Wednesday September 08, 2004 -- Rajab 22, 1425 A.H.
Berlin: The Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community, urged the German ambassadors to try to stay one step ahead of developments in the Muslim world if they want to help prevent further conflict. "Predictability is probably the most serious thing the West has to deal with in the Islamic world today. If you do not understand the forces at play you cannot predict what is going to happen". Speaking at the 5th German Ambassadors Conference, the theme of which this year is, "The Future of the Near and Middle East," at the invitation of Joschka Fischer, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Aga Khan stressed the need to mutually reinforce democratic governance, pluralism and civil society in order to create an environment in which societies in developing countries could develop and prosper.
Emphasising the importance of stable and competent democratic governance, the Aga Khan highlighted that nearly forty per cent of UN member nations were failed democracies, and that these failures crossed much of the Muslim world, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa. "Democracy is fragile. It is susceptible to failure at any time, in any society." He added that there was a strong probability that numerous forms of democratic government in the Near and Middle East were likely to be tested in coming decades.