By Abdulmalik Merchant
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of an outstanding educator and leader of the Ismaili Muslim community, (Alijah) Zulfikarali M.A. Velji Khoja, in Ottawa, Canada, on Friday, September 4th, 2015. His funeral and burial ceremonies will take place in Ottawa on Wednesday, September 9.
Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Mr. Khoja was a skilled trainer, facilitator, educational consultant and mediator. His experience and training was diverse: with a post-graduate degree in Radio Chemistry from Carleton University, Ottawa, and professional designations from the Universities of Birmingham, Queens, Ottawa, Windsor and the London School of Economics, he travelled worldwide on many consulting assignments as a Mediator. These included: The Canadian Human Rights Commission, Better Business Bureau, Ottawa-Carleton Dispute Resolution Centre,and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
As an administrator, educator and trainer, Zul worked at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. He was also headmaster, educator and trainer (Professional Development) to The Aga Khan Development Network, both in Bangladesh and Kenya. Zul’s voluntary service with the Ismaili Community and its institutions included several countries (South Africa, Kenya, Bangladesh and Canada). The services in Canada included training Management Auditors and conducting Management Audits. He also served as a Baitul Ilm teacher and held leadership positions with both the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board and the Aga Khan Council since his settlement in Ottawa in the 1970’s. Most recently he served as the Convener for Donor Services for the Aga Khan Foundation committee in Ottawa, where he resided with his wife, Khairunissa. He also leaves behind two children, a son, Sherali, and a daughter, Rozmin.
We pray that Allah may rest Alijah Zul Khoja’s soul in eternal peace, and that He may bless his entire family with courage and fortitude at this difficult time.
Mr. Khoja had contributed to this blog in numerous ways including writing a memorable piece Ismaili Penmanship in 1906 for this website’s special series, I Wish I’d Been There.
Date posted (from Halifax, Nova Scotia): September 8, 2015.