YOU HAVE INTEGRATED A MODERN OUTLOOK WITH RELIGION, DECLARED THE HEAD OF SENEGAL TO HIS HIGHNESS PRINCE KARIM AGA KHAN
This is a translation of the speech made by President Senghor when proposing the health of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan at the dinner given in his honour on Monday evening at the Presidential Palace, as reported in Dakar Matin, 20th March 1968.
We are particularly happy to receive you in Dakar on an official visit because you are a friend known to us for a long time, because you are a leader of the Muslim religion and finally because you are a modern gentleman.
Yes, it was ten years ago when first we knew you at Chantily. Already on leaving adolescence behind, you had the seriousness of a man called upon to bear responsibility. But you also had--and you have not lost it--"Smile of a Prince" of which Saint Exupery speaks, that smile which comprises all that is most important, that smile which is the expression of friendship.
However, that we are receiving you here officially and not just as a friend because you are an important leader of the Muslim religion. The members of your faith are counted in their millions. In a sense, therefore, Senegal is your home.
That we are honouring you as a religious leader above and beyond differences of sect and faith is because since culture has been for us the beginning and the end of development, religion as its highest expression must also be so.
What we admire in you above all is the fact not that you have a modernised religion but that you have been able to integrate a modern outlook with religion so that religion has been allowed its true role which is not merely to provide an all-embracing explanation of the universe but also to furnish the fundamental solutions of the problems which life poses us.
It does not surprise us that your renowned personality is so great in Africa, that heads of state everywhere south of the Sahara greet you as a friend and counsellor. Even before Independence, you were equal to your responsibilities as a religious leader. In our peaceful struggle to recover our liberty, you, though an Asian or rather because an Asian, were always at our side.
I know that Islam, a universal religion which preaches Brotherhood and equality overriding distinctions of race, caste and class has helped you here. But you also asked the member of your faith wherever they were to be found--and this again was long before Independence--to join us, to be 'Africans with Africans'. And once we had recovered our liberty, you recommended them to become active citizens of the countries which had given them hospitality. You have done more. Everywhere you have helped works of charity to flourish. You have done further. Whenever you could, you have favoured those productive investments which alone makes a modern state.
Prince, Tomorrow, you are going to leave us. We have but one regret, not to have received you as we would have wished. I do not talk of material things, I speak of feeling, of attentions, of Smiles, these things which constitute the truest hospitality.
Believe me, on leaving Senegal, you will leave behind only friends, only regrets and each time you have a occasion to visit us, you will be received as a great friend.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I call upon you to raise you glasses of drink to the health of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, to the prosperity of Ismaili Community, and to the co-operation of monotheistic religions throughout the world.
Courtesy; 'Ismailia Crescent' Dar es Salaam,
September 8, 1968.