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Thousands to celebrate Aga Khan over Vancouver visit

Last Updated May 5, 2018 at 8:07 am PDT

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Janet Austin and Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson greet Mawlana Hazar Imam upon his arrival in Vancouver. (Courtesy Aziz Dhamani, The Ismaili)

The Aga Khan is in Vancouver as part of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Canada

Thousands of people are expected at BC Place throughout the weekend to see the Aga Khan during his Vancouver visit

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Shia Ismaili Muslims are celebrating a huge milestone for their spiritual leader, with a visit from the Imam here in Vancouver.

The Aga Khan is marking 60 years in the position, and is expected to bring about 12,000 people to BC Place throughout the weekend.

Farouk Verjee — who is a past president of the Ismaili Council for Canada — calls the Aga Khan a “visionary leader.” He expects the Imam will talk about how he sees the future, with a focus on young people.

“For us to physically see the Imam is a great personal and spiritual sense of upliftment, there is a sense of community, of spiritual brotherhood.”

Verjee adds this may be the last time some elderly Muslims see the Imam, explaining that doing so is the greatest blessing someone can have.

“So it’s a force of inspiration, it’s a force of regenerating your commitment to the Imam, and as I said earlier on, to be model Muslims, you know.”

Verjee says that means leaving the world a better place than when you entered it.

Many people will consider seeing the Aga Khan a life-changing moment.

The spiritual leader’s stop in Vancouver is one of several across the country.

Verjee adds there are many projects across Canada that are legacies of past jubilees — like the Ismaili Centres in Toronto and Burnaby.