CBC News Video: Inside the Aga Khan Museum|Peek inside the new museum before it opens on September 18

Directors Welcome main image

Photo: AKDN org

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Who are the Iraqi Kurds? —Research by PEW Research org plus video on the pluralistic and diverse Kurds throughout the History and other related information


In the continuing conflict in Iraq, Kurds frequently are mentioned alongside Iraq’s Sunni and Shia Muslim populations as one of the key groups involved in power struggles for which sharp religious divides have played a major part. But while the Kurds are a crucial part of Iraq’s political makeup, they are an ethnic group, not a distinct religious sect within Islam. Kurds are more appropriately compared to Arabs, the largest ethnic group in Iraq, or other regional ethnic groups such as Assyrians or Turkmen.

Much has been reported about the desire of many Kurds for greater autonomy or even independence from Baghdad. However, when it comes to religion, Kurds share a good deal in common with the Arab majority, especially Sunni Muslims.

Overall, Arabs represent 78% of Iraq’s population, while Kurds are 16% and other, smaller ethnic groups constitute the remainder, according to a 2011 Pew Research survey. In terms of religious sect, Iraqi Arabs are somewhat split: Our survey found that most said they were Shia Muslims (62%), but about three-in-ten identified themselves as Sunnis (30%) and 6% said they were “just Muslim.”

Nearly all Iraqi Kurds consider themselves Sunni Muslims. In our survey, 98% of Kurds in Iraq identified themselves as Sunnis and only 2% identified as Shias. (A small minority of Iraqi Kurds, including Yazidis, are not Muslims.) But being a Kurd does not necessarily mean alignment with a particular religious sect. In neighboring Iran, according to our data, Kurds were split about evenly between Sunnis and Shias.

Although recent conflicts in the region may have resulted in population shifts, our survey found that overall, Shia Arabs made up about half of Iraq’s population (49%), Sunni Arabs comprised about a quarter (24%) and Sunni Kurds were a somewhat smaller share (15%).  Other Muslims account for about 8% of Iraq’s population. Five percent of Iraq’s population does not identify as Muslim.

Read more on PEW Research org



Watch Video on ‘Who are the Kurds’ — The most tolerant, pluralistic and diverse people throughout the history 






Published on 3 May 2012

Who are the Kurds
There is a saying among the Kurds: “No friends but the mountains.” For, indeed, the world has scarcely noticed when century after century, conqueror after conqueror has driven these once nomadic tribes deep within their beloved mountains to preserve their culture, their language and their lives.

Hidden in the shadows of history, resistance against repression became the Kurdish way of life, until atrocities inflicted by a dictator named Saddam Hussein sent shock waves throughout the world causing people of ever nation to ask, “Who are the Kurds?”

For many, awareness arrived on ‘Bloody Friday’ in March of nineteen eighty-eight when Saddam dropped poisonous gas on the Kurdish city of Halabja killing five thousand within minutes, followed by seven thousand more as the bombing continued for days.

Halabja was not Saddam’s only chemical attack against Iraq’s Kurds, it was simply the worst, captured in all its horrific detail, making it a symbol of the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein.

Saddam tried to wipe Kurdish people from the face of the earth. The people in Kurdistan are so happy because of the liberation and because now they can live in peace and free.

NARRATOR: To trace the history of the Kurds, one must begin at the beginning — for it was here, in the land some believe was once the Garden of Eden, that this resilient ancient people first left their mark upon the world.

Nourished by the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, archeologists believe it was within this Cradle of Civilization that Kurdish ancestors first pioneered agriculture, animal husbandry, weaving, metal work and the making of pottery.

NARRATOR: For visitors, a trip through the land of the Kurds is a trip through Biblical history. The great prophets Nahum, Jonah, Habakkuk, and Daniel are all buried within the vast borders of what came to be known as Kurdistan.

The city of Amadiya still stands, marking the place many believe wise men known as magi began their journey to follow a great star that appeared in the sky.

As centuries passed, these tribes would fall to the forces of Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela…and later rise to their zenith as traders along the legendary Silk Road.
In time the Mongol hordes would make them prisoners…followed by the Ottomans who would make them princes.

But whether their occupiers were good or bad, killers or saints, the Kurds would learn to do what they must to survive.

At the end of World War I the Kurds were finally promised independence with the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of new nation-states. Instead, with the stroke of a pen, Kurdistan was parceled out among Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq.

Today, the world’s thirty million Kurds, equivalent to the population of Canada, make up the largest ethnic group in existence without a recognized state of their own.



A brief survey of The History of the Kurds — By Kendal NEZAN, President of the Kurdish Institute of Paris

Who Are the Kurds?

Brushing over a depiction of 25 centuries of history in half an hour is obviously a tough task. That means about one minute per century! In this quick skimming through 1 can limit myself to merely pointing out a few major landmards and mentioning facts likely to help in the understanding of the present situation of the Kurds. 1 hope the specialists present here won’t hold this approach of reducing and simplifying against me and, in response to questions raised during the discussion, I’d be happy to consider any aspect, which seems to you to have been insufficiently covered, in more depth.

The first question which comes to mind is that of the origins of the Kurds. Who are they? Where do they come from? Historians generally agree to consider them as belonging to the Iranian branch of the large family of Indo-European races. In prehistoric times, kingdoms called Mitanni, Kassites and Hourites reigned these mountainous areas, situated between the Iranian plateau and the Euphrates. In VII BC, the Medes, the Kurds’ equivalent of the Gauls for the French, founded an empire which, in 612 BC, conquered the powerful Assyria and spread its domination through the whole of Iran as well as central Anatolia. The date 612, is moreover, considered by Kurdish nationalists as the beginning of the 1st Kurdish year; for them we are at present in 2601!


Read more on http://www.institutkurde.org/en/institute/who_are_the_kurds.php


Kurds — on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


“Kurd” redirects here. For other uses, see Kurd (disambiguation).

کورد, Kurd

The Kurdish people, or Kurds (Kurdish: کورد, Kurd), are an ethnic group in Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which spans adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

They are an Iranian people and speak the Kurdish languages, which are members of the Iranian branch of Indo-European languages.[31] The Kurds number about 30 million, the majority living in West Asia, with significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Russia, Lebanon and, in recent decades, some European countries and the United States.

The Kurds are in the majority in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and are a significant minority group in the neighboring countries Turkey, Syria and Iran, where Kurdish nationalist movements continue to pursue (greater) autonomy.

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Said Nurs.jpgIhsannuriYashar.jpgSimko Sikaki.jpgMustafa Yamulki.jpg

Husni al-Zaiim.jpgMohamed Pasha Jaff.jpgOstad Elahi 1.jpgMustafa Barzani.jpg

Jalal Talabani.jpgMesud Barzani.jpgMuhsen Barazi.jpgZaro Agha. (ca. 1923-1939).jpg

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Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.jpgSaleh Muslim.jpgDilsa Demirbag-Sten.JPG

 (Click each image to learn more)

Read more on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdish_people




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Video: British Imams Condemn ISIS


Imams Online

Imams Online

Published on 11 July 2014

Over 100 British imams have come together to emphasise the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way.
“We are Muslims united against ISIS, against terrorism, against atrocity, against pain and suffering.”
For more information about Imams Online,
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New Aga Khan Museum will showcase Islamic art — CBC News Canada

The first museum in North America that will display only Islamic art will open to the public next month in Toronto.

The Aga Khan Museum’s permanent collection will be the Aga Khan’s personal family collection, which consists of about 1,000 pieces. That may sound small, but some of those artifacts are considered to be among the most significant in Islamic art history.

“I worked with three professional scholars in the field and they told me that, in their opinion, this was one of the most important pieces of Islamic art that I would ever see in my life,” Stephanie Allen, the museum’s chief registrar, told CBC News during a tour of the facility.


“Canada actually represented the best of the best when it comes to multiculturalism, diversity and even pluralism,” said Kim.


Read full on CBC News Canada



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Kampala: On the Road to Becoming a Comfortable City — World Bank org on Uganda’s Capital city

Kampala: A City on the Rise — World Bank video


  • The Kampala Institution Infrastructure Development Project has helped the Kampala City Council make much-needed repairs to the city and provide better services to those who live there

  • The $33.6 million project supported by the World Bank Group was designed to strengthen the city government both institutionally and fiscally

  • Progress includes improved drainage systems to reduce flooding, rehabilitated roads and the extension of the Kitezi Landfill

KAMPALA, August 19, 2014 – In 2010, Kampala City was in desperate need of repair. Many city roads were riddled with potholes, most of the street lights were not working, and local government corruption interfered with the resources necessary to improve the city’s infrastructure and delivery of services to its citizens.

With the support of the Kampala Institution Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP), the Kampala City Council was able to tackle those challenges and lay the foundation for a resilient, sustainable and organized city.

Jennifer Musisi, executive director of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), said it could have taken the city council a couple of years to achieve the infrastructure improvements had it not been for the KIIDP. The project also supported the efforts of the newly-created KCCA to improve the efficiency of the city council, she said.

The KIIDP, a three-year $33.6 million project supported by the World Bank Group, was designed to provide a more concentrated and comprehensive focus on institutional and fiscal strengthening of the city government.

“The APL was designed to support the KCC reform process and therefore phased its activities in a manner that was intended to focus on institutional strengthening in the first phase, to build a solid foundation for expanding the focus on infrastructure investments in later phases,” said Moustapha Ndiaye, country manager for Uganda.

The project had two sub-components, the institutional, and the infrastructure. Progress under the institutional component includes;

  • Supported the Organizational Development and Governance at KCCA that led to the development of a comprehensive approach to municipal development

  • Reduced overdue liabilities from Ushs 8 billion to Ushs 3 billion

  • Increased in the share of KCC own source revenue spent on service delivery from 10% to 30%

  • Increase in KCC own source revenue from Ushs 22 billion to Ushs 30 billion

  • Increased  public satisfaction in service delivery in the following areas: roads from 18% to 50%, drainage from 22% to 31%, and solid waste from 44% to 60%

The focus on institutional outcomes was also supported by the KIIDP APL triggers, such as a new operational organizational system, and the establishment and implementation a formal public consultation process.

Under the infrastructure component, the project supported activities aimed at improving the provision of critical services to the city in the five priority areas which were critical for public confidence and contributed to the economic and commercial development of the city, including drainage system improvement, traffic management, road maintenance and upgrading and solid waste management..

Under the drainage system improvement, the project supported increasing the capacity of the Lubigi primary channel to a total length of 4 km. With the construction of the channel, extreme flooding of the city has been reduced from over 3-4 days to just hours.

“By undertaking remedial measures on four tertiary drainage “black spots” in various parts of the city, there was remarkable reduced flooding with the expansion of the capacities and lining of Lubigi secondary channels from 3.6 km to 4 km,” said Charles Tumwebaze, the project coordinator.

On traffic management, Martin Onyach-Olaa, the WBG project task team leader, noted that traffic congestion in the city has been growing fast due to poor road network, uncontrolled junctions and insufficient road capacity.

“Out of the 1200 km of roads in the city, only about 300 km are paved, and a significant portion of the unpaved network is heavily trafficked with over 300 vehicles per day, Onyach-Olaa said. “In order to address those challenges, KIIDP supported the reconstruction of five major roads in the city.”

The KIIDP also focused on rehabilitating high priority infrastructure, which included the undertaking and maintenance of about 26km of selected tarmac roads and upgrading of about 14.42km of high priority gravel roads to bitumen standard The five roads that were found to be critical to maintaining the productivity and welfare of the city included: Ttula-kawempe road, Kimera – Kasubi road, Kalerwe – Kawempe road, Bukoto – Kisasi road and Soweto – Kasanga road.

“The upgrading of the five major roads led to improved traffic flow through provision of traffic management infrastructure such as guard rails, signs and the improvements in five junctions by providing localized widening and signalizing,” Tumwebaze said.

Under solid waste management, the project supported the extension of Kampala’s biggest landfill – the Kitezi Landfill.

“Kitezi landfill was almost full, but with the support from the World Bank, the landfill was extended by six acres in order to boost its capacity for another three years,” Tumwebaze said.

Source: The World Bank org

Kampala on Wikipedia

This article is about the city of Kampala. For Old Kampala, see Kampala Hill.

Kampala is the capital and largest city in Uganda. The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Lubaga Division. The city is coterminous with Kampala District.

Kampala in 2011
Kampala in 2011


1 Etymology

2 History

3 Features

4 City expansion

5 Transport

6 Climate

7 Demographics

8 Economy

9 Population

10 See also

11 References

12 External links

Read more on Wikipedia org


‘AKDN org’ on Uganda

“For two generations now, those who care about African development have been seeking an important key, searching for the best way to improve the quality of human life by advancing the pace of economic development. One of the most promising outcomes of that search was the creation of a new set of venture capital institutions � ready to invest in projects which traditional private investors were less likely to support.”

– HH the Aga Khan speaking at the Official Opening of the Kampala Serena Hotel (10 November 2006)

 Read more on Uganda:

Visit Aga Khan Development Network org on Uganda


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Meet the Mayors from around the world transforming their Cities —- Huffington Post com article’s list which includes Naheed Nenshi, Calgary Canada

In a blog post last year, Huffington Post Media Group President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote about mayors’ rising prominence in the U.S.

“In recent years, as Washington has sunk further into a swamp of dysfunction, local leaders are rising to meet many of the toughest challenges facing the country,” they said.

The trend is not only taking place on a national level — mayors around the world are transforming their cities with flair and enthusiasm. The WorldPost went on a tour around the world to present you with some of our favorite mayoral characters.


4. Naheed Nenshi (Calgary, Canada)

naheed nenshi

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi at the Hyatt Regency in Montreal on Sept. 22, 2011. (AFP Photo/Marie Laure Josselin)

When Naheed Nenshi was elected in 2010 as mayor of Calgary, Alberta, he became the first Muslim mayor of a major city in North America. This is all the more notable considering many view Calgary as Canada’s most conservative city. In an interview earlier this summer, Nenshi said that the topic of his background has rarely been raised by voters in Calgary, as they are much more interested in his plans for the city.

While Nenshi has faced significant opposition, such as from powerful real estate developers, he nonetheless landed the number two spot just behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper — in the 2013 list of Canada’s most powerful people from the news magazine Maclean’s.


Read full article and on other seven mayors on Huffington Post com


Also read:

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is one of 25 around the world up for award: Vote now – Every vote counts


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Putin underestimated German chancellor — Diário Económico – Portugal

This will be Merkel’s first visit to Ukraine since the start of the conflict. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

With her position on the Ukraine crisis and her sanction policy Angela Merkel has proven that she’s willing to pay for stability, the liberal business daily Diário Económico comments: “[Putin] badly miscalculated the mood and determination of Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, over the current crisis in Ukraine. … Mr Putin had expected the German Chancellor to resist taking any action that would seriously affect German exporters. He was wrong.


The sanctions package was driven by Berlin. Central to German policy, led by Ms Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, foreign minister, was determination to maintain a united European front. … Indeed, the Ukraine crisis accelerated a rethinking of German foreign policy. … In this case that means maintaining a steady stance against unilaterally altering agreed international borders, even if it means paying an economic price.” (19/08/2014)

» full article (external link, Portuguese)


Source: Euro Topics Net



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