Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Vancouver lawyer, M. Ali Lakhani, KC, was invited by the Senate of Canada to testify before its Standing Committee on Human Rights on the topic of Islamophobia. He was participating in his capacity as the Editor of Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity (www.sacredweb.com), a journal he founded 25 years ago, and now the leading journal in its field. Mr. Lakhani has written several articles on Islam, Islamophobia and on misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims, and he has spoken at universities and public events on these topics. Examples of his writing on these subjects are:
- Reclaiming the Centre, an assessment of Islam in the wake of 9/11
- Looking Beyond Islamophobia: Three Case Studies
- Charlie Hebdo Redux: Islam and Free Speech
- The Politics of Dignity
Each of three witnesses testifying before the Standing Committee made a 5-minute opening statement, which was followed by about an hour of questions from the Senators.
In his opening statement, Mr. Lakhani spoke of the value of viewing Islamophobia through the wider and harmonizing lens of human dignity rather than the Senate’s suggested frame of gender, and intergenerational and intersectional expressions of Islamophobia, which he said might be polarizing and subject to identity politics. He cited GK Chesterton’s comment, ‘When people begin to ignore human dignity, it will not be long before they begin to ignore human rights.’
Mr. Lakhani went on to discuss the causes of Islamophobia, quoting His Highness the Aga Khan at several points in his remarks, and highlighted the ideas of the Ismaili Imam and the initiatives of the Global Centre for Pluralism and Imamat Institutions contributing as educational correctives to Islamophobia. His presentation, and these ideas and initiatives, generated interest and comments from the Senators.
We invite our readers to view a video of Mr. Lakhani’s testimony HERE.
Date posted: November 30, 2022.
M. Ali Lakhani, QC, graduated from Cambridge University and has been practising as a barrister in Vancouver for the last forty years. Interested in applying metaphysics to modern world issues, in 1998 he founded Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity, a leading journal in the field that has published articles by the Prince of Wales, the Dalai Lama, Karen Armstrong, Huston Smith, Seyyed Hossein Nasr and William C. Chittick, among others. Mr. Lakhani’s book Faith and Ethics: The Vision of the Ismaili Imamat has been featured in Simerg’s special series on books by Ismaili authors.
Before departing this website, please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought-provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos. The editor may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ali Lakhani has done a marvelous job of not only explaining that Islamophobia exists but why it exists and how it is directly related to human rights. These are then directly connected to human dignity and he brilliantly uses Chesterton’s quote to explain what happens when dignity is ignored. I think his quote on the 3 attitudes from His Highness the Aga Khan is also so relevant here: Instead of ignorance, seek knowledge, instead of arrogance, seek humility and instead of insensitivity, seek empathy. One of my favourite books on understanding pluralism is Ali Lakhani’s “Fath and Ethics.” We are fortunate to have access to his thoughts and voice, and thanks to Simerg to bring to us quality and insightful articles and videos!
As usual you have shared with us a most informative presentation on a very important subject applicable to not only Muslims but also to all communities in the world. The presenters and participants were well qualified to tackle the subject. Very impressive and many thanks for sharing.
Very knowledgeable. I will be reviewing it again. Fantastic explanations concerning Islamophobia.