Blog entry by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff: A day of pride for Canada’s Ismailis - 2010-05-28
For the more than 70,000 Ismaili Muslims here in Canada, the foundation ceremony for the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre today is a fitting tribute to the man who has done so much to further our understanding of Islamic art and culture – and who continues to work tirelessly on humanitarian projects around the world.
This man is a visionary. Small wonder that he and Trudeau became so close over the years, a friendship that really began when Canada welcomed thousands of Ismaili Muslims fleeing Idi Amin’s Uganda back in 1972.
When the Aga Khan was asked why he’s chosen Toronto for the site of such a rich collection of artwork, he said that he has a great appreciation for our commitment to pluralism. So much so that one of his next projects will be the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa.
It is altogether fitting really that the Aga Khan receives honorary Canadian citizenship today. Seeing him beaming with that same pride you see at citizenship ceremonies across this country, it is a strong reminder of just what being a part of this country means for newcomers – like those Ismaili Muslims who came here almost four decades ago.
Hope. Possibility. The freedom of living in a country where all faiths are accorded dignity and respect.
He has said he views Canada as a “beacon to the world.” Now we can all look to his legacy for years to come as a beacon itself, bringing us together for a deeper understanding of the riches of Islamic culture and the contributions Ismaili Muslims have made here in Canada and around the world.