China Daily
October 09,2002

Aga Khan plans Islamic art museum in Toronto

(October 09,2002 )(Agencies)

A development group headed by the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the world's estimated 15 million Ismaili Muslims, said on Tuesday it plans to set up a museum in Toronto to house valuable collections of Islamic art -- the first of its kind in the English-speaking world.

The Aga Khan Development Network, a group of eight development agencies that work mainly in Asia and Africa, said the museum will also include an academic and cultural center.

The museum is expected to house artefacts from renowned private collections including those of the Aga Khan and of the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London.

The Aga Khan said in a statement the museum will be dedicated to the traditions of the Muslim world, and will include ceramics, metalwork and paintings, covering all periods of Islamic history.

The collection will include manuscripts of Avicenna's Qanun fi'l Tibb -- The Canon of Medicine -- dated 1052.

"In situating these two institutions in Canada, we acknowledge both a tradition of tolerance and inclusiveness as well as an environment that has permitted diversity to flourish, enriching civic life of each individual and community that has sought to make this country its home," the Aga Khan said in a statement.

" It is to this commitment to pluralism that we will turn in seeking to make these institutions both a repository of heritage and a source of inspiration for societies the world over in the future."

The development network said the initiative on pluralism follows talks between the Aga Khan and Canadian leaders, including Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Canada is home to about 45,000 Ismaili Muslims, mainly located in Toronto and Vancouver.