Islamic History Month – Profile: Dr. Ali Rajput
Ali Rajput grew up in Pakistan. He completed a neurology residency and obtained Master’s in Neurology at the University of Michigan. He joined the University of Saskatchewan Medical Faculty in 1967 and served as Professor and Head of Neurology
When Dr. Rajput arrived in Saskatchewan in 1967, there were very few Muslims in Saskatoon. He recalls, “The day I arrived, two other Muslims also arrived, but they left within couple of years. My guess is that there were close to dozen of us.”Dr. Rajput explains that the Islamic Association was formed by others including Dr. Ahmed El-Serafi in early 1970s who was an early member. “We used to hold Friday prayers at the University. The concept of a mosque was floated around the Islamic Association of Saskatoon but the cost was ten times more than we had in our account. The association had decided that we will not take mortgage for interest consideration. By the mid-1970s, I was convinced that we should have a mosque regardless of what sort of building. With fundraising and connections with the local community, we were able to secure a space by the late 1970s.”
Dr. Rajput notes that he has not held any executive position on the mosque’s board since early 1990’s to allow newcomer Muslims a position on it. He remains a mentor to the younger generation who come and start to settle in Saskatoon and seek both education and spiritual advice from him.
In 1968, Dr. Rajput started the Saskatchewan Movement Disorders Program, which is now widely known as the best program of this type in the world. He founded the Saskatchewan Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Movement Disorder Group of Canada, and played major role in founding the annual Telemiracle Saskatchewan. He has also served on several national and international committees, including Parkinson’s Disease Working Group of the World Health Organization.
Over the years, Dr. Rajput has received many major awards including the 2001 Morton Schulman Award from the Parkinson Society Canada for “…humanity and caring for his patients”, Spirit of the Royal University Hospital Award, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Officer of the Order of Canada, and Best Researcher Award University of Saskatchewan. In 2005 his work was chosen by the Saskatchewan Medical Association as one of the four most significant advances in Medicine in the 100-year history of this Province. He was chosen Physician of the Year and Citizen of the Year.
To this day, Dr. Ali Rajput remains an outstanding research professor and a contributing Muslim to Saskatchewan.