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The Aga Khan’s Mughal Canada

The Aga Khan’s presence in Ottawa

Published June 18, 2019

In 2008, a memo about the Aga Khan III that had been sealed for 60 years was finally released (1). The memo was received by the British government from a Nazi agent after the war ended, when everything was seized and people were forced to confess. The 1942 memo states that in a prior meeting with Hitler, the Aga Khan pledged “to raise an army of 30,000 Arab troops to back a German occupation of Egypt, Syria and Palestine.” The memo about his grandfather’s dealings with Hitler was of course declared “baseless” by the current Aga Khan (2).

Nonetheless, it was reported around the world that the Aga Khan visited with Hitler at his secluded retreat on October 20, 1937 (3), followed by British royals two days later (4). At this point in time, Hitler had become openly aggressive towards the League of Nations, and suddenly its president was being hosted as a “special guest” at Hitler’s private resort. By then, most of the League members had openly abandoned the covenant and new territory was being charted (5).

According to the article above, the League of Nations was created in 1919 right after WW1 ended. The members had witnessed the suffering of many people during the war, and honestly seemed to have the right heart at the beginning. Their goals were to pursue peacekeeping efforts centered around discussion and disarmament. There were several disagreements in the world that the League helped to resolve peacefully. However, in the lead-up to WW2, the group found itself having less and less control of global affairs. This is when everyone began to abandon the failing League and further arm their nations.

The Aga Khan wasn’t the only Muslim leader who had met with Hitler. In November of 1941, after the war had been raging on for two years, Hitler met with the leader of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The Mufti very much wanted to assist in the effort to wage war against the Jews (6). When he met with Hitler, the two devised a plan for what would happen if Germany were to win the war. The Führer laid out his next steps for the war, speaking openly about what needed to happen before he would publicly declare the Mufti as his ally.

First, Hitler was planning on destroying the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe. Next, he wanted German forces to reach the southern exit from Caucasia. Once those conditions were met, his next goal would be to focus on the Jews in Palestine. They both agreed that that would be the correct time to publicly declare the Mufti the leader for that part of the plan, which of course never materialized. The Mufti did however have an impact on Nazi Germany’s “Arabic language propaganda” aimed at North Africa and the Middle East during World War II (7). He also had a special relationship with the Aga Khan, given his support for the All-India Muslim League (8).

Known simply as the Muslim League, the All-India Muslim League was a political party in British India that was founded in 1906 partly by the Aga Khan, who also became its first president (9). The Muslim League strongly advocated for the establishment of a Muslim nation-state in India. This successfully led to the partition of British India in 1947 and the creation of Pakistan, the only country in the world to have been created completely in the name of Islam (10). This move was resisted not only by the British themselves, but also by Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was bewildered by the prospect of dividing India and he repeatedly insisted that India’s Muslims and Hindus could co-exist (11). However, once it seemed impossible to avoid a partition, he famously fasted and visited conflicting areas, attempting to make the process peaceful (12). The main point here is that while the Aga Khan was pushing for united nations as president of the League of Nations, he was also pushing for dividing a nation with the Muslim League.

The division of India along religious lines did not happen peacefully (13), and the battle rages on even today in the disputed area of Kashmir (14). When the Muslim League was first created as a political party, the Indian government attempted to accommodate them. They added seats in congress that were only to be used by members of the Muslim League, and one of the first steps was a dispute about the number of seats. For his part, Aga Khan himself had to step in to convince the League that it was okay to get two less seats in congress in order to continue the plan (15). And since he broke the family’s 1300 year tradition and chose his grandson instead of his son to succeed him, we can be sure that his plan is continuing to play out today (16).

What does this history lesson have to do with Canada?

When the All-India Muslim League was busy converting the people of India to Islam, there were a number of steps that were taken. First, as described above, they founded a political party to gain control of the government. In Canada, we see that the Aga Khan is very actively involved with the Canadian government, and receives millions of dollars in support for various initiatives, most of which are not in Canada (17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26). There is even an added concern here that the money that is given to the Aga Khan primarily focuses on specifically helping his Ismaili communities, as he stated in 2015 (27):

I, as Imam of the Ismailis, have responsibility for and supreme authority over the community. This means taking the lead in the practice of the religion but also engaging in ongoing activities to improve the Ismailis’ quality of life and to help every Ismaili in the world who is in difficulties. It is true that today the role of the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, is to interpret Islam.

What does he mean when he says that his role is to “interpret Islam”? It sounds very much like he can tell his followers whatever he wants! This is why some Muslim groups do not even consider him to be a Muslim (28)(29). Although he denies this, many of his followers actually believe him to be the embodiment of his god (30)(31)! Considering that his son is sometimes referred to as “the son of god” or even jokingly called Jesus (32), the question definitely remains.

Another trait that is criticized by some Muslims is the fact that the Aga Khan, like his grandfather and father, have been known to be “playboys” (33)(34)(35). There is a similar trend in their taste in women: the family seems to prefer beautiful white women who are either royals, models, or Hollywood stars (36)(37)(38)(39). They get converted to Islam and are given new names (40)(41)(42)(43).

The Aga Khan’s 1969 wedding photograph

The Aga Khan has a huge fan in Adrienne Clarkson, Canada’s former Governor-General. There were multiple events she attended to honour him, some of which were also attended by Stephen Harper, Kathleen Wynne, and Toronto mayor John Tory (44). In an article in 2018, she gushed about the Aga Khan’s “special relationship” with Canada (45). Not surprisingly, she appointed him Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour, during her term. She is also a board-member of one of his government-funded Canadian projects, The Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa.

Perhaps one of the most interesting comments Clarkson has made about the Aga Khan also proves one of the main points of this article: She “best described the influence of the Aga Khan when suggesting that he is ‘perhaps the only person in the world to whom everyone listens (46)’”. There you have it!

On top of the Aga Khan’s involvement with the Canadian government, there are other Islamic groups attempting to influence our government. One of them is the prospective Islamic Party of Ontario, that claims among other things that Islam is the “native religion of all of Canada” and that Canada should be under Sharia Law (47).

The other group that has “good relations with the government” is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This group is a particular danger for Canada because they “view themselves as leading the propagation and renaissance of Islam”, especially in the Western World (48). In 2014, the group sponsored an event about the Aga Khan called “Islam and Authority in the Global World (49).”

Missionaries such as the Ahmadiyya and Sufi have been pivotal in the conversion of people to Islam. When the last Buddhist empire in India fell, the goal was to establish Muslim empires (50):

The Early Medieval period (642–1219 CE) witnessed the spread of Islam in the region. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam. These developments set the stage for the rule of several successive Muslim empires in the region, including the Ghaznavid Empire (975–1187 CE), the Ghorid Kingdom, and the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE). The Lodi dynasty, the last of the Delhi Sultanate, was replaced by the Mughal Empire (1526–1857 CE).

This tells us that shortly after Mohammad’s death in 632, Islam began to invade India after Arabia had been conquered (51). It also tells us that all of the empires boiled down to one final successor: the Mughal Empire. One of the first steps that was taken once areas came under the control of the Mughals was to destroy buildings and monuments from other cultures and empires to replace everything with Mughal structures, buildings, and gardens. This was done to make a “statement” about who was in control of the region, as they were “emblems of power and wealth (52).”

Despite the claim that some of the Mughal rulers were tolerant of indigenous religions, it appears that overall, this was not the norm. There exists many accounts of Mughal brutality towards Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jainists (53)(54)(55). The extent of the bloodshed and cruelty is beyond what is even imaginable, but the Mughal leaders were so proud of their treatment of their rivals that they nearly recorded everything; many of the sources are from the rulers’ own chroniclers. Along with the usual murder, looting, raping, and slave-taking, there was wide-spread use of torture. For example, there are reports of people being boiled alive in cauldrons or forced to wear their dismembered children as garlands. However, here we are, with politicians and others the world over who are actually praising Mughal architecture and culture, even here in Canada.

Guru Tegh Bahadur’s companions were boiled and sawed alive in front of him when he refused to accept Islam. They are said to have remained calm and steadfast in their faith.

We can gauge how much someone wants to revive this barbaric culture by how much praise is given specifically to Mughal ideas. Do people not understand that these buildings and gardens are symbolic of cultural domination? Or worse, do they actually think that promoting the return of the Mughals is what the world really needs? To find out, it is necessary to investigate what our Canadian leaders are saying specifically about the magnificence of the murderous Mughals. Who praises these ideas the most?

The Taj Mahal and Mughal Architecture

Many Canadian politicians have visited the Taj Mahal, including Stephen Harper (56) and Justin Trudeau (57). This building was built during the “golden years” of the Mughal Empire in honour of a Mughal king’s favourite wife (58). It likely also exists because of the Mughal connection to Hinduism (59)(60). The building is still a sore spot between Indians and Muslims to this day (61)(62). Granted, just visiting the Taj in itself does not necessarily indicate that someone is glorifying the Mughal Empire. However, when a politician takes the extra step of also visiting and honouring Humayun’s Tomb, things get a little more conspicuous. The tomb is a great source of pride for the Aga Khan, since it was the first Mughal garden-tomb built in the Indian subcontinent and something he spent 6 years restoring (63).

When Alberta’s premier Jason Kenney visited Humayun’s Tomb in 2009, he did an interview with an Ismaili news outlet extensively praising it and its symbolism (64). Like many other politicians, Kenney has gone out of his way many other times to praise and honor the Khan throughout the years (65)(66)(67), and made a point to again visit the tomb in September 2018 (68). Between that and his 2009 interview, and his praise for Canada’s new Mughal garden (69)(70), it does not appear that Jason Kenney is on the side of Canadians when it comes to the Aga Khan. This is Kenney’s 2009 quote, suggesting that a revival of Islamic architecture and heritage is a good thing:

When this trip was being planned I asked Alykhan Velshi, my communications director, to see if we could fit in a visit to a place that would highlight some of the work the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has done and continues to do. Humayun’s Tomb is one perfect example of AKDN’s efforts to revive interest in Islamic architecture and heritage and to plan its programs so that a maximum number of people around a particular project can benefit from it.

It seems like Kenney might be an even bigger fan of the K than Adrienne Clarkson! Perhaps Alberta may be in grave danger of becoming the next seat of the Mughal empire. Not only does the premier have a history of revering this barbaric civilization and the Aga Khan himself, but he also credits himself for the drastic influx of refugees into rural Alberta (71). He even reiterated his desire to continue to do so (72)(73). On top of everything, the mayor of Calgary is one of the Aga Khan’s loyal Ismaili subjects, and a huge new mosque was built in Fort McMurray (74)(75)(76). This “multicultural” mosque, the Aga Khan Garden, and pluralism itself are all following the idea of the Aga Khan III: that you must build social capital before attempting to gain full political power (77).

Mughal Magnificence

It is no wonder that there should be concern about the symbolism of these buildings and gardens. Canada is home to one of the newest and most extravagant Islamic gardens in the world (78)(79). The Aga Khan Garden just opened last year on the University of Alberta campus, and was celebrated on Father’s Day, 2019. It has been praised countless times as being a wonderful example of Mughal architecture and culture (80). The other new garden is located in King’s Cross, London, where there even is a “terrace of discovery” featuring a throne that overlooks all of King’s Cross and the entire London skyline (81). The Aga Khan is working on restoring all of the historic Mughal gardens as well (82). These gardens are symbolic of creating an “Islamic paradise” (83):

The Mughals were obsessed with symbol [sic] and incorporated it into their gardens in many ways. The standard Quranic references to paradise were in the architecture, layout, and in the choice of plant life; but more secular references, including numerological and zodiacal significances connected to family history or other cultural significance, were often juxtaposed.

Clearly, the Aga Khan Gardens in Toronto and Alberta, and all of the other structures, buildings, and monuments that are popping up in Canada are here to usher in a new Mughal era. The Aga Khan museum in Toronto even kicked-off 2019 with a celebration called “Mughal Magnificence (84).” It sounds like the perfect timing for that event considering Canada now has two Islamic gardens, the Aga Khan museum, and large Ismaili centres in Toronto and Burnaby, BC (85). We also have the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, located in Canada’s first Dominion Archives building, which was built in 1905 as a symbol of Canada’s heritage and identity (86). The centre recently hosted an event acknowledging that there is a rise of discontent in Canada due to their relentless forcing of Islam upon us (87). Chrystia Freeland spoke at the event, which was actually called “The Rise of Popular Discontent and What We Can Do.”

Evidence suggests that during the partition of India, the Aga Khan and the Muslim League did not follow the example of anyone tolerant. Lahore, Pakistan, once the capital of the Mughal empire, became one of the most violent cities during the partition of India in 1947 because it was hotly contested by both Indians and Muslims (88). It became the site for both the declaration of Indian independence from the British, and the resolution calling for the creation of Pakistan. Accordingly, it became the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province upon the completion of the partition. It is hard to believe that other cultures and religions were tolerated and respected when this happened (89)(90):

Prior to the partition of India in 1947, a third of Lahore’s population was Hindu and Sikh. Lahore’s Hindus and Sikhs used to reside in ‘distinct enclaves’. The city’s Hindu and Sikh population left en masse during the partition and shifted to East Punjab and Delhi in India. In the process, Lahore lost its entire Hindu and Sikh population. The emigrants were replaced by Muslim refugees from India. Muslim refugees and locals competed for ownership over abandoned Hindu and Sikh property.

Today, Lahore is 96% Muslim, up from 60% in 1941. When the current Aga Khan is promoting the revival of Mughal culture, he either is following the example of the few Mughal leaders that promoted pacification of indigenous people in order to rule over them (91)(92), or the virtual elimination of them like what happened in Pakistan. Both options would obviously be bad for Canada. Will we see an “All-Canada Muslim League”?

Pakistan – Is this what pluralism looks like?

While K and his politician friends in Canada and the rest of world praise and glorify Mughal architecture and customs, there are ten of millions of people spinning in their graves. Whichever way you look at this, we can be sure that the Aga Khan is more important than Hitler, that the remnants of the Mughal Empire fell into British hands and then were handed directly to the Muslim League in 1947, and that the emphasis on all of the Mughal stuff in Canada and the rest of the world is to re-establish the empire for the last time. How many of our politicians are on board with this?

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