The story of the Aga Khan and the Ismailis. Who are they and how did they come to be? And what do they have to say in this ever-divided world? Shamir Allibhai's journey with AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis. Film website: http://www.agakhanfilm.org
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Important Date Change: Aga Khan Film in Africa
Those with tickets or on the wait list will still hold their positions. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your enthusiasm and support.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Aga Khan Film announces Presidential Bid in DC
Notes from the Capitol Hill Screening (May 20, '08):
Whenever I watch my film at a screening, I always have this fear that the DVD is going to skip or the player is going to malfunction in a meltdown! Then what am I going to do??! Do I apologize? Blame the organizer? The DVD manufacturer? Sit there shrinking in my seat? I decided that if it happened at the DC screening, I would just blame Bush as that seems to be going down well these days with everything.
Thankfully the film played smoothly and the screening went wonderfully! Thank you to Congresswoman Johnson and the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association for hosting the film. Big thanks to Illy for organizing, the panellists for participating, and the audiences for their support.
The panel discussion was with Dr Paul Heck, Professor at Georgetown in Islamic Studies, Dr Zahid Bukhari, Director of the America Muslim Studies Program at Georgetown, and myself. We got some interesting questions and one of them was:
How can businesses help with bridging these divides?
As we say in the film, the AKDN aspires to set an example that for-profit businesses can work in developing countries. For example, right now it is working with private equity firm Blackstone to build a dam in Uganda to increase the country’s electricity capacity. Interested businesses should consider working with the AKDN or similar organizations in what can be very fruitful private/NGO relationships. Making money is not bad. It is what one does with that extra money that can be good or bad. It is possible to make money and still benefit the country and its citizens. I think Grameen Bank has been a wonderful pioneer in this area of a for-profit which is positively impacting the society in which it is based.
At the end of the panel discussion, Congresswoman Johnson gave a heart-warming speech and Congressman Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, spoke energetically at the end for a few minutes. I will blog a follow-up to this in the next few days with more details of their speeches…
R to L: Congresswoman Johnson, Dr Bukhari, Dr Heck, and Shamir
Shamir thinking what he is going to say today...(especially if the DVD player konks out)
In town from Alberta, my friend Jamie (aka designated paparazzi for the day)
Yes, yes: I am totally posing!
"Yes we can!"
Congressman Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress giving a funny and thoughtful speech
“In the past 50 years, the Aga Khan has been recognized as a global figure who has worked to represent the social conscience of Islam. I deeply respect the philanthropic efforts of his Aga Khan Development Network,” Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said. “’An Islamic Conscience: The Aga Khan and the Ismailis’ is an impressive documentary.”
Thank you to Ilhaam "Illy" Jaffer, Congresswoman Johnson's assistant for all her hard work in pulling off the screening.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
More to come...
From Congresswoman Johnson
May 20, 2008
Documentary Screening: An Islamic Conscience
THE AGA KHAN and the Ismailis
I cordially invite you to a screening of An Islamic Conscience: THE AGA KHAN and the Ismailis documentary hosted by the Congressional Muslim Staff Association on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM in Longworth House Office Building, Room 1310.
For the past five decades, the Aga Khan has been the spiritual leader and Imam of the 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims in a world that has changed dramatically. From the end of colonialism and the expulsion of the Asians in Uganda to the fall of the Iron Curtain and 9/11, the Aga Khan has struggled for a common humanity in a divided world.
The groundbreaking documentary is 60 minutes long and looks at the Aga Khan and the Shia Ismailis for the first time through film. There will be a post-film panel discussion with the Producer Mr. Shamir Alibhai, Director of American-Muslim Studies at Georgetown University Dr. Zahid Bukhari and Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University Mr. Paul Heck. The discussion will be focused on the issue of pluralism in relation to Muslims and non-Muslims.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
AFRICA CONTINENT PREMIERE
We have some exciting news: we are launching the film in Africa at the end of the month!!
Many of you have been asking for a release there and we are happy to announce it has now come together. Reserve your FREE seat quickly for the May 28th Dar es Salaam screening as there are limited seats open to the public (details on securing your tickets below). We hope you can make it as we would love to see you there.
The acclaimed groundbreaking documentary AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE makes its
Africa debut in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on May 28th!
(UPDATE MAY 24, 2008: PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE FOR THE AFRICA PREMIERE: http://agakhanfilm.blogspot.com/2008/05/important-date-change-aga-khan-film-in.html)
AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: 7PM, May 28th, 2008
Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski - A very limited number of seats open to the public
Tickets: Free and to be reserved at http://agakhanfilmtanzania.eventbrite.com/
PLUS: After the film there will be a special panel and Q&A with Shamir Allibhai (Filmmaker & Harvard Master’s candidate).
Press enquiries: http://agakhanfilm.org/contact.asp
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Pictures from Stanford
Thursday, May 1, 2008
SF Screening and...Congresswoman Johnson to host screening on Capitol Hill!
Ismaili audience member - Question: Hazar Imam’s unique participation in this documentary must have been for certain reasons. What do you think they were?
Shamir - Answer: Generally speaking, no one participates in a documentary unless they believe in the vision of the endeavor and they see opportunity in it to further their objectives, whether it is communications objectives or others.
Q: Then that must come with obligations for all of us Ismailis with respect to our role and your documentary. What do you expect from the community?
A: That comes with obligations to limit and halt the Ismaili piracy! (chuckle)
And....As announced last night at the screening…
Congresswoman Bernice Eddie Johnson of Texas and the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association will be hosting a premiere of the Aga Khan Film on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, May 20th, 2008. WOW, we are so excited. The screening will be open to policy makers, diplomats, and the public. Feel free to share with all those you know.
AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE invited to be screened on Capitol Hill by hosts Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association
Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
2PM – Room 1310
Longworth House Office Building
**Tickets are FREE**
**Open to the Public**
Born into a world of wealth and privilege, he devotes his life to eliminating poverty and inequality. A religious leader who traces his ancestry back to the Prophet Muhammad, he struggles to balance the traditional with the modern.
For the past five decades, the Aga Khan has been the spiritual leader and Imam of the 15 million Ismaili Muslims in a world that has changed dramatically. From the end of colonialism and the expulsion of the Asians in Uganda to the fall of the Iron Curtain and 9/11, the Aga Khan has struggled for a common humanity in a divided world.
Securing a rare and exclusive interview with the Aga Khan and in the year of his Golden Jubilee, Bill Cran (multiple Emmy-award winning Director) and Shamir Allibhai have completed a two-year passion project to make the first documentary on the Aga Khan in over forty-five years.
At a time when Islam is at odds with itself and with the West, the Aga Khan represents a voice of moderation, speaking out for pluralism and diversity, and promoting dialogue between civilizations.
But will he be heard?