A Beautiful Moment in Winnipeg for 150th Canada Day as Thousands Star to Create Largest Living Maple Leaf

BY MALIK MERCHANT
(reporting from Winnipeg)

Canada Day Celebration in Winnipeg

Ismaila Alfa of Radio 1 CBC Winnipeg asks thousands of people who have formed a “Living Maple Leaf” at Winnipeg’s iconic street intersection at Portage and Main to look up and smile for a cameraman stationed at the top of a high rise office building. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

2,500 red T-shirts were handed out at 8:30 a.m. on July 1 in downtown Winnipeg’s iconic intersection at Portage Avenue and Main Street to help create Canada’s Largest Living Maple Leaf for the celebration of the country’s 150th birthday. The event first began in Winnipeg in 2011, and thousands have annually participated since to form a living Canadian flag at different locations in Winnipeg including the Manitoba Legislature, the historic Forks and Shaw Park.

Tinelke de Jong, the director of marketing and advertising for downtown Winnipeg biz, said that for Canada’s 150th anniversary the organizers decided to opt for an all-red maple leaf at the famous intersection which is rarely turned into a pedestrians only site. The show was MC’d by Nigerian born Ismaila Alfa, who hosts  Up To Speed on CBC Radio One in Winnipeg. The organizers began positioning the crowd for the Maple Leaf at 8:30 a.m. and after a few practice sessions, Ismaila Alfa asked the crowd to look up at the camera for two photos — the first with a smile and the second one with the cheerful singing of “Canada”  (see video below). This was a truly memorable moment for me as I have never witnessed anything like this before, and have only attended Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa!

 

Please click to watch video

150th Canada Day Winnipeg Largest Living Maple Leaf 2s

Canada’s Largest Living Maple Leaf formed with the participation of thousands of individuals in Winnipeg on July 1, 2017, to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday. Photo: Downtown Winnipeg Biz.

Ismaila Alfa of CBC Radio 1, Winnipeg

Ismaila Alfa of CBC gives a thumbs-up to Canada Day after hosting a remarkable celebration in downtown Winnipeg, where thousands of people formed Canada’s Largest Living Maple Leaf. Photo: Simerg/MaliK Merchant.

Canada Day Celebrations at Portage and Main in Winnipeg

The spirit of happiness as a Canadian in Winnipeg celebrates the country’s 150th birthday. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

…..WHILE IN CANADA’S CAPITAL

Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa

More than 2000 kms east of Winnipeg, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joined for Canada Day celebrations at Parliament Hill in Ottawa by Prince Charles and Canada’s Governor General David Johnston. Photo: Simerg.

Date posted: July 1, 2017.

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Moscow, April 20, 2017 – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with the Aga Khan

The following is an announcement posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Simerg will update this post as and when other details, photos and videos become available. The link to the Ministry’s website is provided below. With regard to the Minister’s mention of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s forthcoming Diamond Jubilee, we invite all our readers to visit Simerg’s new initiative, www.barakah.com – His Highness the Aga Khan A Visual and Textual Celebration 1957-2017.

Aga Khan in Moscow April 20 2017April 20, 2017: His Highness the Aga Khan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

20 April 2017 11:12

Your Highness,

Friends,

Welcome to Moscow. I would like to begin by saying that on July 11 we will mark 60 years of your mission as the Spiritual Leader and Imam of the Nizari Ismailis.

You are a good friend who often visits us. We highly appreciate your views on Afghanistan and also on many other modern issues. We treasure your sagacious and wise views as you are a man with great experience. We see that your actions are guided not only by a desire to protect the interests of Ismailis around the world, but also to help settle the acute international issues that have been accumulating for the past decade. We hope to have a useful meeting.

I am happy to see you.

VIDEO – REMARKS BY SERGEI LAVROV AND THE AGA KHAN 

Date posted: April 20, 2017.

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Please visit Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, Spiritual Leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim Community, Moscow, April 20, 2017

Please also visit  www.barakah.com – His Highness the Aga Khan A Visual and Textual Celebration 1957-2017.

A Delightful Pictorial Summary of Our 2016 Posts: From Historical Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan to Inspiring Travelogues and Photo Essays

Please click: 33 Awesome Photos!

With 2017 getting very close, a year in which Canada will be celebrating its 150th birthday on July 1 and His Highness the Aga Khan will be completing his Diamond Jubilee or 60 years as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims on July 11, we felt we should leave 2016 with a Pictorial Summary for the articles that appeared at Simergphotos during the year. We hope the 33 Photos we have chosen will inspire our readers to delve a little bit more deeply into the detailed pieces.

PLEASE CLICK: 33 Awesome Photos that Summarize Our 2016 Posts: From Historical Visits and Landmark Ceremonies of His Highness the Aga Khan to Fantastic Travelogues and Photo Essays

His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau picture on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the Office of the Prime Minister located at the Centre Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisee. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pictured on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the Office of the Prime Minister located at the Centre Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisee. Copyright. Please click photo for a pictorial summary of our 2016 Posts on Simergphotos.

Date posted: December 28, 2016.

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Simerg in 2016: Photo Blog Published Rare Photos from Hazar Imam’s 59 Year Reign and Great Travelogues and Stories

Kindly share http://www.Simerg.com with your friends, family members, relatives and all your other contacts around the world via email, the social media and by word of mouth! Thank you – ed.

Prince Amyn Muhammad and Princess Zahra applaud as the birthday cake is presented to Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

A marvellous end to 2016! Mawlana Hazar Imam is applauded by members of his family as a cake is presented to him for his landmark 80th birthday, making him the oldest serving Imam in Ismaili history. The celebration was held at his home in Aiglemont, France, on Friday December 16, 2016. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

By Abdulmalik Merchant
(editor/publisher Simerg, Simerphotos, and Barakah)

SIMERGPHOTOS commenced the year with the publication of rare photographs that had never been released or seen before! The late Papa Jaan’s treasure trove of photographs of  Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historic first visit to Hunza, was brought to our attention by  Montreal’s Muslim Harji, and with the  family’s support we published more photos that Papa Jaan (Abdul M. Ismaily, 1926-1981) took during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to Pakistan and Uganda as well as Prince Sadruddin’s Visit to East Africa. Sultan Jessa, who worked at the Daily Nation, then shared with us a set of his colleague Azhar Chaudry’s photos of the Aga Khan’s Visits to East Africa!

Muslim Harji’s name is on the lips of all our readers! He has never failed to take stunning photographs during his countless trips around the world, and his Central Asian photo essay series from 2015 overflowed into 2016 with Tajikistan’s Stunning Landscapes. Harji later would overwhelm our readers with  Photographs about Sacred  Spaces and, with the year about to end, he brilliantly captured Montreal’s Celebration of the 80th Birthday of Mawlana Hazar Imam. With regard to the birthday celebration we showed Mawlana Hazar Imam Being Gifted with a Unique Piece  of Art Created by Ismaili Artist Gulgee.

Even as he approached — and now has completed — his 80th birthday (December 13), a record for any Imam in Ismaili history, Mawlana Hazar Imam tirelessly visited many parts of the world. We have photos of his  Parliament Hill Visit in Ottawa by Jean-Marc Carisse , the visit to Portugal Where He Introduced Officials of the Imamat  and His visit to Egypt for a Business for Africa Forum. He also attended and awarded prizes in the UAE to The 2016 Winners of Aga Khan Award for Architecture. We decided to relive a Ten minute 2015 PBS episode about His Highness the Aga Khan  and we know that many readers visited PBS.

We received a few pleasant surprises along the way with Juby Sprake of Vancouver offering three very sweet photos of Hazar Imam’s 1966 visit to the Nairobi Aga Khan Primary School. Linda Baxter, a niece of the late Mr. Frank Pattrick, who worked for the Daily Nation, kindly sent Letters and Photographs of His Highness the Aga Khan from her family collection.

12 year old Renaye Tejani bakes cookies for charity and spreads joy in Mumbai, India.

12 year old Renaye Tejani bakes cookies for charity and spreads joy in Mumbai, India.

Nurin Merchant had visited Yellowstone, the world’s very first national park, some 5 years ago with her dad (author of this post) and decided to do a photo summary about Her One-of-a-Kind Experience in Yellowstone. Her grandparents came up with Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Alykhan’s visit to Mozambique where they had both served during the 1950’s.

Family members sent us inspiring stories about their children. Readers were charmed with Renaye Tejani  of Mumbai Spreading Joy Through Baking. The Maherali family in Atlanta had taken their two sons to Dubai for the Ismaili Jubilee games where Riyaan Maherali met a basketball player who touched his heart. Not to be overlooked was the story about the Welcome Celebration of the Jubilee Games Lantern at the Children’s Soccer Camp in Burnaby.

Members of the  Ismaili community are active everywhere in supporting initiatives for a better world, and we were immensely proud to record the inspiring work of Ismaili Educators helping with Marginalized Children in Nairobi. We also showcased thousands of  Canadians participating in the Annual World Partnership Walk in Vancouver.

Ali Karim, like Muslim Harji, is an intrepid traveller and he undertook a momentous journey with his wife Dilshad to China and Northern Pakistan along the old Silk Road. His travelogue began in Shanghai, and he then proceeded to Urumqi, Turpan and Kashgar before he finally reached his last stop in China in Tashkurgan where he met an Ismaili family. His remarkable account with stunning photographs of Ismailis in Northern Hunza is a must read for everyone who hasn’t yet read the post! We have one final Hunza episode from Karim coming up within the next fortnight.

Passu, Hunza. Ali Karim. Copyright.

Passu, Hunza. Ali Karim. Copyright.

Mawlana Hazar Imam mentioned in his remarks during the celebration of his 80th birthday, that he feels he is half his age! Therefore, we look forward to celebrating his Diamond Jubilee in 2017, with a prayer and a hope that he will remain in good health, and that all communities around the world will continue to benefit from his wisdom and his selfless work that has had such a major impact on marginalized communities around the world, especially in Asia and Africa. Mawlana Hazar Imam’s support of major development projects through his network, including Ismaili institutions and the Aga Khan Development Network, has always been  underpinned by the  Qur’anic ethic and principle that everyone is “born out of a single soul.”

We wish all our readers around the world a New Year filled with good health, peace, happiness and success in all their endeavours, and particularly pray for a peaceful world!

Individual Links to Our Treasure Trove of Photos

Exclusive Coverage of the Aga Khan Award For Architecture, with Photos and Transcript of Extempore Remarks of Mawlana Hazar Imam in Dubai, UAE

I am also worried about the process of warming….We are seeing villages which are being wiped away by earthquakes, by landslides, by avalanches…I would like to see that as part of general education. I would like to see that as part of secondary education, so that all young people have a better understanding, particularly in our world, in the Islamic world, of the spaces in which they live, how they can ensure the security of their habitat, how they can practice good construction in these areas….PLEASE CLICK TO READ TRANSCRIPT OF THE AGA KHAN’S EXTEMPORE REMARKS

PLEASE CLICK: Special Coverage – Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to the UAE

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran, one of 6 projects to win the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Please click on photo for coverage of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran, one of 6 projects to win the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Photo: Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Barzin Baharlouie. Please click on photo for special report.

Date posted: Monday, November 7, 2016.

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2016 US Presidential Election: An American Reflects on Conversations on Radio, Mart, Street and Travel

usa-flag

BY SARA BADRUDDIN

The word on the street

The words through upstate roads read;
‘Trump & Pence — make America great again’.
Broken parts and broken starts looking for a change.
A shake up! a break up! A nuclear-headed rake up.
Of wall-making, fear-shaking, yet history has shown,
the best way to make ahead, use the pen not the sword.
‘No free lunch’, no free feathers, no easy out from your niche,
you just gotta work hard, get an education, know your holes from your stitch.
‘Female use, it ain’t abuse, No matter what they say’,
Let’s set it straight, no time to wait,
Nov 8th’s election day!

She’s a game, more o’ the same, the white under cover:
more false guise, no paradise, something hidden it does seem.
The word on the radio, the mart, at the gym,
‘Scratch my back,I’ll scratch yours, Forget about him!’
‘She’s experienced, makes a difference, tolerated throughout nations’,
breaking fences, donning graces, success is in the patience.
People jaded, energy faded, Fear mongering, naught will do,
illegals out, immigration in, to rise further than you know who.
Elbow grease, past below your knees, then you’ll better your very lot.
White is right but tan I must, insulate home, not the foreign polyglot.

The clothes in the closet

Ohhhhh, and…
Ahhhhhh, Harlequin you are.
Power. ego. money?

Envenomations.
Elapidae & Crotalidae in guise.
Which poison you reckon, is best disguised?
Venom of power or ego or flair,
slithery? quick-tongued?, which one do you dare?
The danger of rage, blind-sighted and leather,
the devious smirk, quiet slide on shiny bed feather.
Silken and sweet tongues, words we can share,
but mine is the power, alone you can fare.
Yet once home, the snakeskin as all, comes undone,
but I am the President! The powerful one.

The person on the street

Energy drained, folk feeling behind,
Investments external, is there justice in kind?
‘Drain the swamp’, yes, drain swamp do.
Politics done, a new way to brew.
Media blazing, immigrant hazing, create ploys clouding clarity!
If they focus on ruffles, rather than meat of the truffle,
their real work, truly a rarity!
‘Cyber bully, White Nationalist, multiculturalism, she’s Communist’.

Imbalanced see-saw, as a disease, swirling left, right and skelter,
unkempt is our nation, many in frustration,
kind neighbors give some shelter.
Fix our homeland, strengthen friendship,
responsible care and understanding.
Why unconscionable, intelligent people?
Where will we go with these misunderstandings?
Welfare city, 40K pretty, when the rest work so hard,
create jobs, not fancy knobs, civil society is the card.

Date posted: November 4, 2016.

Copyright: Sara Badruddin/Simerg. 2016.

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Sara Badruddin lives north of USA’s southern states. This piece reflects her experiences of conversations on radio, the mart, the street, and the travels on the eastern part of the USA and Canada as pertaining to the election for US President on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Aga Khan To Be Awarded Inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship; and the 26th Governor General’s Reflections on the Sacred and Physical Roles of the Ismaili Imam

“He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He is a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, through the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Ali, the first Imam and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter…Through his words, through his actions, and through the results obtained by the institutions that he has pioneered, he is a beacon of light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness.” — The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured before he was presented with the Order of Canada decoration by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson in Ottawa on June 6, 2005. Photo credit: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured before he was presented with the Order of Canada decoration by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson in Ottawa on June 6, 2005. Photo credit: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall

Named honorary companion of the Order of Canada in 2005 by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, His Highness the Aga Khan will be awarded the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship on Wednesday September 21, 2016 at Koerner Hall in Toronto.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada from 1999-2005 is presenting the Order of Canada decoration to His Highness the Aga Khan. Photo credit: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall.

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada from 1999-2005, is presenting the Order of Canada decoration to His Highness the Aga Khan on June 6, 2005. Photo: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall.

The prize is a new public initiative of the Institute of Canadian Citizenship, which was co-founded by Madame Clarkson with her husband John Ralston Saul after she left the office of Governor General in 2005. It will be given annually to an individual who has, through thought and dialogue, encouraged approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes, and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect.

A media release published at http://www.6degreesto.com states that “the symbolic importance of this prize has never been greater. In a time of unprecedented movement, displacement and re-settlement by immigrants and refugees, one of the central challenges we face is how we all live together.”

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada is presenting the Order of Canada decoration to His Highness the Aga Khan on June 6, 2005. Photo credit: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, the 26th Governor General of Canada from 1999-2005, presenting the Order of Canada decoration to His Highness the Aga Khan on June 6, 2005. Photo: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall.

At the award ceremony, His Highness the Aga Khan will receive the prize from the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, and will share his wisdom and experiences with the audience on issues confronting the world today. He will then be joined on stage for a conversation with Madame Clarkson.

Remarking on the prize and the selection of the recipient, Adrienne Clarkson says: “Through his words, through his actions, and through the results obtained by the institutions that he has pioneered, he is a beacon of light in much of the world’s conflicting darkness.”

The internationally-acclaimed vocalist and songwriter Rufus Wainwright will perform in honour of the prize recipient.

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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE ADRIENNE CLARKSON ON HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN AND HIS ISMAILI FOLLOWERS

“In his own being, His Highness encompasses the world….Through the physical dispersal of their community through the centuries, their spiritual allegiance to the Imam and their adherence to the Shia Imami Ismaili branch of Islam was their greatest strength.”

aga-khan-trinity-13-11-26

His Highness the Aga Khan with the Honourable Bill Graham, chancellor of Trinity College (at left) when he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters on November 25, 2013, for his service to humanity. Photo: AKDN.

I. Excerpts from a Citation for His Highness the Aga Khan Delivered by the Rt.  Hon. Adrienne Clarkson at  Special Convocation, Trinity College, 25 November 2013.

I am deeply honoured to present today His Highness the Aga Khan, the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

It was here at Trinity College in my first year, and actually in the living room at St. Hilda’s College across the street where I was living, when I first saw the picture of the young man aged 20 – also an undergraduate but at Harvard – who had just been named successor to his grandfather, the 48th Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. I remember then thinking how extraordinary it was that someone almost my age would be taking on the leadership of 14 million people around the world on several continents, in diverse countries.

In this College the ideal and the beliefs we hold dear are held within the same ethical framework as that of His Highness.

The recipient of this Doctor of Sacred Letters today has two distinct roles in this world: one as spiritual leader which he has inherited as an extraordinary charge and has held now for 56 years, and the other in the world that we all live, in that he has built upon and recreated, involving all of us. He manifests the creative relationship of spiritual values and material concern which is unique in the world today.

He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He is a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, through the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Ali, the first Imam and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter. He is the spiritual leader of 14 million Ismailis living all over the world…We are fortunate in Canada to count 100,000 Ismailis who are Canadian citizens. In his own being, His Highness encompasses the world.

Historically, the Ismailis developed a state that concentrated on arts, science and trade centered in Cairo for a number of centuries. But in the 13th century, the Ismailis were dispersed, a diaspora that spread to Persia, Central Asia, Syria, India, and eventually Africa. It is out of this dramatic dispersal and the necessary knowledge of living as a community to whom faith shows itself in works that the far-ranging and extraordinary activities of the present Aga Khan emerge.

Through the physical dispersal of their community through the centuries, their spiritual allegiance to the Imam and their adherence to the Shia Imami Ismaili branch of Islam was their greatest strength. The Ismaili community has developed through centuries an ethos of self-reliance, unity and common identity.

Ismailis have often been uprooted by radical changes in their respective countries, particularly on the Indian subcontinent and in East Africa where new nation states caused the dislocation of Ismaili populations. In 1972 when Idi Amin was president of Uganda, Ismailis and other Asians despite their citizenship and having lived there for several generations were expelled. So, fortunately for us, the Aga Khan took personal steps to find homes for the Ismailis not only in Asia but particularly in Canada and Europe. His personal appeal to Prime Minister Trudeau led to 10 000 Ismailis coming here in 1972. We did not realise as Canadians at the time how important this injection of Ismailis to our national and civic life would be. Who here does not have at least one Ismaili friend now? We have Ismaili students here at Trinity.

Christians and Jews in this country share in the Abrahamic tradition of Islam and we have much to learn from Quranic teachings. From the way in which the sacred and secular are knit together, and how it places a value on maintaining equilibrium between the spiritual well-being of an individual and the quality of their daily life. One thing that we who have been in Canada a little longer, notice about Ismailis is their devotion to community wherever they are and their willingness to give their time to volunteer activities. It springs from the Ismaili belief in man’s dignity and the idea that we are all human and that we must behave as though we are common members of that humanity. Therefore lending their skills, sharing their spare time, giving money, giving ideas to help relieve hardship, pain or ignorance is part of the DNA of the social consciousness of the Ismaili Muslim community.

In this place which all of us here who call ourselves Trinity graduates so treasure, it is deeply moving and appropriate for us to welcome as an honorary graduate a man who is perhaps the only person in the world to whom everyone listens. The Aga Khan remains an outstanding bulwark against ignorance, partisanship, and selfishness. He is honoured by civilisations that need not clash out of ignorance but can and must work together to fulfill God’s promise that we his people are one.

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“He not only celebrates diversity, he also honours the differences between people that can paradoxically give them their greatest bond….With the Aga Khan and what he represents, we are a better country.”

jis-highness-the-aga-khan-with-johm-ralston-saul

His Highness the Aga Khan and Mr John Ralston Saul, prominent Canadian essayist and novelist during a conversation on the challenges of pluralism which followed the lecture. Photo: AKDN/ Zahur Ramji.

II. Excerpts from an introduction by The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson at the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium, Toronto, Canada, on 15 October 2010.

He [the Aga Khan] embodies the values that we Canadians most cherish, and the actions that have created the country that we are. He not only celebrates diversity, he also honours the differences between people that can paradoxically give them their greatest bond. He has two roles in this world; one which he has inherited as an extraordinary charge, and the other that he has built upon and recreated, that now involves all of us. He manifests the creative relationship of spiritual values and material concern, which is unique in the world today, and is a model for all of us.

Ismaili tradition means that their Imam leads in the interpretation of matters of faith and the relationship of that faith to the conditions in the world in which we are living, the world in which we find ourselves. It is grounded in the ethics of Islam in which economic, social and cultural all come together to determine the quality of life for human beings. As the Aga Khan often says, “we have been created as one by a single Creator.”

Since 1957, projects have been initiated and always supported by the communities served no matter how diverse. They are aimed towards becoming self-sustaining, and frequently involve partnerships outside the Ismailis. Anyone who knows Ismailis in Canada, knows that they are the first to volunteer and give of themselves to causes which involve the common good. This is within their tradition and is admired by everyone in Canada. Through the Aga Khan Development Network, enormous work has been done because as His Highness has said, “development is sustainable, only if the beneficiaries become, in a gradual manner, the masters of the process.”

The Aga Khan Health Network has 168 centres in countries like Pakistan, India, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Aga Khan Development Network is inclusive of the enormously different cultural traditions in all the countries and areas in which it all operates. And if you think about them, they’re so varied, that they are the very definition of diversity and plurality itself. In all these works, the Aga Khan seeks to create bridges, between the developed and the developing world. This is done with a very conscious sense of the dignity of all human beings. The consciousness that we are all human and nobody is more human than any other and the right of all human beings to the best that life has to offer in this world in culture, in health, in education, in participation.

I was very pleased that the Aga Khan accepted to be an honorary companion of the Order of Canada while I was Governor General in 2005 and during my last year in Ottawa I assisted as he put the spade in the ground for the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat on Sussex Drive which is now open and is a beautiful architectural example on that very prominent roadway in Ottawa. Recently I was at the Foundation ceremony here in Toronto where ground was turned for the new Ismaili Centre and for the Museum for Islamic art which will grace a wonderful place just beside the Don Valley Parkway. In 2009, he was made an honorary citizen of Canada. Last week the Global Centre for Pluralism which is a partnership between the Aga Khan Development Network and the Government of Canada had its first meeting. I am delighted to be on that Board and to chair the Executive Committee to help forward His Highness’ vision with the partnership of Canada about plurality and diversity, making us all stronger. Canada should be very proud that he has chosen us as the centre for this work, which he holds very dear to his heart. On behalf of all Canadians, I thank him for this.

We could have no finer citizen and we could have no finer bearer of the motto of the Order of Canada: “they desire a better country.” With the Aga Khan and what he represents, we are a better country.

Date posted: September 19, 2016.

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Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016), the Greatest, Dies at the Age of 74 – Quotes, Book Excerpts and NYT Video

“A part of me has gone…he was the greatest human being I have ever met…Muhammad Ali was beautiful…He was a brave American…A brave man of the world…He was real…Boxing was too small for him…He is a part of mankind…God bless Muhammad Ali’s family” — George Foreman in an interview with BBC upon hearing of Muhammad Ali’s death.

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Tweet Hanna Ali

Ali’s daughter, Hana, wrote in a tweet that Ali was surrounded by his children in his final moments. They held his once powerful hands. They hugged and kissed their 74-year-old father. They chanted Islamic prayer. Hanna Ali wrote that the children tried to stay strong. Some whispered in his ear.

“You can go now. We will be okay. We love you. Thank you. You can go back to God now.”

After Ali’s organs failed, his daughter wrote in the tweet, his heart continued to beat for another 30 minutes: “A true testament to the strength of his Spirit and Will!”

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PLEASE ALSO CLICK: Lessons from the Life of “the greatest,” Heavyweight Hero Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali~~~~~

AN EXCELLENT NEW YORK TIMES VIDEO

MUHAMMAD ALI: “What’s My Name?”

New York Times Video What's in my Name

Please click on image to see a comprehensive video of the legend

Muhammad Ali, the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time and one of the best known figures of the 20th century, has passed away at the age of 74, after being admitted to a  Phoenix area  hospital for a respiratory ailment. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, four years after his retirement, but he went on to lift the Olympic Flame in 1996.

Ali was responsible for some of the most legendary moments in the ring. His incomparable work ethic, his  revolutionary techniques, and fearlessness towards standing up for his beliefs, all contributed to the legend that was Muhammad Ali.

As we mourn his death, we publish some of the lessons that Hanna Ali, one of his seven daughters, shared in her book “More Than A Hero” published in 2000, in which she offered an intensely personal look at one of the most revered men on the face of the earth. The book serves as an inspirational reminder that we can all achieve greatness. To read excerpts from the book, please click Lessons from the Life of “the greatest,” Heavyweight Hero Muhammad Ali.

His funeral will take place in his birth town , Louisville, Kentucky.

Date posted: June 3,  2016.
Last updated: June 4, 2016.

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Human Suffering: UN Secretary General Convenes World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul

WATCH LIVE: https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/live

WHS

The world is witnessing the highest level of human suffering since the Second World War. This is why, for the first time in the 70-year history of the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has convened the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul on 23 -24 May.

The Summit will be held at the highest political level possible. Some 5,000 participants, including 65 Heads of State and Government, 177 UN Member States, NGOs, the private sector,  aid organizations, civil society, affected communities and youth, among others will attend the Summit.

The Summit has three main goals:

  • To re-inspire and reinvigorate a commitment to humanity and to the universality of humanitarian principles.
  • To initiate a set of concrete actions and commitments aimed at enabling countries and communities to better prepare for and respond to crises, and be resilient to shocks.
  • To share best practices which can help save lives around the world, put affected people at the center of humanitarian action, and alleviate suffering.

The agenda for the Summit was determined after an extensive and inclusive worldwide consultation between May 2014 and July 2015  with over 23,000 people in 153 countries, involving humanitarian stakeholders, including affected people and communities. The consultation process generated over 300 recommendations grouped under five key action areas: dignity; safety; resilience; partnerships and finance. The Aga Khan Development Network was among the hosts and co-chairs of regional consultations that took place in South and Central Asia.

In February 2016, the Secretary-General published his report entitled ‘One Humanity: Shared Responsibility’. In his report, he called for the need to place humanity—people’s safety, dignity and their right to thrive—at the centre of global decision making. The Secretary-General called upon Member States, the United Nations and humanitarian organizations and other relevant stakeholders to accept and act upon five core responsibilities to deliver for humanity.

The Leaders’ Segment to be held on May 23, will be an opportunity to discuss the five core responsibilities of the Agenda for Humanity.  These five core responsibilities are:  one, Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflict; two, Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity; three, Leave No One Behind; four, Change People’s Lives – from Delivering Aid to Ending Need; and five, Invest in Humanity.

The United Nations Secretary-General has called for humanity—people’s safety, dignity and the right to thrive—to be placed at the heart of global decision-making. To deliver for humanity, stakeholders must act on five core responsibilities.

The United Nations Secretary-General has called for humanity—people’s safety, dignity and the right to thrive—to be placed at the heart of global decision-making. To deliver for humanity, stakeholders must act on five core responsibilities.

A statement issued by top officials of the United Nations said:

“We have in front of us a singular opportunity to stand together and deliver a message that we will not accept the erosion of humanity which we see in the world today. We must not fail the people who need us, when they need us most.  Istanbul is this opportunity.  History will judge us by how we use this moment.  We must not let down the many millions of men, women and children in dire need.”

For livestreaming of the summit, click https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/live.

Date posted: May 23, 2016

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Simerg Special Photo Feature: His Highness the Aga Khan Meets Prime Minister Trudeau at Parliament Hill by Award Winning Photographer Jean-Marc Carisse

Photographs: Jean-Marc Carisse, http://www.carissephoto.com
Text compilation: Abdulmalik Merchant, Editor, Simerg

Please click on photos for enlargement

WITH PRIME MINISTER

His Highness the Aga Khan looks straight at the camera as he greets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the Office of the Prime Minister located at the Centre Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisee. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan looks straight at the camera as he greets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the Office of the Prime Minister located at the Centre Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisee. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, was warmly received by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, with the words “It’s always a pleasure to welcome a dear friend to Canada, a dear friend to my family as well.” The Prime Minister added that they would discuss “pluralism, diversity and all the things that Canada can contribute to offering more peace and stability in the world.”

His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Trudeau are seen engaged in a warm conversation during their meeting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Trudeau are seen engaged in a warm conversation during their meeting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. In the background are the flags of the Ismaili Imamat with the gold Imamat crest in the centre, and the iconic Maple Leaf of Canada.  Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

Award winning photographer Jean-Marc Carisse, who took the pictures shown on this page, noted in his email to Simerg that His Highness the Aga Khan’s greeting with the Prime Minister started at approximately 4:13/4:14 pm ET. At 5:05, His Highness walked in the South corridor of Centre Block and observed the portraits of former Prime Ministers Paul Martin and then Jean Chrétien (see photo, below). At 5:07, he entered his car. According to Mr. Carisse, “the Aga Khan was his usual charming personae and pleasantly smiled throughout his Parliamentary visit.”

Over the next few days, Simerg will be presenting more photos as well as reports relating to His Highness the Aga Khan’s current visit to Canada, which began with his arrival in Ottawa on Monday May 16, 2016. He was accompanied by his younger brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan. His itinerary for the current visit includes delivering the opening remarks at the Global Centre for Pluralism’s Annual Lecture and being awarded with an honorary degree by the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. Both these events will take place in Toronto this week.

We express our deep gratitude to Jean-Marc Carisse for sharing the wonderful photos with readers of Simerg.

His Highness the Aga Khan glances with interest at an oil painting by Christan Nicholson of former Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien as he walks past it with leaders of the Ismaili community in the South corridor of Centre Block shortly after his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo: Jean Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan glances with interest at an oil painting of former Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, shortly after his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.  Accompanying him are Kate Bourke, the protocol coordinator, and leaders of the Ismaili community. Photo: Jean Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan walks happily in the corridor of the Parliament Building following his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday May 17, 2016. He is accompanied, among others, by Ismaili leaders Shafik Sachedina and the President of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, Malik Talib. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan walks happily in the corridor of the Parliament Building following his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday May 17, 2016. He is accompanied, among others, by protocol coordinator, Kate Bourke and Ismaili leaders Shafik Sachedina and President Malik Talib of the Aga Khan Council for Canada. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan has a broad smile as he prepares to leave the Parliament Building after his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. In the picture with him are Ismaili leaders Shafik Sachedina, based at the Ismaili Imam’s headquarters in Aiglemont, France, President Malik Talib of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, and Mahmoud Eboo, the Aga Khan Development Network's Resident Representative to Canada. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan has a broad smile as he prepares to leave the Parliament Building after his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. With him in the picture are protocol coordinator, Kate Bourke (left), Shafik Sachedina (right), based at the Ismaili Imam’s headquarters in Aiglemont, France, President Malik Talib (top left) of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, and Mahmoud Eboo (centre), the Aga Khan Development Network’s Resident Representative to Canada. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

 

His Highness the Aga Khan outside the Parliament Building just before his departure after his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan outside the Parliament Building just before his departure after his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan returns a farewell wave to well-wishers, as his car departs Parliament Hill following his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright

His Highness the Aga Khan returns a farewell wave to well-wishers, as his car departs Parliament Hill following his meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright

Date posted: May 17, 2016.
Last updated: May 18, 2016 (15:51 EST)

Photos: Copyright Jean-Marc Carisse, http://www.carissephoto.com.

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Related Video of the welcome by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Also see: Exclusive Photos by Jean-Marc Carisse: “Victorious Trudeau”, His Highness the Aga Khan and Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi