A Brief Note on Papacy and the Ismaili Imamat, and St. Peter in Roman Catholic and Ismaili Traditions

PREPARED AND COMPILED BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor http://www.simerg.com, http://www.barakah.com and http://www.simergphotos.com)

Handshake: Pope Benedict XVI and His Highness the Aga Khan

As part of his famous Apostolic Journey to France in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, on September 13, paid a visit to the “Institut De France” in Paris. The Pope, who had been elected as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 2005, was presented with a gold medal by the Institut, and also unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit. During his very brief remarks to the audience, the Pope expressed his gratitude to the Institut “both personally and as the successor of [Simon] Peter.”

His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, was also in attendance at the Institut de France as the Associate Foreign Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts), one of five learned societies within the Institut which was founded in 1795.

Everyone’s attention in the hall was drawn to Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Pope, with an extraordinary sense of interest and keenness, as the two faith leaders greeted each other with a handshake.

A couple of years earlier in 2006, the Pope made some controversial remarks concerning Islam to which the Aga Khan responded in an  which appeared in Germany’s widely read Spiegel website.

In 2013, Pope Benedict dramatically resigned his position as the Head of the Catholic Church due to his deteriorating strength, advanced age and the heavy demands of being Pope, and retired at the Mater Ecclesiae, a small monastery located inside the Vatican State City. His present successor is Pope Francis I, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Pope Benedict XVI is seen greeting His Highness the Aga Khan on September 13 at the Institut de France in Paris during an official visit to France in 2008. Photo: Copyright. Getty Images. Published on Simerg/Simergphotos with a Licencing arrangement with Getty Images. Fench caption: Vue plongeante du pape BENOIT XVI serrant la main de l'AGA KHAN à son arrivée sous la coupole de l'Institut de France à PARIS entouré de nombreux académiciens et autres personnalités dont Gabriel DE BROGLIE, Hélène CARRERE D'ENCAUSSE, Jean-François JARRIGE, Jean-François BACH, Arnaud D'HAUTERIVES, Michel ALBERT, Christian PONCELET président du Sénat, Jean TULARD, Alain DECAUX, Pierre-Jean REMY, Michel MOHRT, Max GALLO, le cardinal André VINGT-TROIS archevêque de Paris et le cardinal Paul POUPARD. (Photo by Philippe Petit/Paris Match via Getty Images)

Everyone’s attention is drawn to Pope Benedict XVI and His Highness the Aga Khan as they greet each other on September 13, at the Institut de France in Paris during an official visit by the Pope to France in 2008. Photo: Copyright. Getty Images. Published on Simerg/Simergphotos with a Licensing arrangement with Getty Images. Fench caption: Vue plongeante du pape BENOIT XVI serrant la main de l’AGA KHAN à son arrive sous la coupole de l’Institut de France à PARIS entouré de nombreux académiciens et autres personnalités dont Gabriel DE BROGLIE, Hélène CARRERE D’ENCAUSSE, Jean-François JARRIGE, Jean-François BACH, Arnaud D’HAUTERIVES, Michel ALBERT, Christian PONCELET président du Sénat, Jean TULARD, Alain DECAUX, Pierre-Jean REMY, Michel MOHRT, Max GALLO, le cardinal André VINGT-TROIS archevêque de Paris et le cardinal Paul POUPARD. (Photo by Philippe Petit/Paris Match via Getty Images).

SIMON PETER IN THE CHRISTIAN AND ISMAILI TRADITIONS

The Catholics adhere to the belief that the Pope is a successor of St. Peter or Simon Peter. The succession of the pope is determined by a college of cardinals who elect the pope, while the office of the Imam of the Ismailis is a hereditary position.

In a speech made at the Canadian Parliament in 2014, the Aga Khan declared that “the Ismaili Imamat is a supra-national entity, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet.” And, in an interview with Politique International he said, “The religious leadership of the Ismaili Imam goes back to the origins of Shia Islam when the Prophet Muhammad appointed his son-in-law, Ali, to continue his teachings within the Muslim community. The leadership is hereditary, handed down by Ali’s descendants, and the Ismailis are the only Shia Muslims to have a living Imam, namely myself.”

In the Catholic tradition, the foundation for the office of the Pope is found primarily in Matthew, where Jesus is quoted as telling Simon Peter:

“You are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This series of successions of the Pope is known as “Apostolic Succession,” with the line of Bishops stretching back to the apostles, who lived during the time of Jesus. Simon Peter is recognized as having been the first Pope. Early Christians however reserved the title of “Pope” for St. Peter’s successors.

In branches of Shia theology as well as Ismailism, Simon Peter’s role is seen as the direct parallel to that of Hazrat Ali as the first Imam. Ismailis along with some other Shia groups maintain that every major Prophet had a spiritual legatee (Waṣi) or successor called the Asas (foundation) who taught the inner meaning to those who had the capacity to understand it. In this regard, Adam had Seth; Noah had Shem; Moses had Aaron, and Jesus had Simon Peter. A well known sacred tradition of the Prophet Muhammad says that “Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses,” confirming that Ali held the same level of authority as Aaron did.

Date posted: January 3, 2018

An earlier version of this post appeared on this website on December 31, 2015.
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The following were used as references for the compilation of this piece:

  1. Apostolic Journey to France: Greeting by the Holy Father during the visit at the Institut de France (September 13, 2008)
  2. The Popes: From St. Peter to Pope Frances by Rupert Matthews,  2014 Edition published by arrangement with Moseley Road Inc.
  3. http://www.catholic-pages.com/pope/peter.asp
  4. Peter in Islam, at Wikipedia.
  5. Comparing the Imamat and the Papacy: Some Short Notes (at Ismailignosis.com).
  6. The Delegation Decoded – An Esoteric Exegesis of the Delegation of the Isma‘ili Imamat, by Khalil Andani.
  7. Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, C. Glasse.
  8. Voices: “The Power of Wisdom” – His Highness the Aga Khan’s Interview with Politique Internationale (English translation)
  9. In a Dynamic and Stirring Address to Members of the Canadian Parliament, His Highness the Aga Khan Shares His Faith Perspectives on the Imamat, Collaboration with Canada, the Muslim World Community (the Ummah), the Nurturing of Civil Society, Early Childhood Education, Voluntary Work, and the Unity of the Human Race

Also see the following important features to learn more about the Aga Khan and the Ismaili Imamat:

in which His Highness the Aga Khan responded to Pope Benedict’s controversial remarks concerning Islam that he had made in 2006; and Special Series: Ismaili Expressions on the Imamat and Imam of the Time — (I) The Preamble of the Constitution of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims

The Aga Khan in Pakistan: (2) A thorough and comprehensive coverage of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Karachi, December 14-19, 2017

2017-12-14-Karachi Home decorated for Aga Khan visit

A house in a Karachi neighbourhood is beautifully decorated to mark the Aga Khan’s visit to his Ismaili community after 17 long years. Photo: Simerg.

PAGE LAST UPDATED: December 20, 08:25 AM EST (in Karachi +10h, December 20, 06:25 PM).

The purpose of this post is to provide external links to media coverage of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and its commercial capital. We we will make every effort to ensure that we skip on links that contain repetitive information – often the same news agency report is shared  by different media.

COVERAGE OF AGA KHAN’S VISIT TO NORTHERN PAKISTAN: Pertinent external site links for Prince Karim Aga Khan’s visit from December 7–14, 2017 to Islamabad, Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan in the northern areas of Pakistan are available at The Aga Khan in Pakistan: (1) A thorough and comprehensive coverage of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Pakistan, Dec. 7-14, 2017

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DECEMBER 19, 2017

Videos: Conclusion of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Momentous Visit

 

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Media Coverage

Dawn Aga Khan Community Members Enjoy Visit

Community members celebrate Aga Khan’s presence in city. Photo: Dawn, Karachi, Metro South. Click on link below for story.

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December 18, 2017

2017-12-18-Aga Khan and Zardari Photo

His Highness the Aga Khan pictured meeting with former Pakistan President, Asi Ali Zardari, during his current visit to Karachi. Zardari presented the Aga Khan Sindhi topi (cap) and ajrak, a unique form of blockprinted shawl.

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December 16/17, 2017

Media Coverage

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December 16, 2017

Media Coverage

Story about the inauguration of a health care education centre at AKU. See link below to view complete newspaper.

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December 14/15, 2017

Media Coverage

aga_khan_dinner-Karachi

The Aga Khan at a dinner hosted in his honour by Muhammad Zubair, Governor of Sindh, at the Governor’s House Karachi. Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister of Sindh, and Ismaili institutional leaders were also present. Photo: The Ismaili/Arif Hussain. See link below for more photos.

Regional Times Photo

His Highness the Aga Khan and the Governor of Sindh Muhammad Zubair at Jinnah Airport Terminal. Photo: Regional Times of Sindh. See link below.

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Aga Khan Video: Phenomenal motorcade clip

 

 

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Ag Khan Video: Airport lounge meeting (1)

 

 

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Aga Khan Video: Airport lounge meeting (2)

 

 

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Aga Khan Video: Karachi arrival and welcome

 

 

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Aga Khan Video: Plane Taxiing

 

 

Date posted: December 14, 2017
Last updated: December 20, 2017, 08:25 AM EST

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We welcome your feedback. Please click Leave a comment

The Aga Khan in Pakistan: (1) A thorough and comprehensive coverage of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Northern Pakistan, Dec. 7- 14, 2017

Latest updates were applied at 00:47 AM on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

The purpose of this post is to provide external links to media coverage of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Pakistan. This post will specifically cover his visit to Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan in the northern areas of Pakistan. We we will make every effort to ensure that we skip on links that contain repetitive information – often the same news agency report is shared  by different media.

NOTE TO OUR READERS: All material related to his Karachi visit will now be covered in a new post dedicated to Karachi. The link will be available shortly.

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Darbar attendances

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A bird’s-eye view of the Darbar at Aliabad, Hunza. Photo: The Ismaili

Newspaper reports suggest the following darbar attendances in Gilgit-Baltistan: 150,000 in Yasin (Ghizr District) and 100,000 in Aliabad (Hunza District). Also, original estimates for Chitral, 2 locations — Booni and Garam Chashma – were 140,000.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

(a) Media Coverage

NOTE: All material related to his Karachi visit will be covered in a new post dedicated to Karachi!

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Tuesday/Wednesday, December 12/13, 2017

(a) Media Coverage

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Mawlana Hazar Imam walks through the Jamat during the Darbar at Garamchashma, Lower Chitral Photo: The Ismaili/Amirali Rimjee

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Entrance of a Darbar gate in Hunza decorated with traditional hats and flowers.

(a) Media Coverage

(b) Daily Motion Video: Welcome message to the Aga Khan from Shia Community

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

(a) AKDN Initiative

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(b) First page coverage (Urdu newspaper)

12-11-2017page-1-1Newspaper Urdu small

Front page of Gilgit’s Urdu newspaper, dailybaadeshimal.com, that extensively covers Hazar Imam’s visit to Yasin and Hunza. First column, second photo down, shows Hazar Imam greeting Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, with his wife in centre. Mir Ghazanfar belongs to the ruling family of Hunza. He is the son of Last Mir of Hunza, Muhammad Jamal Khan. See more photos of Hazar Imam with the Mir and his wife, below.

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(c) Photos with Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan

Aga Khan and Mir Photos

Mawlana Hazar Imam with Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and his wife. The Mir currently holds the office of Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan. He was appointed to the position of governor on November 24, 2015 by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif.

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(d) Gilgit arrival, a Gbee News Twitter video (must watch, photos with children)

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(e) Media Coverage

Aga Khan Photo Face Book Page of Hunza News

Hunza News Facebook Page. See more photos at link above.

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Booni, Chitral, Darbar, December 9, 2017. See more photos at Chitral Times Urdu link, above.

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(f) Hunza preparations ahead of visit

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

(a) Booni Darbar video

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(b) Helicopter departure video (from town of Chitral to Booni)

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(c). Booni pre-darbar photos

booni didargah before Darbar on December 9

Tens of thousands of people pack the Didargah in Booni, Chitral, on December 9, before the arrival of Mawlana Hazar Imam for the Darbar. Photo: Pamir Times/Shuja Raza.

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(d) Flight Delay in Islamabad: “The C130 aircraft in which he was supposed to fly could not takeoff from Islamabad in time. The AKF Helicopter Wing however took over and proved its worth by promptly dashing over to Islamabad in marginal weather and ferried the Imam and his entourage to grace Chitral and allay the anxiety of tens of thousands of the waiting faithful at Garam Chashma and Booni. Due to the four hour delay in scheduled departure from Islamabad and extended ceremonies at both the Deedar Gahs, the Imam decided to stay overnight in Chitral” — Excerpt from ChitralNews.com

(e) Media Coverage

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Friday, December 8, 2017

(a) Chitral preparations ahead of Darbar

booni didargah

(b) Comment on the volunteers

“Volunteers from the community have been working day and night for weeks on, to clean the area and upgrade roads and prepare two grand ‘deedar gahs’ (congregation areas) at Booni and Garam chashma, which will hold thousands of disciples of the Imam of the Ismailia community. Ismailis from all over Chitral with their women folk and children have converged on Booni and Garam Chashma the two venues where the Ag Khan would address his followers. The scathing cold has not deterred the faithful to brave the weather and catch a glimpse of their Imam.” — Excerpt from Chitralnews.com

 (c) Media Coverage

Tribune ecopy page Aga Khan visit

December 9th issue of Pakistan Tribune, Twin Cities Section. See story below.

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(d) Social Media Tweet by Marvi Mennon

Marvi Memon, aged 45,  is a Pakistani politician who serves as the Minister of State/Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Programme. She has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since 2013 as a member of Pakistan Muslim League.

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(e) Video (Urdu news on Aga Khan arrival in Pakistan + meeting government leaders)

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(e) Expressions (Song honouring Mawlana Hazar Imam)

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

(a) Conventional or Social Media Coverage

(b) Video

Date posted: December 9, 2017.
Last updated: December 13, 2017, 11:42 PM EST.

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A Chitral boy’s special moment with his beloved 49th Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, @Barakah

A young boy from Chitral presented a bouquet of flowers to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan on December 7, 2017. What then followed is a brief conversation the boy will remember all his life.

PLEASE CLICK: His Highness the Aga Khan in Pakistan: A Chitral boy’s story of a beautiful moment with his beloved 49th Imam

Please click on photo for story and video.

Date posted: December 9, 2017.

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Aga Khan’s forthcoming visit to remote Chitral: Photos with video @Barakah

PLEASE CLICK: Ismailis, as spiritual children of Mawlana Hazar Imam, always take to rejoicing when they hear about their Imam’s confirmed visits to other jurisdictions. Each visit by the Imam is filled with blessing for that particular jamat, as well as for other jamats around the world. I became truly conscious of this fact during an extraordinary moment in Montreal, just over a week ago, on the morning of November 21 — Read more at Barakah, a special project by Simerg dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan

Site of the Diamond Jubilee mulaqat of His Highness the Aga Khan with his jamat in Chitral. Please click for report, video and more photos.

His Highness the Aga Khan: Exclusive photo essay by renowned photographer Jean-Marc Carisse

Global Pluralism Award Ceremony at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

Having photographed His Highness the Aga Khan several times over the past decades, the Ismaili spiritual leader always struck me as an affable gentleman with his charismatically warm demeanour. This year alone, I attended two of his events. The award ceremony this past week, on November 15, at the beautiful Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat on Sussex Drive in Ottawa was distinctively different…CLICK TO SEE PHOTOS BY JEAN-MARC CARISSE

Please click on image to read Jean-Marc Carisses’s exclusive piece for Barakah.

Date posted: November 19, 2017.

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Aga Khan at Uganda’s 55th Uhuru Celebrations

AUDIO OF REMARKS BY HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN UPON RECEIVING UGANDA’S HIGHEST HONOUR


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COVERAGE

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PHOTOS OF MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM’S ARRIVAL AND FLASHBACK: THE AGA KHAN AND UGANDA

PLEASE CLICK: His Highness the Aga Khan arrives in Uganda for 55th Uhuru Day celebrations and to grace Ismailis with Darbar

Please click on image for photos and story as well as special feature The Aga Khan and Uganda

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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