Aga Khan to open pluralism centre in Canada
1 hour, 48 minutes ago
The Aga Khan, billionaire spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, announced he planned to open a centre in Ottawa dedicated to promoting pluralism in developing countries.
The Global Centre for Pluralism, focused on research and education, would operate out of an old war museum just steps from the Canadian prime minister’s residence, he said in a statement.
The spiritual leader announced his foundaton’s long-term sublet from the government of Canada during an official visit to Ottawa, where he met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and top Canadian officials.
The heritage building on Sussex Drive has remained empty since a new war museum was opened last year.
“The rejection of pluralism is pervasive across the globe and plays a significant role in breeding destructive conflicts,” he said.
The Aga Khan, who has often articulated his desire to see Canada export its multicultural ideology, has some 75,000 followers in Canada.
“Canada has for many years been a beacon to the rest of the world for its commitment to pluralism and for its support for the multicultural richness and diversity of its peoples,” he said in April 2005 when plans for the centre were unveiled.
“Tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples’ cultures, social structures, values and faiths are now essential to the very survival of an interdependent world,” he said.
His Development Network (AKDN) has partnered with the Canadian International Development Agency on several projects in Africa and Asia, and is already building a museum in Toronto to showcase Islamic art.
Ottawa also contributed 30 million Canadian dollars (26.6 million US) to help establish the centre, the AKDN said.