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Speech at the Motmar-al Alam Al-Islami World Muslim congress 1963-11-23

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Event - 1963-11-23
Saturday, 1963, November 23
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)

(On his way to the Philippines, His Royal Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan stopped at Karachi on 21st November 1963.
Motmar-al Alam Al-Islami World Muslim congress on the same day held a reception in honour of His Royal Highness which was attended by diplomatic heads of Muslim states at Karachi and others. Mr. Inamullah Khan, the Secretary General of the Motamar, in his address of welcome paid glowing tributes to the great services of the Aga Khans to the world of Islam. He also said, “We learn from reliable sources that Your Highness has in mind a big scheme of building up a beautiful and imposing mosque in some central place in Europe. We also learn that the mosque will serve as a Muslim Cultural and Community Centre for all the local and visiting Muslims. May we, in advance offer our congratulations and our good wishes for this noble proposal of yours.”

Following is the Reply to the Welcome Address :

Mr. Inanmullah Khan and Brothers in Islam,

It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I have accepted to be amongst you today.

I am particularly happy as during my last few years of travelling I have heard a great deal about the World Muslim Congress and the large and powerful organization which you have created. In fact, I believe, it is the largest international Muslim organization, and it is with particular happiness that I have come to meet you today.

You have spoken very warmly about my late Grandfather and myself, and I can assure you that the little I have been able to do for Islam in East Africa and elsewhere does not represent an iota of what I would like to have been able to achieve.

In your address, you have said, “It is no use just weeping over the impacts of Western or Communist influence on our peoples. As a living community, we must be prepared to meet the challenges of the times.” I am particularly sensitive to this attitude as I have always believed that many answers to the problems of the Muslims all over the world can be found in an energetic organized and sustained effort in self help.

In East Africa my late grandfather and myself have met on a pound to pound basis every donation which the Muslims of East Africa have made to the East African Muslim Welfare Society. We have worked only on the East African Coast, where as I believe the Muslim Congress can and should do a great deal more. However, like many other things, people need to be taught and encouraged to help themselves. It is in this line of thought that I submit a suggestion for your consideration – a suggestion which has given extremely successful results in the Western world and which I feel we can well adopt without endangering our identity.

The World Muslim Congress has branches all over the world. It is, therefore, in a unique position to teach the Muslims to help themselves, and as food for thought may I suggest that the World Muslim Congress should establish tax-exempt organizations wherever the Congress is in existence, and that perhaps these organisations should have a central body from which to direct their activities.

What would be the aim of the World Muslim Congress tax exempt organization? It would be to encourage the better-off Muslims in the various parts of the world to contribute to philanthropic causes, and to make the Muslims generally aware of the fact that most states have tax exemption laws if the funds are used for philanthropic purposes. In this way the World Muslim Congress would be in a strong position to help the Muslims improve their standards of education through better schools, better teachers and better studying conditions.

I can hardly think of one British or American University which does not have behind it a large philanthropic organization.

Here in Pakistan, the law allows certain philanthropic organisations to be tax exempt, and yet I feel so strongly that very little advantage has been taken from this possibility.

If the Congress were to bring forth to the Muslims a general awareness of these possibilities of philanthropic aid, perhaps even sponsor some of them, you can rest assured that my community would be happy and honoured to participate.

May I finish by saying that this is but an idea and after careful inspection it may turn out to be of little use, but if on the contrary it were to appear to be workable, what a boon to the Muslim cause all over the world.

Let me thank you again for your kindness in giving me this reception and assure you that I will follow your work and
progress with the very greatest interest and sympathy.

Thank you.

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