Must Attend Event in Calgary, Saturday, January 21, 2023: Screening of Aleem Karmali’s Acclaimed Film “Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda” – Please Watch Trailer and Reserve Your Tickets Now

“What an absolutely marvelous job you did in creating this work… How very important it was for you to do this because I think it gives a truer picture of what actually happened… Your film should be more widely distributed – especially to schools. To learn that our decisions can have significant repercussions is an important idea to understand” — Jennifer Shelley, Edmonton

Note: The event is now over.

[Simerg is delighted to inform its readers, especially those living in and around the Calgary area, that Edmonton based filmmaker Aleem Karmali is travelling to Calgary for the screening of his highly acclaimed film “Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda”, on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at the Globe Cinema located at 617 8 Ave SW, Calgary. The doors to the cinema will open at 1:00 PM and the film will commence shortly thereafter. At the screening, Aleem will engage in a discussion with Honourable Salma Lakhani, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, whose appointment to the position was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 30, 2020. Salma herself became stateless when Idi Amin announced the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in August 1972. As readers may be aware, Simerg had carried a special article on Salma Lakhani with a link to an interview she gave to the Canadian Geographic magazine. We sincerely hope Calgary residents will fill up the cinema for Karmali’s film. Tickets are only $10.00 and can be purchased by clicking on EVENTBRITE. At Simerg’s invitation, Aleem Karmali has prepared the following short introductory piece about the film he is screening in Calgary — Ed.]

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The Ugandan Asian Refugees: Canada’s First Major Movement of Non-European Refugees

Ugandan refugees at the Montreal Longue Pointe reception centre. Aleem Karmali fiml story on Simerg
Ugandan refugees at the Montreal Longue Pointe reception centre. Photograph: Library and Archives Canada, sourced from https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=fonandcol&IdNumber=4332941, Creative Commons.

By ALEEM KARMALI

The story of the Ugandan Asian refugees has received a fair amount of coverage in the past year, marking the 50th anniversary of Idi Amin’s expulsion of South Asians from Uganda in 1972. The expulsion targeted around 50 thousand people from a diverse array of ethnic and religious backgrounds, including several thousand Ismaili Muslims. 

Often when these stories are told, they focus on the experiences of the refugees during the expulsion, their settlement in the UK, Canada, or other countries, and their contributions to their new societies. Typically, the story begins with Idi Amin’s expulsion order and they rarely engage with the damaging legacy of British colonialism in shaping the tangled historical context leading up to the expulsion. 

In Canada specifically, the stories often focus specifically on Ismailis. However, while the Ismailis were the largest group that came to Canada, this was actually a diverse community, including many Goans, Hindus, Sikhs, and other Muslims. 

DOCUMENTING AN UNTOLD CANADIAN STORY 

When I set out to make a documentary film about the expulsion, I wanted to tell the Canadian story in a slightly different way than others had generally approached it. I approached the expulsion as a key moment in Canadian refugee and immigration history. 

The Ugandan Asians were the first major movement of non-European and non-white refugees accepted in Canadian history. We tend to view Canada today as a multicultural, diverse, and pluralistic society. However, it was not always so. 

Canada’s early history had very exclusionary immigration policies rooted in Canada’s history as a British colony. Eventually, Canadian immigration policies began to change, laying the foundations for Canada’s decision to accept almost 8,000 Ugandan refugees. 

The Uganda movement also left a legacy in Canada. The generally positive perception of the Ugandan refugees opened the door to more, and larger, refugee movements from outside Europe, including the Boat People in the late 1970s, and later movements from Afghanistan and Syria. 

Another legacy is that the experiences of Canadian immigration officials on the ground in Uganda led to new policies, particularly the world’s first policy of private sponsorship of refugees. 

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THE FILM: “THROWN INTO CANADA”

The film, Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda,” is a 77-minute feature-length documentary, which premiered in November 2022 in Edmonton. It has also been featured at Carleton University’s “Beyond Resettlement” conference and was a selection in the Waterloo Region Migration Film Festival

The film features interviews with historians, Canadian immigration officials, and former Ugandan refugees from the Ismaili, Goan, and Hindu communities. Notable interviews include Dr. Shezan Muhammedi, Prof. Karim H. Karim, Senator Mobina Jaffer, and Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, the 19th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. 

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Watch Trailer

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CALGARY SCREENING: JANUARY 21, 2023, GLOBE CINEMA, DOORS OPEN 1:00 PM; AND LINK TO PURCHASE TICKETS

An upcoming screening will be held on Saturday, January 21 in Calgary at the Globe Cinema617 8 Ave SW, Calgary — followed by a panel discussion with Her Honour Salma Lakhani and myself. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by clicking on EVENTBRITE.

The film is independently-produced with grant funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council.

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TESTIMONIALS ON THE FILM

The following is feedback received from previous screenings of the film:

“I want to compliment you on a superb documentary.” — Michael Molloy, Canadian Immigration Official in Kampala in 1972

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“It is beautifully told – written and visual. I love many creative elements you’ve included and I was so happy to hear so many voices.” — Shelley Ayres, Producer/Director of “Expelled: My Roots in Uganda” (CTV)

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“The film was so well made, and I learned so much.” — Ikhlas Hussain, Waterloo Public Library

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“What a wonderful contribution!!”  — Dr. Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Associate Professor of Muslim Societies at Georgetown University

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“What an absolutely marvelous job you did in creating this work… How very important it was for you to do this because I think it gives a truer picture of what actually happened… Your film should be more widely distributed – especially to schools. To learn that our decisions can have significant repercussions is an important idea to understand.” — Jennifer Shelley, Edmonton Resident

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PURCHASE TICKETS

Again, tickets for the film can be purchased by clicking on EVENTBRITE.

Date posted: January 17, 2023.
Last updated: January 20, 2023 (trailer added.)

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Aleem Karmali is a filmmaker, writer and educator based in Edmonton, Canada, Thrown into Canada: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda
Aleem Karmali

Aleem Karmali is an independent documentary filmmaker, writer and educator based in Edmonton, Canada. Through his company Crescent Productions, his films generally explore the intersections of history, diversity, culture and religion, with a particular focus on the contributions of Muslim civilizations to the world. He is also an alumnus of The Institute of Ismaili Studies and has produced several projects for The.Ismaili and the Aga Khan Development Network over the years. He also contributed The Unveiling at Sijilmasa for Simerg’s acclaimed series I Wish I’d Been There.

REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Morant’s Curve: One of the World’s Premiere Train Lookout Points in Banff National Park’s Bow Valley Parkway

Malik Merchant returns to Banff National Park after 15 long years, and this time at the start of 2023 in the thick of winter. His photographs will bring you closer to one of Canada’s top destinations and you will be awed with what you learn and see about Morant’s Curve as well as a rare endangered snail that only lives in Banff’s sulphur springs….and, of course, we have other Rocky Mountain photographs too! You must read and share this beautiful post. CLICK FOR MORE! Or click on photos, below.

Can you spot the endangered snail? Click on image for more photographs from the Cave and Basin National Historic Site in Banff’. Photograph: Malik Merchant.

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Morant's Curve, Malik Merchant Simerg Photos.
Morant’s Curve, Bow Valley Parkway, Hwy 1A, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Please click on photo for more beautiful photographs. Photograph: Malik Merchant.

Date posted: January 14, 2023.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

His Highness the Aga Khan: Anchor Links to 2021-2022 Stories on the 49th Ismaili Imam and a New Page for 2023

More than 35 stories can now be easily accessed through anchor links on Barakah’s revised page covering 2021-2022 news events related to His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family. Please click July 13, 2021 – December 31, 2021: Aga Khan or on image below, following which we have a link to the start-up page for 2023 events.

Aga Khan News: Anchor Links 2021- 2022 Stories

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Aga Khan News 2023: Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Princess Zahra at UN Conference Climate Resilient Pakistan

Climate Resilient Pakistan January 9 2023, Geneva, Palais des Nations, Simerg News
A view of delegates attending “Climate Resilient Pakistan” in the conference hall at the UN building in Geneva, Palais des Nations, on January 9, 2023. Photograph: UN Photo/Violaine Martin.

Featured photo at top of post: Prince Rahim Aga Khan, oldest son of the Aga Khan, visits the Vatican, November 2022.

Date posted: January 10, 2023.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

The Aga Khan and Cultural Historian Oleg Grabar

“Oleg Grabar has done more to define the field of Islamic art and architecture than almost anyone else alive. The questions he has asked, the hypotheses he has proposed and the theories he has developed, over a career that now spans more than six decades, have shaped and defined the way we understand the Islamic world’s rich architectural heritage” — Chairman’s Award Citation, Aga Khan Award for Architecture Ceremony, November 2010, Qatar

January 8, 2023, the date of this post, marks exactly 12 years since the passing of Professor Oleg Grabar at the age of 81. Simerg’s sister website, Barakah, presents 3 rare photographs connecting the late Harvard and Princeton scholar with His Highness the Aga Khan and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA ) as well as includes the full citation of the honour that was bestowed on Grabar by the Aga Khan during the presentation ceremony of the world’s biggest architecture prize on November 24, 2010 — READ MORE

Aga Khan Award for Architecture Lifetime Achievement Award to Oleg Grabar, Simerg
His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the then Emir of Qatar, presents a certificate to Professor Oleg Grabar who was awarded the Chairman’s Award in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the field of Islamic art and architecture, as Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and His Highness the Aga Khan look on. The Award ceremony took place in Qatar November 24, 2010. Photograph: AKDN/Gary Otte. Please click on photo for Citation and more photographs.

Date posted: January 8, 2023.

Featured photo at top of post: The Aga Khan and his younger brother Prince Amyn with Oleg Grabar. Photograph: © Christopher Little.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Gülru Necipoğlu, Harvard’s Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture, to Receive Freer’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Medal; Oleg Grabar, 1st Aga Khan Professor was Honoured with the Freer Medal in 2001

Compiled and adapted from News Release, National Museum of Asian Art, January 3, 2023

The National Museum of Asian Art has announced its 2023 recipients of the Freer Medal, a lifetime achievement award that honors individuals who have substantially contributed to the understanding of the arts of Asia throughout their career. This year, the institution’s centennial, the honor will go to Vidya Dehejia, the Barbara Stoler Miller Professor Emerita of Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University, and Gülru Necipoğlu, the Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University’s History of Art and Architecture Department. They will be honored for their lifetime work in South Asian art and arts of the Islamic world, respectively. The medal will be presented to Dehejia April 28 and to Necipoğlu Oct. 27.

Named after the museum’s founder, Charles Lang Freer, the Freer Medal has been awarded 14 times since its inception in 1956. This is the first time that a scholar of South Asian and another of Middle Eastern descent will receive the award. Only two other women have previously received the Freer Medal: It was awarded to Dame Jessica Rawson, professor of Chinese art and archaeology at the University of Oxford, in 2017 and to Stella Kramrisch, Czech art historian and leading specialist on South Asian art, in 1985.

“The Freer Medal is an important way in which our museum encourages and exemplifies excellence in Asian art scholarship,” said Chase F. Robinson, Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Asian Art. “We are pleased to recognize the enormous contributions that these scholars have made to their fields. It is long overdue that women of Middle Eastern and Asian heritages receive the Freer Medal. The museum congratulates Vidya Dehejia and Gülru Necipoğlu on this award during the landmark occasion of our centennial.”

About Gülru Necipoğlu

Gülru Necipoğlu, 2023 Freer Medal, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art, Simerg, News
Gülru Necipoğlu. Photograph: Via National Museum of Asian Art

Necipoğlu earned her doctorate from Harvard University in 1986 and has served there as the Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture since 1993. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts from Harvard University. Necipoğlu specializes in the arts and architecture of the pre-modern Islamic lands, with a focus on the Mediterranean world and the cross-cultural and artistic exchanges between the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires in the 16th and 17th centuries. Grounded in rigorous archival research, her multi-disciplinary studies have addressed the aesthetic interconnections of Byzantium and Renaissance Europe, pre-modern architectural practices and the role and function of ornament in the Islamic world and beyond, offering new and highly original perspectives on the arts and architecture of the region. Throughout her illustrious career, Necipoğlu has also trained and mentored numerous students, who have continued to transform the field. 

Since 1993, Necipoğlu has also served as editor of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World and its supplements, the pre-eminent publication in the field, which has transformed the study of the arts and architecture of the Islamic world. Her own publications comprise studies in monumental architecture to intricate designs on portable objects and have changed the understanding of the arts of the Islamic world. They include Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: The Topkapı Palace (1991), The Topkapı Scroll–Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (1995), The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (2005, 2011), Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3–1503/4) (2 vols, 2019, coeditors Cemal Kafadar and Cornell H. Fleischer), The Arts of Ornamental Geometry: A Persian Compendium on Similar and Complementary Interlocking Figures (2017), A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, in the Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History (coeditor F. Barry Flood, 2017) and Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local (coeditor Alina Payne, 2016).

In recognition of her distinguished scholarly career, Necipoğlu is an elected member of the British Academy, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio in Vicenza, Italy.

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Oleg Grabar: One of 14 Previous Recipients of the Freer Medal , was Instrumental in Founding Harvard’s Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture

The following piece about Oleg Grabar includes material from a memorial meeting held by Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences on May 1, 2012Co-incidentally, we are publishing this piece almost 12 years to the day of Grabar’s death on January 8, 2011.

Oleg Grabar. Photograph: Archnet
Oleg Grabar. Photograph: Archnet

Among the fourteen previous recipients of the Freer Medal is Professor Oleg Grabar (1929-2011), who received the eleventh presentation of the medal on April 5, 2001. A special award booklet dedicated to Professor Grabar was published and can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

On November 24, 2010, at the Aga Khan Award for Architecture ceremony held in Qatar, His Highness the Aga Khan presented the Chairman’s Award to Professor Oleg Grabar in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the field of Islamic art and architecture. Less than two months later, on January 8, 2011, Oleg Grabar passed away at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, at the age of eighty-one.

Professor Grabar was recognized by the Islamic art and architecture community as one of the field’s most influential and insightful scholars. He was professor emeritus of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, and Aga Khan Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

Professor Grabar, who taught in the Harvard Department of Fine Arts (now History of Art and Architecture) for twenty-one years (1969–1990), was instrumental in founding Harvard’s Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. There are few, if any, Islamicists who have not profited from the scholarly contributions of this extraordinary man, who was larger-than-life. He was the first Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art at Harvard (1980–1990) — a position now held as mentioned in the previous section above by Gülru Necipoğlu — and subsequently joined the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he remained active in research and publication until his second retirement in 1998, and over the following thirteen years as well. Grabar’s continuing post-retirement intellectual productivity and capacity to inspire were officially recognized when he received His Highness the Aga Khan’s Chairman’s Award in Doha, Qatar, in 2010.

Please click on photo for enlargement

Aga Khan Award for Architecture Lifetime Achievement Award to Oleg Grabar, Simerg
His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the then Emir of Qatar, presents a certificate to Professor Oleg Grabar who was awarded the Chairman’s Award in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the field of Islamic art and architecture, as Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and His Highness the Aga Khan look on. The Award ceremony took place in Qatar November 24, 2010. Photograph: AKDN/Gary Otte.

Date posted: January 6, 2023.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

The Aga Khan, Pope Benedict XVI, the Ismaili Imamat, the Papacy and Simon (St.) Peter

Aga Khan, Pope Benedict, Papacy, Ismaili Imamat and Simon Peter
Simon Peter. Click on image to read article

As part of his famous Apostolic Journey to France in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI — who died on December 31, 2022 — paid a visit to the “Institut De France” in Paris where he was presented with a gold medal by the Institut. Pope Benedict 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.” The Aga Khan met the Late Pope, with everyone’s attention drawn to their handshake…Over the past 15 years, there has been an increased collaboration between Catholic institutions and the work of the Ismaili Imamat, through the Aga Khan Development Network…The Catholics adhere to the belief that the Pope is a successor of St. 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.  — READ MORE

Date posted: January 1, 2023.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Memories of Pelé (1940 – 2022): The Most Beloved Football Player of All Time

“I think the secret to success is to respect people, to be prepared, always, and then never never think that you are the best” — Pelé (watch VOA video clip, below)

By MALIK MERCHANT

When the FIFA World Cup began in Qatar on November 20, 2022, our thoughts were with Pelé as he was reported to be in the last stages of his life. Of course, for that reason alone, many neutrals would have wished for Brazil to win the world cup in honour of everyone’s favourite, Pelé. Brazil were eventually defeated in the quarter finals in a penalty shootout against Croatia; Pelé continued to live but finally succumbed to his illness on Thursday, December 29, 2022, at the age of 82.

The entire sporting world is in mourning and tributes are pouring in from footballers and football fans from around the world — and even from world leaders! Both President Biden and former President Obama have issued their own sentiments and feelings about the death of the king of soccer, Pelé, who defined football as the beautiful game. With players like him and his contemporary the great Eusébio  (d. 2014) of Portugal, Argentina’s Diego Maradonna (d. 2020), France’s Zinedine Zidane, Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, Holland’s Johan Cruyff (d. 2016) and others, as well as today’s rising star Mbappe of PSG and France along with the astonishing Messi and Ronaldo who would not agree with that definition?

Story continues below

Pelé pictured before facing Boca Juniors in the second leg of 1963 Copa Libertadores Finals at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires. He is the all-time leading goalscorer for Santos FC. Photograph: Via Wikipedia, Public Domain..

In the late 1950’s and during the 1960’s, young kids like me growing up in Africa became fans of Brazil for one reason alone: Pelé. Our hearts would break and we would be plunged into utter sadness for days after Brazil’s loss, and this was felt in 1966 when Brazil failed to win the third consecutive world cup after winning the 1958 and 1962 world cups, with Pelé being instrumental in those successes.

Pelé (Number 10) dribbles past 3 players in the 1958 World Cup against Sweden. Photograph: Public domain

We would all show up at the air conditioned (New) Chox cinema in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to watch the highlights of the world cup that had been condensed into a film of 90 minutes. The cinema showings were jam packed and it was like being in a real football match. Emotions ran high. It was painful to see Brazil lose and not proceed beyond the group stage in 1966 — Pelé was apparently hacked down with tackles and fouls throughout the group round matches and especially against Bulgaria. The knee injury he sustained made him ineffective in the last group game against Portugal. Four year later, in 1970, we were bubbling with joy as we watched Brazil win the world cup for the third time with Pelé at centre stage.

Pelé and Benfica’s Eusébio Visit Mozambique

In the late fifties, I was in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) and Brazil brought a team to Mozambique, composed of Pelé along with other Brazilian star players — Didi, Vava, Garrincha and so on. But I was still very young to recall much about the match. However the name Pelé remained transfixed in my mind from that moment onwards. Another great footballer — he was actually born in Mozambique — was no other than Eusébio, who was nicknamed the Black Panther. He ended up playing in Portugal for Benfica, who became the Portuguese champions in 1961/2 and went on to defeat Real Madrid in the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League) in 1962, a game that I listened live at Aziz Noorali’s place, my next door neighbour. Eusébio scored in a stunning 5-3 victory.

Benfica toured Mozambique and brought their star player Eusébio to play against the Mozambique national side at either the Desportivo or Sporting Stadium (they were adjacent to each other). An Ismaili name Sattar Issa, a central defender, played for the Mozambique team. Though thoroughly thrashed by Benfica 7-3 with Eusebio scoring 3 or 4 goals, Sattar’s performance impressed Benfica so much that it was rumoured he would be leaving Mozambique to play for Benfica. However, that did not materialize. One other outstanding Ismaili player before Sattar who played for the league team Ferroviário and also the Mozambique national side was the late Amir Ismail, whose final home was in Vancouver. My mum was a fan of his and she would warn him to go to bed early and not go about galavanting at night before game day. He deeply respected my parents, as did Sattar, who was also a hard hitting cricket batsman. There were other Ismaili football stars including Amir Merali — I think he and Sattar played for rival teams, Sporting and Desportivo. In one crucial game between the two teams that I attended — and, I think, it was the season’s final and deciding game to determine the league winner — Sattar left his defensive position in the last two minutes to go into the penalty area at the other end as it was a must win game. Alas, there was a counter attack and Sattar’s team lost the match! For us, who had known Sattar for years, it was a heart breaking moment.

Over the past several hours, I have been reading obituaries on Pelé and I am sharing with our readers the one that has appeared on Voice of America below. The two minute clip on Pelé is also worth watching and one thing that struck me the most was Pele’s words: “I think the secret to success is to respect people, to be prepared always and then never never think that you are the best.”

Pele and Eusebio Simerg

Pelé (left) and Eusébio. Photograph: Thesefootballtimes

Of course, with regard to who is the best footballer of all time, the argument will bever be settled. But on examining Pelé’s footballing career and his impact around the world, as well as his accomplishments as an ambassador of football and a great humanitarian, I have to say I love him more than any other footballer in our time. I have fond memories of Eusébio too as I was almost 9 when I watched him in Lourenço Marques for Benfica. They were both outstanding individuals and footballers and I am glad I came across a superb piece by Paul Mc Parlan entitled “Remembering three rare but momentous occasions when Pele and Eusebio squared off.” Please read Parlan’s article, especially if you know who Eusébio was and were his admirer.

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Obituary: Brazilian Football Legend Pele Dies at 82

World Mourns Pele, Simerg

Fans of Brazilian football legend Pele hang a banner reading “Eternal King Pele” outside the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital, where Pele died after a long battle with cancer, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Dec. 29, 2022. Photograph: AFP/Via VOA

By VOICE OF AMERICA (VOA) NEWS

Brazilian football legend Pele, who burst onto the world scene as a goal-scoring teenager and led his national team to an unprecedented three World Cup titles, died Thursday at the age of 82.

He was hospitalized in late November, and doctors said in December he was dealing with cancer that had advanced along with kidney and cardiac problems. In September 2021, he had surgery to remove a tumor from his colon.

The Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was being treated, said in a statement that he died of multiple organ failure.

“Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,” daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram.

Widely considered one of the greatest football players of all time, Pele dazzled on the World Cup stage for Brazil and in club games and international tours with his team Santos before helping generate a surge of excitement around the sport in the United States with a late-career stint with the New York Cosmos.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on Oct. 23, 1940, in Tres Coracoes, about 250 kilometers northwest of Rio de Janeiro, Pele signed with Santos at the age of 15.

By 16, he was part of Brazil’s national team, and in 1958 he made his World Cup debut at age 17. He is the youngest player to ever score in the men’s World Cup and the youngest to ever score three goals in one game, which he accomplished in Brazil’s second match of the tournament.

17-year-old Pelé cries on the shoulder of goalkeeper Gilmar after Brazil won the 1958 World Cup final. Photograph" Wikipedia/Public domain.
17-year-old Pelé cries on the shoulder of goalkeeper Gilmar after Brazil won the 1958 World Cup final. Photograph” Wikipedia/Public domain.

Two more goals in the tournament’s final match helped Pele lead Brazil to the championship. He won two more World Cups with Brazil, in 1962 and 1970.

His international career included 77 goals in 92 matches, and he was named FIFA’s co-player of the 20th century along with Argentina’s Diego Maradona.

After retiring from Santos and international duty, Pele joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League in 1975 and played three seasons there.

In his post-football life, Pele served as Brazil’s sports minister and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization appointed him UNESCO Champion for Sport for what it said was his “outstanding commitment to promote sport and help disadvantaged children.”

WATCH VIDEO: BELOVED PELE DIES AT 82

In 2020, Pele tweeted that he was proud of his relationship with the U.N., as well as his involvement in campaigns to promote breastfeeding in Brazil and to eradicate illiteracy.

“Today, I insist on being involved in good causes, both with NGO’s, Public institutions and my sponsors,” he posted. “This is part of my legacy and I applaud other football legends that have also been following this path, using the beautiful game to make the world better.”

Brazil has declared three days of mourning, and the arch at Wembley Stadium in London has been lighted in Brazil’s colors.

“I had the privilege that younger Brazilians didn’t have: I saw Pele play, live, at Pacaembu and Morumbi. Play, no. I saw Pele give a show,” said Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president-elect of Brazil.

“Because when he got the ball, he always did something special, which often ended up in a goal,” he said.

Neymar, a fellow Brazilian and star for Paris Saint-Germain, said that before Pele, soccer was just a sport.

“He transformed football into an art, into entertainment. … Football and Brazil gained status thanks to the King. He has gone, but his magic will remain. Pele is ETERNAL!” Neymar wrote on Instagram.

French star Kylian Mbappe said Pele’s legacy will endure.

“The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING.” Mbappe said via Twitter.

“Rest in peace, Pele,” Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi tweeted Thursday.

Some information for this report in VOA came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

Date posted: December 30, 2022.

Credit for featured (collage) image at top of post: (Left) Pelé dribbling past a defender while playing for Brazil, May 1960 (public domain), and a portrait of Pelé by John Mathew Smith from Laurel Maryland, US. CC BY-SA 2.0

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

The Aga Khan: Barakah’s 2022 Stories, Articles and Photos to Revisit

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

As we enter the year 2023 this weekend, we present links to articles we posted in 2022 on Simerg’s sister website, Barakah, which is dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat. The Aga Khan is the 49th Hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, and is directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him and his family) through his son-in-law Imam Ali, the first Imam of all Shia Muslims, who was married to the Prophet’s daughter, Fatimah.

We commence the presentation with an image containing a verse from the Qur’an, a tradition (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad and excerpts from the Aga Khan’s speeches and/or interviews. This is followed with links to more than thirty must read 2022 pieces.

The Ismaili Imamat is Unique

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Note: All photos may be clicked for enlargement. Preceding each photograph is a link to the corresponding piece. Please click on the links and read the articles.

Please click: Princess Yasmin Aga Khan: Birthday and Knighthood

Yasmin Aga Khan

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Please click: Ode to the Imam of the Present Time: His Highness the Aga Khan

The Aga Khan

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Please click:

Hussain Aga Khan

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Please click: The Hereditary Imamat and the Aga Khan’s 86th Birthday

Greeting for the Aga Khan's birthday

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Please click: 2010 Photo Flashback: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture in Qatar

Aga Khan in Qatar

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Please click: The Life of the 48th Ismaili Imam, Aga Khan III

Aga Khan III

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Please click: Oman’s 3-Day Feast of Culture: The Aga Khan Awards

Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2022

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Please click: A Handwritten Message of Hope and Prayer from the Aga Khan

Aga Khan Portrait

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Please click: Prince Rahim Aga Khan: 51 Years in Pictures

Prince Rahim Aga Khan

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Please click: Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Princess Zahra in British Columbia

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Please click: The Aga Khans, the Ismaili Imamat and the British Crown

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Please click: Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Her Work for the Ismaili Imamat

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Please click: A Review of the Aga Khan’s “Where Hope Takes Root”

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Please click: The Silver Jubilee Service Set Presented to the Aga Khan

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Please click: The Aga Khan: Modern Personification of Historical Islamic Rationalism, Charity and Peace

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Please click: The Aga Khan’s View of the World

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Please click: The Aga Khan Stands Out as an Icon of Action

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Please click: The Aga Khan at Harvard

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Please click: A Tribute to the Aga Khan

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Please click: Gift of a Standard to the Aga Khan and its Significance

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Please click: World Leaders’ Congratulatory Messages to the Aga Khan

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Please click: The Aga Khan’s Installation Ceremony from a Rare Magazine

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Please click: Reflections on “Depth of Field – The Aga Khan Beyond the Lens”

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Please click: Dolly Jamani’s Memorable Photograph with the Aga Khan

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Please click: Message from the Aga Khan to His Followers in Tajikistan

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Please click: The Aga Khan Recites Eid ul-Fitr Prayers at Age 7

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Please click: The Aga Khan and Late Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki

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Please click: Irfan Aga Khan: The Seven Year Old Prince’s Name and its Roots

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Please click: Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s Journey of Sea Exploration

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Please click: Yasmin Aga Khan: A Princess with a Mission

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Please click: The Aga Khan and Late Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

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Please click: March 21, 1960: The Aga Khan in Burma

Begum Aga Khan

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Please click: An Unforgettable Meeeting with Om Habibeh Aga Khan

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Please click: 22nd Birthday of Prince Aly Muhammad Aga Khan

Prince Aliy Muhammad Aga Khan

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Please click: Reminiscing the Aga Khan’s Participation in the 1964 Winter Olympic Games

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Please click: January – December 2022: News Coverage

With this post, we welcome new readers to our 3 websites – Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos – and wish them as well as all our existing readers a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2023.

Date posted: December 29, 2022.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

Photo of the Day: The Birthplace of Jesus, and the Depiction of Jesus in Islam including His Immaculate Conception

Why Do Muslims Revere Jesus?

His name is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an twenty-five times, often in the form ‘Isa ibn Maryam, meaning “Jesus, son of Mary.” In the Qur’an, he is referred to by the unique title of “Messiah” (al-masih in Arabic), meaning “anointed one.” Descriptions of Jesus in the Qur’an include many aspects of the narrative found in the Gospels about the life of Jesus, including his virgin birth, the signs given to him by God, that he was raised by God into His presence, and it also suggests his future return. Jesus is also referred to in the Qur’an as the “Word” and the “Spirit” of God, a special honour. READ MORE

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Photo of the Day: Birthplace

Click on photo for enlargement

Photo of the Day: The Altar of the Nativity, beneath which is the star marking the spot where tradition says the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus. Photo: Muslim Harji, Montreal.

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Muslims Articulate the Immaculate Conception of Jesus in the Presence of a Christian Emperor

To read Barnaby Rogerson’s article, please click HERE or on image below

Left: Virgin Mary nurtured by a palm tree in a Turkish miniature, as described in the Qur'an; right: Mary and Jesus in a Persian miniature. Please click on image for Michael Wolfe's article "Jesus Through a Muslim Lens." Images: Wikipedia.
Left: Virgin Mary nurtured by a palm tree in a Turkish miniature, as described in the Qur’an; right: Mary and Jesus in a Persian miniature. Please click on image for Barnaby Rogerson’s article. Images: Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Date posted: December 25, 2022.

Featured photo at top of post: Festive season decorations at CrossIron Mills, Calgary, December 24, 2022. Photograph: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

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REVIEW SIMERG’S TABLE OF CONTENTS AND VISIT ITS SISTER WEBSITES

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 SimergphotosThe editor may be reached via email at mmerchant@simerg.com.

M. Ali Lakhani Presents Ideas of His Highness the Aga Khan as Educational Correctives to Islamophobia Before Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT

Further to our recent video presentation of Vancouver Ismaili lawyer M. Ali Lakhani’s appearance before the Senate of Canada’s Standing Committee on Human Rights on the topic of Islamophobia, we are pleased to provide a link to the full transcript of the video on the Senate website.

Mr. Lakhani was in the first panel with two other witnesses, Nuzhat Jafri, the Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and Maryam Khan, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Social Work at the Wilfrid Laurier University. He was participating in his capacity as the Editor of Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity, a journal he founded 25 years ago, and now the leading journal in its field.

In his testimony, Mr. Lakhani discusses the causes of Islamophobia, quoting His Highness the Aga Khan at several points in his remarks, and highlights 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 generated interest and comments from the Senators. Please read the full transcript of all the six participating witnesses by clicking on Islamophobia: Senate of Canada Standing Committee.

Date posted: December 20, 2022.

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Faith and Ethics The Vision of the Ismaili Imamat by Ali Lakhani, editor Sacred Web, Simerg, Books by Ismaili authors
M. Ali Lakhani’s Faith and Ethics

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.