1000s celebrate Aga Khan

The arrival of the Aga Khan in Vancouver drew thousands of Shia Ismaili Muslims to BC Place on Saturday to celebrate their spiritual leader.

Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, the current Imam of Nizari Ismailism, is in Canada to celebrate 60 years in the position — his diamond jubilee. 

The Aga Khan is a hereditary spiritual leader and a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad. He's also one of six people in the world to be granted honorary Canadian citizenship — given as recognition of worldwide philanthropic efforts.

Khaleel Meghji is one of more than 5,000 volunteers who have spent months preparing for the Aga Khan's visit, and he told CTV "it's a really joyous occasion."

Another volunteer, Rahim Talib, said the Aga Khan “emphasizes the importance of living the values of the faith,” which he said include service, generosity and compassion.

“I think that those values have great impact on us not just as Canadians or as Ismailis, but as Ismaili-Canadians because those values are the values of Canada."

About 20,000 Shia Ismaili Muslims live in B.C.

- with files from CTV Vancouver

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