U of A, Princess Zahra Aga Khan open new pavilion in Aga Khan Backyard

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As Alberta’s Ismaili Muslim group commemorates 5 many years of historical past in Canada, many gathered at a ceremony Wednesday unveiling the ultimate piece of the Aga Khan Backyard.

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The Aga Khan, religious chief of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, gifted the $25-million backyard to the College of Alberta and it opened 4 years in the past within the U of A Botanic Backyard southwest of Edmonton. The design additionally contains the Diwan, or pavilion, which was only recently completed, including indoor gathering area. Further donors funded development of the Diwan to the tune of $5.5 million.

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Officers inaugurated the constructing Wednesday, with the Aga Khan’s daughter Princess Zahra Aga Khan in attendance as a part of a sequence of stops the household is making to mark 50 years since an inflow of Ismaili Muslims from Uganda arrived in Canada.

On the time, dictator Idi Amin expelled tens of hundreds of Ugandans of South Asian descent from the nation. After the Aga Khan requested then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau for assist, greater than 6,000 refugees had been welcomed to Canada.

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On Wednesday, the Aga Khan’s daughter was obtained by Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani, who herself was left a stateless particular person after her household was compelled from their dwelling in Kampala, Uganda.

Aga Khan Growth Community consultant Mahmoud Eboo stated the occasions are about expressing gratitude to Canada, whereas additionally showcasing the accomplishments of the Ismaili Muslim group and what’s nonetheless to come back.

“This was a rustic that in a second of disaster, a second of desperation, with open arms unconditionally stated, ‘We are going to take you,’ ” he stated.

“To really have a rustic say, ‘Come right here, this may by no means occur to you once more,’ is life-transforming.”

Eboo stated native leaders have additionally expressed a want to thank them, in return.

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Kenney additionally mirrored on how those that arrived 50 years in the past, and the generations after them, have contributed to Canada in return.

“Many, having misplaced every part in East Africa, coming right here having skilled the scars, bodily and psychological, of trauma, however who adopted the steering of (the Aga Khan) and his grandfather in being very intentional about turning into Canadians and discovering methods to present again,” he stated.

“And boy has this group given again once more, and once more, and once more.”

The brand new pavilion makes it attainable to host occasions within the Aga Khan Backyard year-round, with the addition of indoor area and a rooftop terrace the place folks can take within the backyard design. As a result of the college additionally rents out the constructing for features, it’s additionally a supply of revenue for the college.

Three corporations collaborated to design the constructing. Architect Taymoore Balbaa stated the area is supposed to be versatile, however detailed in a manner that ties it to the encompassing panorama.

Designer Arriz Hassam stated the constructing must be built-in into the encompassing fashionable Islamic backyard.

“The entire thought is that it resonates with what was already envisioned within the backyard,” he stated.

“A part of the mandate is the thought of inclusivity … the thought of a cultural assembly place, to have interaction and work together with totally different concepts.”

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