Excerpt: Just as the above two events showed the diversity of political views, a third illustrated our religious pluralism, indeed diversity within diversity, among Canadian Muslims (over one million).
Last week, the Aga Khan was conferred an honourary Doctorate of Sacred Letters by Trinity College, established as an Anglican University in 1852 and which retains its university status within the U of T federation.
Adrienne Clarkson, former governor-general, Trinity alumna, said in her citation that the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims is “perhaps the only person in the world to whom everyone listens.”
Ismailis belong to a branch of Shiite Islam. A minority within a minority, they number about 14 million, including about 90,000 in Canada (40,000 in Toronto, 15,000 each in Vancouver and Calgary, 10,000 in Quebec and 5,000 in Edmonton). The first batch of 10,000 came to Canada in 1972 from Uganda when Idi Amin started expelling Asians.
“We did not realize then,” said Clarkson, “how important this injection of Ismailis to our national and civic life would be. Christians and Jews in this country share in the Abrahamic tradition of Islam and we have much to learn from Qur’anic teachings.”