Interviewer: You very bravely raise questions around pluralism within the community in suggesting “it is not clear whether and to what extent this pluralism can be reflected in the institutions of the Community” p. 152. You mention that the dominant elite who run the community institutions are mostly from East Africa. As an Iranian Ismaili, do you feel that other diverse groups that make up the community are marginalized or in some way neglected by the elite?
Daryoush Mohammad Poor: Pluralism articulated in an abstract sense does not always work out in practice in an ideal way. I think there are two elements to this discussion. One is whether leaders of the institutions deliberately marginalize people from other backgrounds or not. The second is how and under what circumstances this pluralistic contribution can be expanded. In the first case, in all countries, the community has leaders coming from its own background. Wherever community institutions are established they have their own local leaders. Then there is a higher level of administration which is at the Imamat delegation in Aiglemont. I think there is still some work to be done on this front, but the question then is about the second point I raised. Do we have competent leaders and highly qualified individuals from every background to be able to serve in those positions? I think this is the more serious question. This problem cannot be solved only by the Imam or the current high profile leaders of the community. Individual communities with different backgrounds should also invest for the future and build capacity. So, the bottom line, the way I see it, is how you build capacity in various communities. This is a shared responsibility. It cannot be completed by one single group or one actor only.
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Image: Portrait (Bill C-11, Section 29.21 http://bit.ly/1yRu6UZ)