Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 117
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on Sunday, May 5, 2002, a wide cross-section of residents of Vancouver’s North Shore joined the local Ismaili Muslim community to mark the tenth anniversary of the Headquarters Lion’s Gate Jamatkhana in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jamatkhana means “a place of worship and a place of community.” For Ismaili Muslims of North and West Vancouver, it is a place for prayer and reflection and also has space for social interaction, education, governance and intellectual search.
In 1982, His Highness the Aga Khan, on the occasion of the Foundation Ceremony of Burnaby Jamatkhana, the first purpose-built Jamatkhana in North America, stated that it would be:
…a place of congregation, of order, of peace, of hope, of humility, of brotherhood. From it should come forth those thoughts, those sentiments, and those attitudes which bind men together, which unite. It has been conceived and will exist in a mood of friendship, courtesy and harmony.
The award-winning architecture of the Headquarters Lion’s Gate Jamatkhana building reflects the Islamic ideals of balance and symmetry, as well as the dual dimensions of religious and social life.
At the tenth anniversary event, guests were addressed by Mr. Nazir Mulji, President of the Ismaili Council for British Columbia, his Worship Mayor Don Bell of the District of North Vancouver, and the Honourable Katherine Whittred, representing the Government of the Province of British Columbia. John Nuraney, the first Muslim MLA in British Columbia, was also present.
Pastor Richard Stetson, of the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, offered closing remarks and prayers. The church and the Jamatkhana are located side by side, sharing the same parking areas. Pastor Stetson spoke of the cooperation that has existed between both faith groups over the past 10 years. He emphasized that the common Abrahamic heritage that Christianity and Islam share is gaining a new profile among us, as we learn once again that respect for one another is essential in a multi-faith environment.
Honourable senators, events like the tenth anniversary celebration of the Headquarters Lion’s Gate Jamatkhana help to remind us of all the enrichment within our pluralistic society in Canada and that, indeed, we all share the same values of fostering mutual acceptance and of caring for one another in order to build better communities for all Canadians.