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Aga Khan

Aga Khan

Prince Shah Karim Al Hussain Aga Khan was born on December 13, 1936. He is the 49th and current Imam of Naziri Ismailism, a denomination of Ismailism within Shia Islam. He has held this position of Imam under the title of title of Aga Khan IV since 1957 when he succeeded his grandfather at the age of 20. The Naziri believe that Aga Khan is direct lineal descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Since his ascension in 1957, the Aga Khan has been involved in complex political and economic changes which has affected his Nizari ismaili followers, including the independence of African countries from colonial rule, expulsion of Asians from Uganda, the independence of Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan from the former Soviet Union and the continous turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Today, he engages in developping countries, especially those with large Ismaili communities, through his Aga Khan Development Network, of which he is founder and Chairman. It is one of the largest private development network in the world. This network runs Nation Media, which is based in Kenya and runs media in Eastern Africa – for example Mwananchi as the most popular newspaper in Tanzania. The network also works towards improvement of the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, and the promotion of private sector enterprise.

Besides his role as a spiritual leader and his role as philantropist, Aga Khan is a very secular business magnet with British citizenship - and one of the richest royals. Numbers on his wealth range from US $ 800 (Forbes, 2010) to around US $ 3 billion. Aga Khas been reportedly involved in different business ventures, including exclusive horse chairs. Amulti-million ollar horse-racing and breeding operation is believed to be one of the main course of Aga Khan’s income beyond donations by his followers. It remains unclear whether the Imam personally benefits from the donations, or just his philantropy.

While his supporters focus on the Harvad-educated Imam’s education to religion, philanthropy, and world peace, paparazzi frequently focuses on Aga Khan’s pesonal life – his marriages, divorce and extra marital affairs.

Media Companies / Groups
Media Outlets


Following organisations operate globally:


Aga Khan Academies


Aga Khan Agency for Habitat


Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance


Aga Khan Education Services


Aga Khan Foundation


Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development


Aga Khan Health Services


Aga Khan Trust for Culture


Aga Khan University


University of Central Asia


horse racing and breeding operations


luxury hotels

Family & Friends

Affiliated Interests Family Members Friends


Prime Minister to Canada. According to his own statements, "The Aga Khan has been a long-time family friend,". The Aga Khan’s relationship with the Trudeaus goes back to the 1970s when Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled Ismailis from his country. The Aga Khan called on then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to give his people a safe haven, and Canada took in 7,000 Ismailis. Since 2004, the Canadian government has sponsored 16 global development initiatives in partnership with the foundation, worth a total of more than $300 million.

Further Information


The Star (Jan 2017). 7 Things you wanted to know about the Aga Khan controversy. Accessed on Oct 24, 2018.

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