Beauty and Pluralism at the Ismaili Centre

Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, writes at Huffington Post’s Religion Blog.

Toronto’s New Jewel: Beauty and Pluralism at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto

Beauty and Pluralism at the Ismaili Centre, TorontoAncient and modern, traditional and forward-looking, stark and ornate, spiritual and practical: Contrasting adjectives aptly describe the brand-new Ismaili Centre in Toronto. Adjacent to the Centre, its white Brazilian granite façade reflected in pools of water, is a state-of-the-art museum. Both structures highlight the diversity and depth of Islamic history and culture and offer a place that serves both the global, diverse Ismaili Muslim community and the Toronto community at large. As the Aga Khan put it during the opening ceremonies, traditional elements of Muslim architecture are given a confident, forward-looking vocabulary. Perhaps its most striking feature is light, “symbolising the spirit of enlightenment that will always be at the heart of the Centre’s life.” It offers an important, inspiring, and all too rare vision of Islam.

I was privileged to be invited last weekend as part of a group of Americans, from various cities, to visit and learn about the Toronto Centre. It was a festive visit, organized by a solicitous and proud group of Ismaili community leaders in both Canada and the United States.

More Toronto’s New Jewel: Beauty and Pluralism at the Ismaili Centre | Katherine Marshall.

Katherine MarshallKatherine Marshall is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, where she leads the Center’s program on Religion and Global Development. After a long career in the development field, including several leadership positions at the World Bank, Marshall moved to Georgetown in 2006, where she also serves as a visiting professor in the School of Foreign Service. She helped to create and now serves as the executive director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

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Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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