Ottawa, July 11, 2012 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement recognizing Khushiali (Imamat Day):
“Every year on this date, Ismailis in Canada and around the world celebrate the anniversary of the accession of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan as Imam of the Shi’a Ismaili Muslims. His Highness assumed the Imamat in 1957, exactly 55 years ago today.
“Canadians are privileged by our close connection with the Aga Khan and his important work. This may be best exemplified by the fact that His Highness is one of only five people in history to have ever been awarded honourary Canadian citizenship.
“Next year, the Aga Khan museum is scheduled to open in Toronto. It will house some of the most important works of Islamic Art in the world, and will serve as a great centre of culture and education.
“The Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa is another example of the Aga Khan’s visionary international leadership. This research and education centre, focused on deepening the world’s ability to understand and practice pluralism, was founded by His Highness, in collaboration with the Government of Canada. The Aga Khan picked Canada as home for this Centre because of our country’s great success as a pluralist society.
“Prime Minister Harper has praised the Aga Khan’s initiatives, noting that his ‘name has become synonymous with humanitarian aid and development in countries beset by conflict and poverty. Just as importantly, he has worked tirelessly as a bridge-builder between faiths and cultures.’
“Khushiali is a time of great celebration for the Ismaili community. It also offers all Canadians a chance to reflect on the extraordinary achievements of the Aga Khan, and on the contributions of Canadian Ismailis to our society.
“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I offer warm congratulations to His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan on the 55th anniversary of his accession as Imam, and sincere appreciation for his tremendous contributions to our country.