Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has conferred honorary Canadian citizenship on the Aga Khan, making the billionaire spiritual leader to 15 million Ismaili Muslim followers worldwide only the fifth person to be so honored. Aga Khan lives in France.
The Prime Minister and the Aga Khan met for a foundation ceremony for a cultural centre, museum and park to built on the site by 2013. The Aga Khan expressed his hope that the cultural edifice, particularly the collection of artifacts from Islamic history, would serve as a beacon for his sect’s moderate take on Islam and its “search for knowledge and beauty.” Ismaili Muslim Canadians include Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed and Senator Mobina Jaffer.
The Aga Khan, role model for Canada’s 100,000 Ismailis, is in Toronto to lay the foundation for an Islamic museum and cultural centre. The construction on Canadian soil of the largest Islamic museum in the English-speaking world marks a significant milestone for a community that arrived in Canada 38 years ago. In the last four decades, Ismailis have emerged as a remarkable success story. Their integration is seen as one of the reasons the Aga Khan promotes Canadian-style pluralism as a model for the world. In a short time, Ismailis have become leading figures in politics, business and the professions, with prominent people including Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed and Senator Mobina Jaffer.
The museum is scheduled to open in 2013 near Don Mills Rd. and Eglinton Ave.