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PM, Aga Khan open Ismaili centre - 2010-05-28

Friday, 2010, May 28
Toronto Sun
2010-05-28- Toronto - Aga Khan and Harper 02.jpg

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Aga Khan were in Toronto Friday at the foundation ceremony for the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum and Park

The Ismaili Centre will be a gathering place for prayer and a space for intellectual discourse while the museum will be an education project of the Aga Khan Development Network, which will gather, preserve and display artefacts symbolizing the heritage of Muslim civilizations.

The two centres will be joined by a park and are expected to be completed by 2013.

“Canada is honoured to have been chosen as the site for these important institutions,” Harper said.

“They will serve to promote pluralism, peace and tolerance through greater understanding of Islam. The museum and gorgeous gardens will be a stunning addition to Canada’s growing architecture. It will be a grand destination and will be a magnet to visitors from Canada and around the world and will promote pluralism, peace and knowledge.”

The Aga Khan said the new site will be a place of prayer and community.

“It will help people understand and embrace the power of human diversity. The museum will be a place for sharing stories through art and artefacts. Stories of love, loss and joy and it will have a strong education aspect,” he said.

Harper granted the Aga Khan an honorary citizenship, something only four others have received including Nelson Mandela and the current Dalai Lama.

The Aga Khan said he was honoured to accept the citizenship.

“I have always felt at home in Canada, but never more than this moment,” he said.

He is the spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims, of whom 70,000 live in Canada.


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