Published: September 22, 2006
International Herald Tribune
News Article
The Associated Press

Aga Khan sees no clash of civilization between Muslims and Christians

HYDERABAD, India 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.

"We are often told these days that tension and violence in much of the world grows out of some fundamental clash of civilizations especially a clash between the Islamic world and the West," he said. "I disagree with this assessment."

The institution in southern India will be part of a global network of 18 academies the Aga Khan Development Network is setting up in South Asia, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East at a cost of nearly US$1 billion (833 million), he said.

The academies, the Aga Khan said, would seek to remove ignorance through a broad study of various cultures. They will teach the history of Islam in parts of the world where it has been overlooked, he said.

"The answer lies in the expanding role of civil society," he said.

The Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam and traces his lineage directly from the Prophet Muhammad.

"Our curriculum will be designed to qualify students for the widely respected International Baccalaureate degree and beyond that for admissions to the very best university programs that may interest them," he said.

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