Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 110

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin, Acting Speaker

The Late Dr. Aziz Khaki

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to a respected community leader, a dedicated human rights activist and a proud Muslim, Dr. Aziz Khaki.

Born and raised in Tanzania, Dr. Khaki devoted his entire life to bringing people from different communities together, binding them together with ties that would last for generations.

For Aziz Khaki, it did not matter if you were Shia or Sunni, if you were Muslim, Jewish or Christian, if you were male or female, Black or White. This was because Aziz was far more interested in the similarities and values that brought us together than the differences that set us apart.

Dr. Aziz Khaki’s vision of the world and of humanity was both broad and inclusive and was directly reflected in his work as an activist.

While in Africa, Aziz worked tirelessly for the betterment of the Muslim and general populations of the country. As the Secretary General of the Tanzania Welfare Society, he was instrumental in creating a Muslim secondary school system that made education possible for thousands of Africans, regardless of skin colour, religion or gender.

Upon immigrating to Canada, Aziz Khaki quickly became a respected community leader in my province of British Columbia, as he spearheaded interfaith dialogue with diverse faith communities from across the province as well as from across the nation.

Most notably, Aziz Khaki served as Vice-President of the Council of Muslim Communities of Canada as well as Vice-President of the Canadian Muslim Federation. In addition, Aziz was one of the founders of the International Development and Relief Foundation.

Honourable senators, Dr. Aziz Khaki truly embodied what it means to be a Canadian. Not only did he embrace and promote the Canadian identity, which is comprised of a mosaic of religions and cultures, he also helped build bridges between different communities that Canadians will proudly walk across for decades to come.

I have personally had the honour and privilege of getting to know Aziz Khaki, and I worked with him for many years. After observing the positive impact his work has had on both British Columbians and Canadians, I often describe Aziz Khaki as a quilt maker. For his entire life, Aziz Khaki has brought people from different communities, each one representing a unique piece of fabric, and stitched them together, binding them forever and creating a beautiful quilt.

Honourable senators, although Aziz Khaki passed away this summer shortly after celebrating his eighty-third birthday, the work he has done will continue to benefit British Columbians and Canadians for years to come. He will be sorely missed.