Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

July 10, 2008 16:00 ET

Statement by the Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P., Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 10, 2008) -

I am pleased to join Canadian Ismailis, as well as Ismailis around the world, in marking the accession of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan as Imam of the Shi'a Ismaili Muslims.

Mowlana Hazar Imam has now led the Ismaili Muslims for more than half a century. During those years he has exerted a profound influence within his community and far beyond. Canada has greatly benefited from members of the Ismaili community who have made this country their home and who contribute to all aspects of Canadian life.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said, "We are proud to live in a country that embraces the many cultures and religions of the world. Our Government considers diversity to be one of this country's greatest assets, and we are committed to strengthening both our pluralism and our national unity."

I am pleased that the Government has a strong, long-standing relationship with Aga Khan Foundation Canada. This year marks the 25th anniversary of our collaboration. In Afghanistan, for example, the Foundation is a trusted partner of Canada in the effort to provide development, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to ensure a brighter future for that country.

Canada is providing $8 million to the Aga Khan Foundation Canada for its Girls Education Support Program in Afghanistan. The program is helping girls gain access to high-quality learning opportunities in secure and supportive learning environments. It is expected to benefit more than 100,000 girls and 4,600 teachers in close to 350 schools in Bamyan, Baghlan and Badakshan provinces in northern Afghanistan.

Canada is also contributing some $7 million to the Foundation's Afghanistan Community Renewal Program. Our assistance helps to identify, implement and sustain a number of projects that foster rural development and literacy. Together, these initiatives are making a significant difference in the lives of many Afghans.

We are also honoured that His Highness is establishing the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa and the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre in Toronto.

The Government of Canada is pleased to have a valued partner in the Aga Khan Foundation Canada.

As Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity), I extend sincere congratulations to His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan on the 51st anniversary of his accession as Imam. I encourage all Canadians to join in the Imamat Day celebrations and to learn more about the remarkable contributions of the Aga Khan and the Canadian Ismaili community.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.
    Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)
    Alykhan Velshi
    Director of Communications
    alykhan_velshi@pch.gc.ca