Articles - HH THE AGA KHAN VISITS INDIA - 2006-09-20
Clash of ignorance not clash of civilisations: Aga Khan
Prince Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili community, Friday rejected the notion that tension and violence in today's world was a result of clash of civilisations, especially between the Islamic world and the West.
'I disagree with this assessment. In my view it is a clash of ignorance which is to blame,' he told a gathering at the foundation laying ceremony of the Aga Khan Academy for Excellence in Education on the city outskirts.
The clash between the Islamic world and the west had its origins in "ignorance" that could be contained through a broad study of world cultures including Islamic civilisations, the Aga Khan, the spiritual head of Ismaili Muslims, said today.
"It is a clash of ignorances...There is a need to study and understand Muslim civilisations, a subject which is often overlooked in some parts of the world today," he told a gathering here after laying the foundation stone for the Aga Khan Academy in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district.
Ignorance and rejectionism lie at the heart of the conflict between the Western and the Islamic worlds, the Aga Khan, spiritual head of the world's more than 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, said.
Prince Karim Aga Khan urged a renewed effort to promote pluralism and tolerance through education, while also addressing festering political disputes and desperate poverty which have contributed to rising extremism.
Talking to a small group of journalists in New Delhi, he said the world was grappling with "a conflict of ignorance".
The Aga Khan, billionaire spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, has laid the foundation stone for a 50-million-dollar educational centre in southern India.
"The key to future progress in the developing world will be its ability to identify, to develop, and to retain expert and effective home-grown leadership," said the Aga Khan at the ceremony in Hyderabad.
"Too many of those who ought to be leading their communities in the hopeful world of tomorrow are being left behind in the real world of today."
Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, the spiritual leader of 20 million Ismaili Muslims around the world, on Friday said he didn't think that current global tensions have been caused by a clash of civilization between the Islamic world and Christians.
"In my view it's a clash of ignorance which is to blame," the Aga Khan said after laying the foundation stone of a US$50 million (€41.6 million) Aga Khan Academy for Excellence in Education in Hyderabad, the capital of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Islamic spiritual leader Aga Khan, who runs a large number of philanthropic institutions in India, on Wednesday met President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed developmental issues.
Khan, who is here on a four-day visit, also called on Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.
The spiritual leader is slated to meet Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha L K Advani and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today.
Aga Khan IV, the spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, on Wednesday called on President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed issues of mutual interest.
Aga Khan, the 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslims, also held a joint meeting with Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, his Minister of State Ajay Makan and Tourism Minister Ambika Soni.
The meeting with the Prime Minister held at Dr. Singh's 7 Race Course residence lasted over half-an-hour, officials said.
The 49th hereditary Imam of Shia Ismaili Muslims, Aga Khan met President APJ Abdul Kalam in the capital on Wednesday at the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Earlier, he met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
The spiritual leader, who is on a three day visit to India, has a host of programmes lined up in Delhi and Hyderabad.
Khan will meet the Vice- President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union ministers S Jaipal Reddy, Amibika Soni and Ajay Makan. He is also expected to meet President A P J Abdul Kalam.
Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual head of the Ismaili community and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Friday laid foundation stone for the Aga Khan Academy on the city outskirts.
The Aga Khan Development Network and Aga Khan Foundation are developing the Academy, an international school of excellence, at a cost of $50 million on 100 acres of land allotted by the state government at Kancha Imarat in Ranga Reddy district.