On the Importance of Civic Space in Islam: The Aga Khan and the Prince of Persia – Suhayla (Leah) Wotherspoon
Last week, on May 28th, the spiritual leader of the world’s Shi’a Ismaili Muslims, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, visited Toronto with members of his family for the foundation ceremony of a new Ismaili Centre (a high profile prayer hall) and the first Aga Khan Museum for Islamic Art and Culture. The plan for the construction of this site in Don Mills, which includes what promises to be an exceptionally beautiful park, has been in the works for a number of years now, and is estimated to be completed in 2013. The Ismaili Imam’s visit to Canada was a doubly special occasion for the nation’s Ismaili Muslims, as the Imam was given by the Government of Canada honourary Canadian Citizenship, in recognition of a lifetime of work as the spiritual leader of the world’s Ismailis that has been in keeping with what were described by Stephen Harper as the very Canadian ideals of “pluralism, peace, and development“.
After years of litigation, Gurbaj Singh Multani, a Sikh student in a Montreal-area high school, wins his appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada and is allowed to wear his kirpan to school, provided it remains safely strapped to his body, beneath his clothing. Hérouxville, a small town in rural Quebec, passes a town charter that forbids, among other things, the stoning of women. A sugar shack closes its dance room temporarily so that Muslim patrons can pray. A YMCA in Montreal’s Rosemont neighbourhood frosts its windows after worshippers from the Orthodox Jewish synagogue across the street complain that the scantily clad women on the gym’s treadmills offend their religious sensibilities.
A Crisp Wednesday Afternoon on Campus
University students and free things apparently go hand-in-hand. Pizza is best. Or any kind of food really. But books, especially controversial ones, are guaranteed to attract a crowd. It was just this thinking that enticed throngs of students last week outside the University of Toronto’s Sid Smith Hall (and other campuses across North America).
– Would you like a free 150th anniversary copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species?”
— Indeed, I would.