From The Ottawa Citizen. Its worth noting that Sussex Drive in Ottawa is the main street for important government buildings such as the Prime Ministers Residence (24 Sussex Dr.) The French Embassy and so on. Sussex Dr. already has lots of ‘Islamic links’ such as the Saudi Arabian embassy Kuwaiti and so on.
“It affirms our intent to share, within a western setting, the best of Islamic life and heritage,” he said. “It will be a site for robust dialogue, intellectual exchange and the forging of new partnerships” with the Canadian government, civil society and other international organizations.
Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, known as the Aga Khan, is the spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili muslims, who number more than 15 million worldwide.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, which will serve as his office in Canada, a conference centre and will be be home to the Aga Khan’s development agencies. The organization has partnership programs with CIDA and several Canadian universities.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Canadian government shares with the Aga Khan Development Network a commitment to “tolerance, compassion and community service.
“Social integration can occur without sacrificing cultural identity,” he said of the Ismaili community in Canada. “We are proving that there can be unity in diversity.”
Mr. Harper called the building an “architectural masterpiece,” adding that “the work that will develop here will help lift the darkness of poverty.”
The Aga Khan said his vision for the building was “a certain mystique, centred around the beautiful mysteries of rock crystal.” It was designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and it features a high, domed glass ceiling.
Guests at the opening ceremony included former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, members of Parliament, diplomats, representatives from the Ismaili community and heads of the Aga Khan network agencies.
The Aga Khan said the Ismaili community has had strong links to Canada since it provided refuge to Ismaili muslims when Idi Amin forced them to leave Uganda in the 1970s. He called Canada’s international leadership “thoughtful, empathetic and avoiding both intellectual pretensions and dogmatic simplifications.”