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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Aga Khan, Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. PMO Photo by Adam Scotti.

Trudeau slammed for vacationing at resort owned by “supporter of Assad”

“Les musulmans du Quebec” (Quebec Muslims) slams prime minister Justin Trudeau for vacationing the end-of-year vacation at a resort owned by a “supporter” of Bashar Assad the President of Syria.

The Facebook group which has more than 9,400 members posted on January 6, 2017 the following (originally in French):

Thanks Trudeau for spending your vacation at Agha Khan, the donor for the criminal Bashar [Assad]. Ignorance has no place in government. Shame”

David Akin, the parliamentary bureau chief for the Sun chain of newspapers, revealed (National Post , January 6, 2017) that Trudeau, his family and a few friends spent the New Year as the guest of the Aga Khan on the religious leader’s private island in the Bahamas. Akin noted that the Aga Khan, who is the 49th Hereditary Imam of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, has been a friend of the Trudeau family for years, beginning with Pierre Trudeau and his Aga Khan Development Network recently received from Trudeau government $55 million grant over five years to improve maternal and child health in Afghanistan.

SANA, Syria’s official news agency, provides information on the close relations between the Aga Khan and Aga Khan Development Network and Assad regime. The following are excerpts from SANA’s reports:

10 June، 2014

His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Syria stressed Monday that the Syrians are able to practice constructive democracy and build Syria as they chose a national president [Bashar Assad] who will fulfill the aspirations of all Syrians.

In a statement on the occasion of President Bashar al-Assad’s winning the presidential elections held on June 3, the Council said that “Syria in this stage needs extraordinary efforts by all its people to build it on the bases of amity, reconciliation, knowledge, justice and equality for reconstructing it and realizing peace and security.” The statement called for working together to rebuild the Homeland and restore its unity and prosperity.

November 16, 2016

[Syria’s] Minister of Tourism Bishir Yazaji on Wednesday discussed with Director General of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) Luis Monreal mechanisms for enhancing cooperation, developing prospects of cultural tourism, and protecting the cultural heritage in Syria.

October 30, 2016

[Syria’s] Tourism Minister Bishr Yazigi discussed on Sunday with resident representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Mohamed Saifo and AKDN legal director Ali Ismail means for developing cooperation between the two sides, particulary [sic] in the fields of training and tourism projects.

The two sides also discussed joint activities, with Yazigi lauding the AKDN’s efforts particularly the “Syria: A Living History” exhibition held at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto which opened on October 15 and will remain open until February 26, 2017.

August 21, 2016

[Syria’s] Health Ministry and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) signed on Thursday a MoU stipulating the establishment of health projects and programs in the fields of developing the diagnostic and therapeutic capacity of the health establishments and health care systems and promote health in society by supporting social initiatives…

AKDN Resident Representative in Syria Mohamed Saifo said that this is the third MoU between the AKDN and the Health Ministry, stressing on the AKDN’s keenness to cooperate with the Health Ministry to provide better health services for citizens.

July 27, 2016

[Syria’s] Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Ahmad al-Qadiri and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) signed a MoU on developing the agriculture sector and improving the livelihoods of those affected by the crisis in Syria…

AKDN Resident Representative in Syria Mohamed Saifo said the MoU aims at improving the agricultural production in small areas and with small amounts of water, indicating that the projects will serve farmers and help them save efforts and money.

May 19, 2016

The [Syrian] Ministry of Education and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) signed on Thursday a MoU that aims at framing the cooperation in the field of implementation of projects and programs to improve school environment…

The AKDN is a group of programs that aim at improving the living conditions and supporting economic, social and cultural development in a number of countries around the world, including Syria.

In November 2001, the Syrian government and AKDN signed a cooperation agreement for economic development and improving the quality of health and education services as well as for supporting development initiatives for the local community and cultural heritage protection.

December 7, 2014

[Syria’s] Ministry of Water Resources and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to execute a project for drawing drinking water from local sources to al-Salamiah city in Hama. The project is worth USD 1.5 million…

AKDN Resident Representative in Syria Mohamed Saifo said the network is committed to implementing the project on schedule and according to the approved technical specifications…

Trudeau calls Aga Khan a “mentor and friend”

Trudeau, who met in Ottawa on May 17, 2016 with Aga Khan, issued during the last year several statements acknowledging his close relationship with the Aga Khan and admiring his personality and international activity. The following are excerpts from Trudeau’s statements:

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Imamat Day” (July 11, 2016)

The values promoted by the Aga Khan—pluralism, compassion, inclusion, respect for diversity, and human rights—are those that we as Canadians hold dear, and we are honoured to call him a friend, and to host here in Canada both the Global Centre for Pluralism and the only Islamic Museum in North America—the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

On this day, we thank the Aga Khan for being a true humanitarian, and for inspiring us all to show more kindness and generosity of heart to others.

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan” (December 13, 2016)

Sophie and I offer our best wishes today to His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims…

He is a beacon of acceptance and compassion, and an inspiration to both his community and the world…

I am proud to call His Highness both a mentor and friend. He has shown time and time again that no matter our faith, where we were born, what colour is our skin, or what language we speak, we are equal members of this world.

Today, we salute the tremendous efforts that the Aga Khan has undertaken over his lifetime to help those most vulnerable, and wish him health and happiness on this special day.

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the birthday of his Highness the Aga Khan” (December 13, 2015)

Today, we celebrate the birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, who has dedicated his life to the promotion of peace, pluralism, and compassion around the world

have seen first-hand the Aga Khan’s commitment to the ideals of diversity and inclusion. As a nation, we are proud His Highness was granted honourary Canadian citizenship for the leadership he has shown to advance development, pluralism, and tolerance – values that are at the core of our national identity. The world needs champions of diversity and compassion

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About Jonathan D. Halevi

Jonathan D. Halevi
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is co-founder and editor of CIJnews and a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.

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