August 13, 2019 – Dr. Omar Kassam, “Ismaili Religion and Culture”

Dr. Omar Kassam
Dentist and Educator

Dr. Omar Kassam was born in Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania. His ancestors came from Gujarat, India, and he is a member of the Ismaili community that has had a presence in East Africa since the mid 19th century.

Omar’s early education was in Tanzania, but he completed high school in the UK, and then went on to Kings College London and got his dental degree in 1977, training at Guy’s hospital. He has specialized in Cosmetic and Laser Dentistry which he currently practices in Vancouver as well as London, England. He has achieved Advanced Status and is a Master and Accredited Educator for The Academy of Laser Dentistry. He is a distinguished international speaker teaching in the field of laser dentistry and practice management.

Omar is a graduate of The International Waezin program in London. He has great passion for poetry- especially the work of Jalaluddin Rumi and the study of the esoterica. His interest lies in creating a balanced life with the importance of incorporating esoterica in our daily lives.

Omar is a true renaissance man. He is world renowned as a restorative dentist. But his true passions are world religions, the classics, poetry and Shakespeare. He has a deep knowledge of philosophy and multiple religions. He has a vast repertoire of poetry that he can recite from memory. His reading and knowledge covers an immense volume of cross- cultural literature, and religious knowledge.

The Ismailis are followers of the Aga Khan. Their basic tenets are: service to mankind, to live an honest and ethical life, to be generous, to educate oneself and earn, not just for the service of yourself, but to help others and to care for the needy, elderly and less fortunate.

His power point presentations are always very well received with a dynamic and engaging repertoire of poetry, qasidas and ginans woven into a wealth of knowledge on the subject of meditation and contemplation in our daily lives.

Omar has presented many programs across Canada, England and Portugal as part of the Heritage Lecture series as well as Jamati and leadership awareness and training programs these past few years. He has been involved in the Jamati institutions for over four decades in many different capacities. He has a particular interest in young people, as well as our elderly and the various challenges they face in an ever-changing and time-constrained world.

Omar lives in Vancouver with his wife, Dr. Shelly Kassam and their four sons.

If you are interested in reading more about the Ismaili religion and community, here is a list of books suggested by Omar:

– Inviting Silence by Gunilla Norris
– The Mind of God by Jay Lombard
– Who needs God by Rabbi Harold Khusner
– Sacred Web, journal of Tradition and Modernity editor Ali Lakhani
– Gods Undertaker by John Lennox

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