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24 September 2023 / 9. Rabi-Ul-Awwal 1445

Khoja Heritage Festival

Khoja Community: Past, Present and Future

O my son, even though I have not reached the age which those before me have, yet I looked into their behaviour and pondered upon the events of their lives.

(Nahj al-balagha, Letter no. 31)

The Khoja Heritage Festival is a community conference in collaboration among the Khoja Heritage Project of The World Federation of KSIMC and The Council of European Jamaats. Its focus is to stimulate a rigorous discourse pertaining to the adventurous past, affluent present and challenging future of the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Muslim Communities. The conference will be held at Al Zahra Centre in Watford on 06 & 07 April 2019. Schedule of both days can be found below.

The intriguing saga of the Khoja Community is skillfully interwoven by the elements of spirituality and cultural identity. The Community embraced the maddhab of Ahlul Bayt (as) in its quest for the true path (Satpanth) and retained the cultural identity to celebrate its distinctive heritage eventually adjusting within the larger Shia Muslim Community.

History serves as a model of who we are and what we are to be. We learn from our past in order to plan our future. History does not necessarily confine to narrate the ‘event occurred’ rather it invites the reader to relate to the ‘event lived’. It is deliberating on this method of reading history and its impact on the Khoja Community that this conference is primarily concerned. 

There will be several panel discussions on the community’s past, present and future. For example, Jaffer Manek will lead a discussion on ‘The Fate of Khoja Community and Courts of British India’. Sabira Lakha will discuss ‘Financial dignity for married women’, while Morgan Clarke and Ali Reza Bhojani will present a case study of what it means to follow the sharia in Khoja Shia Muslim communities of Europe. The conference is part of a larger endeavour aimed at fostering the appreciation of the heritage of the community. Read more about the paper submissions here.

During the two-day fun family event we will be holding:





Khoja Heritage Documanrty in Gujrati.

For catering purposes, please confirm your attendance to the event by completing the registration form here.

Daily Schedule:

6th April Saturday (29th Rajab)

12:00 to 13:30: Lunch, Salat and registration

13:30 to 13:45: Welcoming speeches CoEJ and WF

13:45 to 14:00 Launching exhibition (Dr Hasnain Walji) 


14:00 to 17:00 Seminar on Khoja Community: Past, Present and Future


14:00 to 15:30 First Panel: Past

Kumail Rajani: The Fate of Khoja Community and British Courts

Jaffer Manek: How it was 150 years ago and what is missing now for it to be as good again? 

Nazir Jessa: From Union to Council: Khoja Community of Europe


15:30 to 15:45 BREAK


15:45 to 17:15 Second Panel: Present


Hasnain Walji: Reading Sources, Shifting Narratives

Annie Shamsi & Farzana Hirji Karawalli: Evaluation of a Community Health Action Model for a UK Based Khoja Community: Has Inspirational Minds made a Difference?

Sabira Lakha: Financial dignity for married women


17:15 to 17:30 BREAK


17:30 to 19:00 Third panel: Future

Morgan Clarke & Ali Reza Bhojani: A case study of what it means to follow the sharia in Khoja Shia Muslim communities of Europe

Farhan Jamal: Khoja Voice

Sibtain Panjwani: Harnessing the power of Our Community: Integrating Mimbar with Madrasa and Family

19:00 to 19:54 Dinner

19:54 to 20:30 Salat

20:30 to 21:45 Screening the documentary on the history of the Khojas (Gujarati version) 



7th April Sunday (30th Rajab) 

10:00 to 10:30 KSI Community in Europe

10:00 to 10:30 Sibtain Panjwani


10:30 to 12:30 Capturing the history of the Khoja community in Europe


12:30 to 13:00 Exhibition


13:00 to 14:30 Salat and Lunch


14:30 to 16:30 Contd.. Capturing the history of the Khoja community in Europe


16:30 to 18:00 Youth Debate: Is culture an obstacle to religion?


18:00 to 18:30 Paanshop Polemics of Phua and Phida (Skit)


18:30 to 19:00 Closing remarks (Mahmood Hooda, Vice President of the CoEJ & Hasnain Walji, Chair of the Khoja Heritage Project of the WF)


18:30 to 20:00 Screening the documentary on the history of the Khojas (Repeated program)


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