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Congressional Record WELCOMING THE AGA KHAN TO TEXAS (Extensions of Remarks - March 19, 2018)

Monday, 2018, March 19
Gov. Greg Abbot meets with His Highness the Aga Khan (Farhez Rayani/sumitted photo) 2018-03-19

rom the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




of texas

in the house of representatives

Monday, March 19, 2018

115th Congress, 2nd Session
Issue: Vol. 164, No. 47 — Daily Edition

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to
recognize a man who has dedicated his life in service to humanity. It
is my pleasure to welcome His Highness the Aga Khan IV, the 49th
hereditary Imam of the world's 20 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims,
to my home state of Texas in celebration of his Diamond Jubilee.

The ethics of compassion and care, tolerance and equality,
selflessness and service center His Highness' deeply held belief in and
practice of the Muslim faith. Particularly in recent years, the Aga
Khan has pledged his voice to articulate the values of peace,
generosity and brotherhood that unquestionably compose the core of
Islam. He often says his obligations to his community and to humankind
are inseparable. This has driven the Aga Khan to call on us to
celebrate our differences of religion, culture, language and ethnicity
as evidence of humanity's great beauty. Our inherent diversity, he
says, should propel humankind to embrace pluralism.

Ismaili Muslims have a deep connection to Texas, the DFW Metroplex
and myself. For more than a decade, I have partnered with the Ismaili
Muslim community to host the Youth Summit and Diversity Dialogue, which
we held first in 2007 during the Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee. It brings
together students from my district with youth of all backgrounds to
think critically about the challenges we can address through global
citizenship. The program brings to light the positive impact young
Ismaili Muslims make on the world around them.

Alongside his role as Imam, the Aga Khan has established many global
humanitarian organizations, one of which is the Aga Khan Development
Network. The AKDN promotes human dignity and self-sustaining growth by
administering education and healthcare in many of the most impoverished
and isolated parts of the developing world. Three of the most
distinguished AKDN projects are the Aga Khan Academies, which offer
world-class educations to children in remote, school-deprived regions.

When I visited the Aga Khan Academy in Nairobi, Kenya in 2015, I was
emotionally struck by the undeniable love of humankind evident in the
AKDN's work to help those children reach their full potential. It
became clear to me that the driving force behind each of the Aga Khan's
endeavors is his desire to foster progress and peace through hope. For
hope, he says, is the most powerful source of human motivation.

It is this spirit, born of the example of the Aga Khan, which led
2,500 Ismaili Muslim volunteers to help their neighbors in Houston
recover from the devastation triggered by Hurricane Harvey last August.

For this selfless generosity, they were presented one of the five
Points of Light awards by the flve living former presidents. The
Ismaili Muslim community's response to the unsounded call of duty
exemplifies their unrelenting effort to serve humanity at large.

Mr. Speaker, His Highness the Aga Khan--through his work, rooted in
the Muslim faith--is a testament to Islam being a religion of both the
intellect and humility, of both tradition and progress. The celebration
of the Aga Khan's Diamond Jubilee is a monumental occasion for Ismaili
Muslims across the world. I wish to congratulate the American Ismaili
Muslim community and convey to His Highness the Aga Khan that he and
the values of tolerance, diversity and pluralism that Ismaili Muslims
uphold will always be welcome in the United States of America.

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