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His Highness the Aga Khan celebrates his 80th birthday today 2016-12-13

Tuesday, 2016, December 13
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On December 13, Ismaili Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan.

His Highness the Aga Khan became Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on July 11, 1957 at the age of 20, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan. He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter.

His Highness the Aga Khan, who was honored with the inaugural Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship in September this year, has dedicated his life’s work to improving living conditions for the world’s most vulnerable populations, and to fostering an understanding of the importance of pluralism to global harmony.

His Highness the Aga Khan is a multimillionaire, an enigmatic businessman, philanthropist, sport enthusiast and spiritual leader to almost 15 million Ismaili Muslims worldwide.

Metropolis magazine noted in 1997 that a man who belongs to both the East and West, the Aga Khan defies just about every Western stereotype of an Islamic religious leader.

British newspaper Metro writes today that “a man of few words, he gracefully bridges the gaps between the spiritual and the material; East and West; Muslim and Christian – which is no easy task for the best of us.”

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is the 49th and current spiritual leader of around 15 million Ismaili Muslims, who are scattered across 25 countries.

While most Ismailis live in African and Asian countries – there are sizable communities in Britain as well as the United States and Canada.

According to Forbes magazine, the Aga Khan is among the top 15 of the world’s wealthiest royals.

In 2017, the Aga Khan will have completed 60 years as leader of the Ismaili community, according to Metro.

Worldwide events and celebration will mark the beginning of his Diamond Jubilee in July 2017, with the celebrations continuing for the following 12 months. The Diamond Jubilee year will effectively be a celebration of the Aga Khan’s vision and tireless work.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), founded and chaired by His Highness, is active in 30 countries, including Tajikistan, and employs over 80,000 people. Its non-denominational agencies work in areas ranging from health and education to rural development, architecture, culture, economic sustainability and strengthening civil society.

The collective agencies work towards multiple causes – these include the elimination of global poverty and the advancement of the status of women, among others.

“And that’s not all. Worldwide, the Aga Khan’s name can be seen on a number of hospitals, schools and universities – each facility employing, assisting, treating and educating without discrimination,” Metro says.

Operating in Tajikistan since 1992, AKDN draws on a strong base of experience in working with mountain societies. It works in all regions of the country and employs over 3,500 people through its operations and investments.

Read more: http://news.tj/en/news/world/20161213/234277

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