near,
there is pleasure, here is Grace,
we come to play, pray, see and hear.
in ice cold, and thunderstorm, we are healed in this space,
i come here seeking freshness, spaciousness from the “rat-race”,
i have danced, skipped and run across the green grass, and the paths,
we are awed at the care and beauty shared,
marble, light, skill and art.

a haven of peace, in the contours of this garden
now thawed in the sunlight, now moist earth, not hardened.
These young shrubs, balanced sensually
‘twixt museum and spiritual center,
like twine intermingling, as we exit and enter.
As the double-stranded DNA bonded by electronic attraction,
magnetic forces of creation spiral energies, radiant interaction

Welcome your Highness, Prince Amyn, Prince Hussain
Welcome to your park, again and again,
Your gait and your mission, your arms lifted as your greet
your smile brings barakah,
and our hearts feel complete.
What have you not given, not improved which lives?
all cultures, all peoples, one earth, many tribes
in such  gardens we seek time, a place to unwind
a reflection, and rest enjoying the child in our mind.

As santoor plucks a melody, expressive, a lilt,
And rabab strums a movement, brown-orange bridging rifts,
An edge igniting spirit, mysteries of the mind
so the garden offers expansion and life of a necessary kind.

It is in this I the garden gives to life,
Welcome to your Park,
It is in this eye, the garden lifts my heart
Welcome to my Park
Every eye wishes to meet your eye.
Welcome to Our Park
Welcome your Highness, welcome to our hearts.

Date posted: May 25, 2015.

Copyright: Navyn Naran/Simerg. 2015.

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Navyn Naran

Navyn Naran

About the writer: Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since. Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in the Paediatric field.

2015 Toronto Doors Open: Thousands Explore Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre

BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT

It is indeed a pleasure for Simerg to present a collection of photos with interviews that were done at the site of the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre on the occasion of  Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open held during the weekend of May 23-24, 2015. These two new Islamic gems were added to this year’s Doors Open exploration roster of more than 155 architecturally and culturally rich buildings across Toronto.

May 24th 2015 - Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. TheIsmaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015, Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum.  Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Park with Museum in background. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Park with Museum in background. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 - Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 - Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum Bellerive Room (Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection). Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum Bellerive Room (Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection). Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

The two iconic buildings were added to the Toronto landscape when they were officially opened last September by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in the presence of the patron, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) and 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. Prince Karim became the Imam of the Ismailis on July 11, 1957, when he was only 21. His Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated in 2017, the same year (and month) Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum, Diwan Restaurant. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum, Diwan Restaurant. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 - Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum, gift shop. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum, gift shop. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum, gift shop. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum, gift shop. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 - Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre, a briefing for visitors. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre, a briefing for visitors. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 - Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre. Visitors on the move to see other sections of the centre. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre. Visitors on the move to see other sections of the centre. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 - Toronto's 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. Copyright.

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Volunteer Mehdi Ansar. Photo: Malik Merchant /Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Volunteer Mehdi Ansar. Photo: Malik Merchant /Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. Visitors at the Aga Khan Park, outside the Aga Khan Museum. Background – the Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. Visitors tour the Aga Khan Park. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. Visitors tour the Aga Khan Park. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

May 24th 2015 – Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open. The Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg. Copyright

It is estimated that more than 10,000 people visited the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre during Doors Open. Visitors described their experience as rich, and complimented the hosts for their excellent organization and the explanations that were provided. Several Toronto residents said they would return to visit the museum’s collection of Islamic art in greater detail.

Date posted: Monday, May 25, 2015.

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The Aga Khan Park: Tranquil, Contemplative Space, and a Place to be Enjoyed by All to be Inaugurated on Monday, May 25, 2015

PHOTOS CAPTURE THE 5 YEAR EVOLUTION OF THE SITE

April 2010: Preparation

A photo from April 2010 of the site of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park as the trees were being removed to make room for the contruction.

A photo from April 2010 of the site of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park as the trees were being removed to make room for the construction. “No need to worry…the trees will be replaced,” wrote Jim Bowie for a photo essay for Simerg. Photo: Jim Bowie. Copyright.

It was officially announced in Jamatkhanas across Canada yesterday, May 17th, that the opening of the Aga Khan Park will, Inshallah, take place in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on Monday May 25th, 2015. The announcement also noted that arrangements are underway to webcast the event live as well as telecast the opening ceremonies at Jamatkhanas across the country.

This follows the opening last September of two architectural gems, the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre and Jamatkhana, which adjoin the Park.

September 2011: Construction

September 14, 2011. The return of the trees. Photo: Jim Bowie. Copyright.

September 14, 2011. The return of the trees, while the construction of the Aga Khan Museum (foreground) and the Ismaili Centre proceeds speedily Photo: Jim Bowie. Copyright.

The presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam once again in this country will be a source of immense grace and barakah, and the jamats across Canada truly offer their humble shukrana to their beloved Imam.

The Aga Khan Park is the newest addition to other civic green spaces established or restored by Mawlana Hazar Imam, such as the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Forodhani Park in Zanzibar, Khorog City Park, Babur’s Gardens in Kabul, and the parks currently under development in Burnaby and Edmonton.

September 2014: Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum Opening

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Prime Minister Stephen Harpur at the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre on September 12, 2014. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Prime Minister Stephen Harpur at the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre on September 12, 2014. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Mawlana Hazar Imam explains the significance of the garden in Islamic cultures and its establishment in Canada in the following remarks made at the Presentation of the Gold Medal by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in Ottawa in November 2013:

“… our faith constantly reminds us to observe and be thankful for the beauty of the world and the universe around us, and our responsibility and obligation, as good stewards of God’s creation, to leave the world in a better condition than we found it. The garden is, in this context, a particularly important space in Islamic cultures… Bringing such beautiful spaces to Canada is one of our intended contributions to the Canadian landscape. An example is the new park in Toronto which will surround the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre as well as new projects in Edmonton and Burnaby …”

The park’s architect, Vladimir Djurovic, describes its inspiring vision in the following manner in an interview in 2010:

“Our vision for the project is one that captures the essence of the Islamic garden and translates it into an expression that reflects its context and contemporary age. Embracing the five senses as the means to reach the soul, every space and garden are imbued with the delicate sensations that we seem to have lost in this fast-paced era.”

The Aga Khan Park is intended to be a space of tranquility and contemplation, and a place of beauty and reflection for the Jamat and the larger society. It is also designed to host educational programmes and outdoor gatherings, such as concerts and weddings. It will be an inviting space for diverse members of the larger community to meet, for families to gather and children to play.

It will be a place where people can take a walk, enjoy and immerse themselves in the beauty and majesty of Allah’s creation and perhaps also reflect upon the nature and significance of the two spectacular buildings that the park surrounds.

December 2014: Three Views of the Park

The  Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Copyright. Rian Dewji, Toronto.

The Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the  Aga Khan Museum in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Park photographed in December 2014, with the Aga Khan Museum in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

A panoramic view taken from the Aga Khan Museum, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

A panoramic view taken from the Aga Khan Museum, with the Ismaili Centre in the background. Photo: Rian Dewji, Toronto. Copyright.

The Aga Khan Park is one of several significant Imamat institutions and projects established in Canada, including the Global Centre for Pluralism, the Ismaili Centres in Burnaby and Toronto, the Aga Khan Museum and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat. Inshallah, through their respective functions and architectural idioms, these institutions will continue to express the aspirations, identity and values of our faith, such as respect for pluralism, the notion of a common humanity, search for knowledge and beauty, and balance between din (the sacred) and duniya (the material world).

In place of negative representations of our faith and the “clash of ignorance”, these “gifts” benevolently provided to us by Imam-e-Zaman will foster an increased and enlightened understanding of the faith of Islam, as well as stimulate dialogue and fraternity between different cultures and communities, which is so urgently needed today in a world filled with turmoil, intolerance and extremism.

Date posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

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Hope, and not Despondency, in the Wake of Misfortune and Tragedy

LETTER FROM PUBLISHER
Yellow Tulips - Hope amidst Tragedy
“Despair not of the Spirit of Allah. Lo! None despaireth of the Spirit of Allah save disbelieving folk.” (Holy Qur’an, Chapter 12, Verse 87).

The recent tragedy in Karachi, where dozens of innocent Ismailis were the subject of wanton violence is extremely disquieting. Besides questioning the humanity of our fellow citizens, it may serve to bring to the fore the insecurities of a people who have been subject to religious persecution in the past and are today, without exception, minorities in every single land they live in. As the Ismailis of Karachi (and of Pakistan in general) reflect on the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, perhaps it would natural for them to give in to despondency. This, however, should be cautioned against, for the following reasons.

Today, Ismaili Jamats globally unite in prayers and solidarity with their brethren of Karachi sending a strong message that their brethren are not just a forgotten minority in a big state, but an indivisible part of a strong global brotherhood. Equally, and no less significant, is the Imam’s global work and name, which has resulted in condemnation across the globe by world leaders, and which will ensure that this tragedy will not end up as just another footnote in an unending series of attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan. As K. N. Pandita says in a recent article:

 “But given the international influence and reach of Prince Aga Khan and the great humanitarian works that his Foundation is doing in many parts of the world including Karachi, the massacre is bound to cause ripples in Pakistan politics. This is the reason why the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Army chief both lost no time in flying into Karachi to take stock of things”. [1]

There is reason to hope that from this tragedy, and from the blood of innocents, a reaffirmation of the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan will result, Inshallah.

Date posted: May 18, 2015.

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[1]  http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/tragedy-descends-on-ismailis/

Canadian Muslim Organizations Offer Condolences to the Ismaili Community + List of Deceased

“….Life is utterly sacred in all Faiths, and in Islam it has a special sanctity that outweighs the holiness of all sacred spaces, so much so that for the Ka’bah to crumble into dust is less a concern than that for one drop of innocent blood to be spilled! I am saddened by the senseless loss of life around the world, each soul is special, every life is important…” an excerpt from Mohamad Jebara’s message.

Editor’s note: Messages of condolences have been pouring in from all over the world for the Ismaili community and His Highness the Aga Khan for the precious lives that were lost in Karachi on May 13, 2015, resulting from a gun attack on an Ismaili bus.

A selection of messages from Muslim organizations in Canada is produced below. Please also see our previous post, Leaders and Communities Extend Condolences to His Highness the Aga Khan and His Ismaili Followers as Mass Funeral is Held in Karachi for Terror Victims.

At the bottom of this page we have published a list of individuals who passed away in the tragic attack. As we have noted, we will update the list with more details as friends and relatives of the victims review the list and send us updates by submitting their feedback at Leave a comment  or writing to simerg@aol.com, subject: Deceased details.

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Candle Light Vigil in Toronto on Saturday May 16th
to Commemorate Karachi Tragedy

Toronto 13th May 2015: The Pakistani-Canadian community of Toronto is holding a vigil at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, 16th May 2015 at the Consulate (7880 Keele Street, Unit #14, Vaughan, ON). The event is open to all communities and is being held to commemorate the victims of the Karachi attack in which 44 innocent Pakistanis lost their lives.

All Canadians are invited to join the vigil to express their solidarity with the Pakistani nation in this hour of grief.

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Statement from The Muslim Coordinating Council of the National Capital Region (MCC-NCR), mccncr.org
mccncr_logo_with_textFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, Ontario (May 14, 2015) – The Muslim Coordinating Council of the National Capital Region (MCC-NCR) express our shock and grief at the massacre of at least 45 of our Ismaili Shia brothers and sisters in Karachi, Pakistan on May 13, 2015. We condemn this heinous crime in the strongest terms and offer heart felt condolences to Ismaili Muslims in Ottawa, and all over the world.

We note with dismay that the killing of Ismaili Shia Muslims is a part of a continuing pattern of persecution and harassment of religious minorities by extremist groups, that has included attacks on mosques, killing of doctors and teachers in Karachi, and attacks resulting in death and injury of a large number of men, women, and children of the Hazara community in the province of Baluchistan. The MCC-NCR calls upon the Government of Pakistan to take effective measures for the prevention of attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan.

President, Anwar ul Haq, Ottawa,
Tel: 613-863-9441
Email: anwarjee@gmail.com

Spokesperson: Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan,
Tel: 613-820-1064,
Email: mohammedazharalikhan9@gmail.com

Media Committee, Tariq Ahsan
Tel: 613-830-3106
Email: tariq.527@gmail.com

MCC-NCR represents Canadian Muslims of the National Capital Region of Ottawa and Gatineau and engages with fellow Canadian citizens of all of all faiths to promote human rights, equality, and justice for all Canadians.

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Statement from the Ottawa Shia Islamic Associationoshia_logo

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

OSHIA.CA (613) 853-7881
Info@oshia.ca

Ottawa: May 13, 2015. We are shocked by the senseless act of violence against members of the Ismaili Shia community today in Karachi which resulted in the killing of more than forty men and women and scores of the others injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and injured in the attack.

The barbaric attack on the bus carrying people to their places of work in Karachi once again highlights the danger the Muslim minorities and the people of other faiths face in Pakistan and the government of Pakistan’s inability to protect its citizens from the Wahhabi/Salafi militant groups.

We take serious note of this morning’s heinous act of violence in Karachi. We hope that Government of Pakistan will soon apprehend the perpetrators of these contemptible acts and bring them to justice.

Jaffar Hashmi
President

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Statement from the Cordova Spiritual Education Center
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

cordova_spiritual_education_centernew

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 10:51 AM
Official Statement

Life is utterly sacred in all Faiths, and in Islam it has a special sanctity that outweighs the holiness of all sacred spaces, so much so that for the Ka’bah to crumble into dust is less a concern than that for one drop of innocent blood to be spilled! I am saddened by the senseless loss of life around the world, each soul is special, every life is important. ​

My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of our Ismaili brethren senselessly killed in Karachi yesterday. My condolences to His Highness Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan and the Ismaili Jamaat around the world.

During times of tribulation, when dark forces aim to divide us, we must work even hard to set aside our differences and unite for the common good of all people. Neither faith nor rational logic can justify such heinous acts of violence and destruction.

​In deep Respect,​

Mohamad Jebara
Chief Imam, Resident Scholar

Cordova Spiritual Education Center
Office: 1-855-567-3223 Ext. 804

http://www.cordovacenter.org/
email: imam@cordovacenter.org

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Statement from the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and Muslims Against Terrorism

4ISCCLogoalt

Date: May 13, 2015

For Immediate Release

Calgary: The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) and the Muslims Against Terrorism (MAT) strongly condemn today’s massacre of Ismaili Muslims in Karachi, Pakistan. According to the media reports the attacks on a bus carrying Ismaili Muslims was carried out by the ISIS and Taliban recruits.

Once again today’s attacks on peaceful innocent people prove that the terrorism is on the rise and the strategy to control terrorism is failing. The worldwide governments must change their approach towards terrorism. Terrorism and extremism can only be eliminated by eliminating the ideology that creates terrorists and extremists. And clearly identify the people behind it.

Those who commit extremist and terrorist actions in the name of Islam are in fact the followers of Wahabi ideology which is being spread among Muslims by the Saudi funded and trained Imams and leaders under the patronage of the western countries especially the United States. The current level of sectarianism among Muslims never existed in the history of Muslims. The source of such hateful and violent sectarianism is the Wahabi interpretation of Islam with which Sunni Muslims strongly disagree.

“I am extremely disappointed by the CBC and the other media outlets for their ill-informed reporting of today’s tragedy in Pakistan”, Imam Soharwardy said in a statement today. “We have repeatedly informed the CBC and other Canadian media outlets that these terrorists must not be called “SUNNI MUSLIMS”. They are WAHABIS. We, the Sunni and Shia Muslims are the victims of Wahabi terrorism but media keep on misinforming and misrepresenting Sunni Muslims”. ISCC and MAT is consulting with legal experts on how to take legal action against some of the media outlets which are deliberately associating and identifying the Wahabi terrorists as Sunni Muslims. This is far from the truth. All Sunni Muslims condemn the massacre of innocent people regardless of their groups/sects or religious affiliations.

Once again our sympathies and condolences are with the Ismaili community. We pray for the victims and express our full support with their families and the community.

For any questions please contact:
Imam Syed Soharwardy
416-994-5467.

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List of Deceased 
(incomplete)

The following list of  individuals within the jurisdiction of Sachal Police Station who died in Karachi’s gun attack on May 13th has been released by the Sindh government, and was published in the Dawn newspaper. Simerg will try and obtain the complete names and ages of the deceased, and update the information.

List of  female victims (list may be incomplete, and exact ages and names as well as any relationship to other victims will be updated by Simerg shortly):

  1. Shireen Faqdar;
  2. Zahida Syed;
  3. Arifa Ameer Ali;
  4. Aneela Zulfiqar;
  5. Yasmin Nazar Ali;
  6. Shamim Shaukat;
  7. Saiedh Peer Mohammad;
  8. Wali Qasim;
  9. Zubaida Akbar;
  10. Shamim Ameer Ali;
  11. Zubaida Nazar Ali;
  12. Ameena Nazar;
  13. Neelam Rizwan;
  14. Asmeera Saleem;
  15. Sonia Ranish;
  16. Areesha Zulfiqar; and
  17. Laila Sultan.

According to Dawn newspaper, all the ladies listed above were stated to be between the ages of 20 to 50 years.

List of  male victims (list is incomplete, and exact ages and names as well as any relationship to other victims will be updated by Simerg shortly):

  1. Nazar Ali;
  2. Noor Mohammad Kadiwal;
  3. Sayed Nazar Manpura;
  4. Jawaid Dilawa Manpura;
  5. Liaquat Noorji Ladjipura;
  6. Nazar Miyaji Sunesra;
  7. Rajab Ali Kuwara;
  8. Rizwan Raheem Badarpura;
  9. Raheem Mianji Sherwa;
  10. NoorAli Bhai;
  11. Abdul Wale;
  12. Ramzan Wali; and
  13. Sultan Qasim Varsilla.

As a note of interest it was announced yesterday at the Ottawa Jamatkhana that family members and friends residing in Ottawa will be performing the ceremony of “samar” (remembrance and prayers for the deceased souls) in the Ottawa Jamatkhana on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Also, a  special 7 day tasbih at Jamatkhanas in Canada (and abroad) has been instituted to pray for the restoration of peace in various parts of the world where there is conflict and unrest. As part of this website, we offer an obituaries and tributes page to family members who wish to pay their respects and tributes for their deceased family members. Please visit Passings.

Date posted: Saturday, May 16, 2015 (10:05).
Date updated: May 16, (13:25).

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We invite our readers to record their messages of grief and sympathy by clicking Leave a comment

Leaders and Communities Extend Condolences to His Highness the Aga Khan and His Ismaili Followers as Mass Funeral is Held in Karachi for Terror Victims

KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

KARACHI, PAKISTAN – MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A genuine outpouring of sympathy has been extended to His Highness the Aga Khan and his followers after the gun attack on a bus in Karachi on May 13, 2015 in which 43 Ismailis were killed at point black range. Two more people died later in a hospital from injuries they suffered. An Associated Press report published in both the Washington Post and The Miami Herald (Karachi Mass Funeral) states that Pakistan was observing a day of national mourning, and state-run television was broadcasting live footage, showing mourners attending the last rituals for the victims of Wednesday’s assault. Forty-three of the victims were laid to rest in a mass funeral on Thursday, one was buried earlier, and another body remains to be identified. The following is a selection of messages of sympathy that have been publicly released by numerous leaders and governments around the world.

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Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada

Prime Minister Stephen and His Highness the Aga Khan at the Parliament of Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen and His Highness the Aga Khan at the Parliament of Canada.

“Canada condemns the cowardly terrorist attack on a bus carrying Shi’a Ismaili Muslims in Karachi.

“It is particularly chilling that gunmen opened fire indiscriminately, murdering many Ismailis regardless of their gender or age. It is an affront to everyone who cherishes religious freedom. We urge the Government of Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure that all religious minorities in the country are protected and their religious freedom guaranteed.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who perished in this murderous attack. We also offer our heartfelt prayers that those injured may have a speedy recovery.

“I have worked closely with His Highness the Aga Khan over the years and know first-hand of the peaceful nature of the Shi’a Ismaili community here in Canada and around the world. We mourn with His Highness and the entire Shi’a Ismaili Imamat who have consistently stood for peace, pluralism and religious freedom.”

________________

Statement by the US Secretary of State

Secretary of State John KerryPress Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC May 14, 2015

“I strongly condemn the heinous May 13 attack on a bus in Karachi, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of members of the Ismaili community.

“The American people stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and with the global Ismaili community on this tragic day. Make no mistake: There is more strength by far in the respect and solidarity that we feel towards one another than there could ever be in any terrorist attack.

“I extend my personal condolences to the families of the victims, and to my dear, esteemed friend His Highness the Aga Khan, who has led the Ismaili community in investing in so many important development and education projects not only in Pakistan, but around the world. We will support efforts to bring all those responsible to justice and stand ready to provide assistance to the investigation of this tragic attack.”

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Statement by Canadian Senator Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer

Senator Mobina Jaffer, left, pictured in Kenya.

Senator Mobina Jaffer, left, pictured in Kenya.

“Honourable Senators, I rise today with a very heavy heart. Very early this morning, I awoke to the news that forty- three innocent Ismaili Muslims who were riding a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, were senselessly gunned down by six armed individuals who were dressed in police uniforms. They were my brothers and sisters in faith.

“Sixty-two people were on the bus on their way to a community centre when the gunmen boarded after cutting off the bus with their motorcycles. Once inside, the gunmen shot indiscriminately at the men, women and children. When the gunmen left, an injured individual drove the bus to a nearby hospital. By the time they arrived at the hospital, most of the passengers had died.

“His Highness the Aga Khan, my spiritual leader, stated: ‘This attack represents a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and wounded in the attack’.

“Other leaders across Pakistan have expressed their absolute shock at this attack on the Ismaili Muslim community. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, called it ‘‘a deplorable attempt to spread chaos in Pakistan.’’

Honourable senators, the Ismaili Muslim community is one of the most peaceful and charitable communities in Pakistan. They are involved in a number of development projects across the country and work in all segments of society. Their roots in Pakistan are very deep, as they have inhabited that area of the world for hundreds of years. While the community is small, their positive impact on Pakistan is tremendous.

“As an Ismaili Muslim and as a Canadian, my heart breaks for the victims of this attack and for their families. Many of those killed had Canadian family members. I understand that one Canadian has lost his father, mother and brother. I know you join me in sending our condolences to those Canadians. I know this Chamber will join me in condemning this abhorrent attack on innocent individuals in Pakistan.

“As mine are, I know your thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones in Pakistan and Canada.”

Thank you.

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the
UN Secretary-General

New York, 13 May 2015

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonThe Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack today on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 45 members of the Ismaili community and injuring several others. 

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of this despicable act.

Taking note that a number of attacks against the Shia and Christian minorities have taken place in the recent past in Pakistan, the Secretary-General urges the Government of Pakistan to take swift measures aimed at effective protection of religious minorities in the country. Creating a climate of tolerance, understanding and respect will greatly contribute to achieving this objective. 

Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community, must uphold its obligations and commitments towards protecting its citizens, including all minorities. 

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan.  He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.

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Statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry

Marziyeh AfkhamIran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham, pictured at left, condemned a Wednesday terrorist attack in the Pakistani city of Karachi that killed scores of Shiite Muslims on a bus.

Afkham slammed the atrocity and condoled with the bereaved families of the victims and the Pakistani people and government.

“Extremism and terrorism are against humanity and Islam, and killing innocent people, with any purpose and in any form, is rejected and unjustifiable,” she said.

The objective of such terrorist attacks is to undermine unity in Pakistan, Afkham warned, but expressed confidence that prudence and rapport between the Pakistani government and nation would safeguard stability and security in Irans neighboring country.

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Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Turkey“We have learned with great sorrow that more than 40 people lost their lives and around 20 others were injured, according to initial reports, as a result of the armed attack perpetrated against a bus carrying members of the Ismaili sect, in Karachi, Pakistan today (13 May) in the morning hours.

“We strongly condemn this terrorist attack. We share the grief of the friendly and brotherly people of Pakistan and express once again our strong feelings of solidarity with the Government of Pakistan.

“We wish God’s mercy on those who lost their lives in this heinous attack, convey our condolences to their families and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”

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Statement by the European Union Spokesperson

13/05/2015

“The deadly attack on a bus in Karachi today that has killed at least 43 people and wounded more civilians is a further instance of the scourge of sectarian violence.

“The Pakistani government must do its utmost to tackle sectarian violence and bring to justice the perpetrators of these violent and criminal acts. There must also be no impunity for these crimes. The rights of all citizens need to be protected, regardless of religion or belief.

“The European Union expresses its condolences to the families and friends of the victims.”

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Statement by the Pakistan Consul General in Chicago

Pakistan Consul General

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Statement by US Ambassador to Pakistan

May 13, 2015

us-ambassador-olson“On behalf of the American people, U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson extends his deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of Wednesday’s heinous bus attack in Karachi, and strongly condemns this senseless terrorist act. 

“The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the people of Pakistan in their efforts to counter terrorism, and supports the right of every person to worship as they choose, without fear of intimidation, coercion or violence. We support Pakistan’s efforts to bring all those involved to justice and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance to authorities investigating this tragic attack.”

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Statement by US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

WASHINGTON, DC – “I was shocked to learn of the devastating attack that brutally and senselessly murdered 43 innocent Ismailis and wounded many others.  They were attacked because of their religious beliefs by militants who are targeting anyone who doesn’t accept their view of Islam.

“I have a significant and highly respected community of Ismailis within my Congressional District, and I work closely with them.  For years I have participated in the Aga Khan Foundation Partnership Walk in Chicago, a walk that symbolizes the Ismaili community’s work to end global poverty, hunger, illiteracy and poor health around the world.  My district is home to two of their houses of worship called Jamat Khana, one in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago and the other in Glenview, Illinois. 

“My heart goes out to the families of the murdered and injured, and to the community as a whole which is deeply shaken by this act of terror.  I stand strongly with the Ismaili people, a peaceful people, and all those across the world who reject violence and intolerance.  We must join together as a global community to do everything possible to keep these attacks from happening in the future.”

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Statements from Muslim Organizations in Canada

PLEASE CLICK: Canadian Muslim Organizations Offer Condolences to the Ismaili Community + List of Deceased

Please click on image for Muslim organization statements.

Please click on image for Muslim organization statements.

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MEDIA DISPATCHES AND OPINIONS

Iran’s Press-TV reported that people in the Pakistani-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, home to other Shia communities, observed mourning and held ceremonies in commemoration of the victims.

Pakistan’s Express Tribune, a publication affiliated with the International New York Times (formerly the International Herald Tribune) reported that participants at the Ithad-e-Ummah Conference, organised by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) condemned the massacre of Ismailis in Karachi, and said that the killers have no religion. Among those attending the conference, which was chaired by PUC Chairperson Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, was the Chief Guest, Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob, the Shia Ulema Council Secretary General Allama Arif Waheedi, International Islamic Study Council President Mian Abu Bakar, Qazi Kifayatullah, and Dr Allama Shabbir Hassam Mesmi.

In an opinion piece for the same paper, Raza Rumi, editor at The Friday Times, who is currently a visiting fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in the US wrote:

“The sheer barbarity of the attack on the Ismaili community in Pakistan’s largest and one of the more misgoverned cities shocked the country. It is not the first time that such a sectarian attack has happened. During the past two years, more than a thousand people have been killed in targeted sectarian attacks. However, this was the largest attack on Ismailis. The head of the Ismaili community, Prince Karim Aga Khan, rightly termed the massacre of 43 men and women “a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community”. It is ironic that the Pakistan movement owes its genesis to the contributions of Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III who was the founder, patron and the first president of the All-India Muslim League.”

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PEACEFUL REACTIONS IN HUNZA

http://www.Pamirtimes.net reports that the news of the attack created anger among the Ismailis of Gilgit-Baltistan. However, demonstrations that were held in Gilgit, Aliabad (Hunza) and Gulmit (Upper Hunza) were peaceful. The Karakuram Highway was blocked by protesters for several hours today to register protests. Shops and markets remained closed in different parts of Gilgit and Hunza after the carnage in Karachi.

Civil society groups held candle-light vigils in different parts of Gilgit city and Karimabad (Hunza). Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Civil society groups held candle-light vigils in different parts of Gilgit city and Karimabad (Hunza). Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Peaceful protests at a demonstration held in Gulmit village of Upper Hunza against Safoora Chowrangi attack. Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Peaceful protests at a demonstration held in Gulmit village of Upper Hunza against Safoora Chowrangi attack. Photo: Pamirtimes.net

Date posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2015 (20:45)
Date updated: Saturday, May 16, 2015 (09:30), more messages of condolences

We shall continue to post additional material on this page in the days and weeks to come.

Please also visit the latest post Canadian Muslim Organizations Offer Condolences to the Ismaili Community + List of Deceased.

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Please visit the following external links:

Also visit http://www.ismailimail.wordpress.com for links to numerous articles and photos on this tragic event.

We invite our readers to record their messages of grief and sympathy by clicking Leave a comment.

Also please see:

The Karachi Attack: Mawlana Hazar Imam Expresses Sadness and Sends Prayers

AGONY AND GRIEF IN KARACHI

Click for enlargement

KARACHI, PAKISTAN - MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

KARACHI, PAKISTAN – MAY 13: Relatives of injured and killed cry and wait outside a hospital following a gun attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili Shia community, in Karachi, Pakistan, 13 May 2015 that killed at least 45 people including over a dozen women and injuring more than 14 people. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images). Photo published by Simerg under a licencing agreement with Getty Images.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in an official press release issued on the website of the Aga Khan Development Network has expressed shock and sadness in the wake of an attack on a bus carrying Ismaili members of his community in Karachi, Pakistan, that left 43 people dead today, Wednesday, May 13th. There were 16 women and 27 men among those killed. Other external reports suggest that the death toll was 45.

“This attack represents a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and wounded in the attack,” Mawlana Hazar Imam said. He noted that the Ismailis are a peaceful global community living in harmony with other religious and ethnic groups in many countries across the world, including in the Muslim world.

According to a report by the  BBC (please click for full report and photos) a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban called Jundullah has said it carried out the attack. The report also states that a leaflet was left at the scene claiming the so-called Islamic State group was responsible. The BBC’s Urdu service editor Aamer Ahmed Khan in Karachi said it seemed to be a well-planned attack.

He said the bus was making one of five daily scheduled trips between a gated community housing mainly Ismailis on the north-eastern outskirts and the main city.

The relatives of some survivors said it was stopped as it was about to enter the city by men dressed as policemen who clearly intended to kill and fled minutes after the assault.

Pakistan’s  Dawn newspaper says that a survivor of the attack recorded her statement before the police and said that the attackers entered the bus from the rear portion a few minutes after its departure. She added that the occupants of the bus thought that robbers had embarked on the vehicle. The assailants subdued the driver and separated (two) children from the others, the victims said and added that, “They told the passengers to keep their head low. One of the attackers situated in the rear side of the bus then ordered his associates to ‘shoot every one’ after which they indiscriminately targeted all passengers of the bus.”

We express our deep sorrow at this horrible tragedy and convey our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and the entire Pakistan Jamat and pray for the souls of the deceased members of the Jamat. We pray for the recovery of those who have been injured from this senseless act.

Date posted: May 13, 2015.
Last updated: May 13, 2015, 23:40 (photo added).

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We invite our readers to record their messages of grief and sympathy by clicking Leave a comment.

Links to additional coverage:

Also please see:

“Together-Ensemble”: The Amazing Aga Khan Foundation Exhibition on 18 Wheels – Interview and Photos

BY ABDULMALIK J. MERCHANT
Publisher-Editor, Simerg

“Development is ultimately about people, about enabling them to participate fully in the process and to make informed choices and decisions on their futures.” – His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam speaking in 2013, excerpt on a panel display at the exhibition.

Stephanie in front of the exhibition bus. Photo: Malik Merchant

Stephanie in front of the exhibition bus. Please watch her interview with Simerg, link at bottom of page. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Launched on April 27th, 2015, at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building by the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, and Khalil Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the collaborative exhibition of Global Development under the theme “Together” (French “Ensemble”) arrived at the city’s famed Le Breton neighbourhood, located by the new War Museum on Thursday, May 7, 2015 for a 7-day stop over.

I took an opportunity to visit the astonishing bus filled with educational and inspiring exhibits today (Sunday, May 10th), a much cooler day than the previous few days when the temperatures in the city had surged to 30 Celsius, not taking humidex into consideration. While thousands of local Ottawa residents and tourists were enjoying the marvellous and colourful annual tulip festival by Dow’s Lake, hundreds of parents with their children took to the Le Breton grounds to visit the Ottawa International Children’s Festival as well as take a tour of the exhibition in the “Together/Ensemble” bus, just metres away.

Before reaching the Aga Khan Foundation's magnificent Together bus, I was politely confronted by

Before reaching the Aga Khan Foundation’s magnificent Together bus, I was politely confronted by “a past British Monarch” who was measuring my loyalty to her rule. I excelled as a fine citizen, for which she offered to crown me with some kind of an Order named after the Ottawa’s River Parkway, a fine and scenic road running by the Ottawa River one hundred metres behind her! Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Together Exhibition Bus just metres away from  activity tents set up  for the Ottawa International Children's Festival. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Together Exhibition Bus just metres away from activity tents set up for the Ottawa International Children’s Festival. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A youth takes the time to view the interactive global map and test out his knowledge. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

A youth takes the time to view the interactive global map and test out his knowledge. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

A panel introducing the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and its  founder, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Foundation offices around the world are now agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network created by His Highness the Aga Khan to serve millions on this planet in all areas of human endeavour.  Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A panel introducing the work of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and its founder, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Foundation offices around the world are now agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network created by His Highness the Aga Khan to serve millions on this planet in all areas of human endeavour. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Children exchange their ideas and thoughts on global matters on these little leaves. They are invited to take away with them any leaf containing the though of another child. When the leaf is cut open at home it contains wild flower seeds that children can plant in their gardens. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Children exchange their ideas and thoughts on global matters on these little leaves. They are invited to take away with them any leaf containing the thought of another child. When the leaf is cut open at home it contains wild flower seeds that children can plant in their gardens. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A young child's aspirations and hopes for a better world:

A young child’s aspirations and hopes for a better world: “No hunger, child labour, everyone being treated equally.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another child, 8 year old Hannah Saikaley, describes her thoughts of helping others:

Another child, 8 year old Hannah Saikaley, describes her thoughts of helping others: “Donating food, money, drinks and clothes and by cleaning the earth.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another informative section of panels inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Another informative section of panels inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The front of the Togther-Ensemble exhibition bus. Over the next 2 years, the bus will be travelling across Canada to highlight perspectives on Global Developments to thousands of Canadians. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg. perspectives

The front of the Together-Ensemble exhibition bus. Over the next 2 years, the bus will be travelling across Canada and offer perspectives of Global Development to thousands of Canadians. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The centre panel is the actual width of the bus. The two side panels show the extensions for this bus, giving the exhibition space inside the bus the feel of an actual museum gallery. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

The back of the Together-Ensemble Bus. The centre panel is the actual width of the bus. The two side panels show the collapsible exhibition extensions on the bus, giving the space inside the bus the feel of an actual museum gallery. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Inside the bus, an exhibit. Photo: Malik Merchant/Malik

Voices of Change exhibit inside the bus. Photo: Malik Merchant/Malik

The

The “Together-Ensemble” Exhibition Bus at the Le Breton neighbourhood at the Canadian War Museum grounds. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A display inside the bus under the theme

A display inside the bus under the theme “Stronger Together.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Stephanie, coordinating the media on behalf of the Aga Khan Foundation, was eager to participate in an interview with me, though she felt before the interview that she was a little bit nervous. “Simerg is the first media I am talking to,” she explained. But any apprehension that she felt quickly dissipated as she enthusiastically explained the exhibition with all her charm and grace. Please watch her excellent interview by clicking on the link below.

Date posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015.

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We invite your feedback and comments. Please click Leave a comment.

Please also visit the Aga Khan Foundation Canada Website http://www.akfc.ca for more details and schedules about the Global Development Exhibition, which will be touring Canada in 2015/2016.

This piece has been simultaneously published under a different format at Simerg’s photoblog. Please click Photoessay and Interview: Aga Khan Foundation’s Unique Global Development Exhibition on 18 Wheels