Tue, 08/29/2006 – 5:30pm
By: Letters to the Editor
A recent letter to the editor claimed that, “Muslims follow the direction of the imam (pastor), and he follows the direction of the head imam. He has called for a holy war (jihad), the total destruction of all Christians, Jews, and all other non-Muslims.”
However, there are 37 divisions of Islam and there is certainly no “head imam” who has called for a holy war.
The proposed mosque to be built on Ga. Highway 54 is being developed by the Aga Khan, who is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Aga Khan represents a branch of Shia Islam which is derived from the so-called “Seveners” who trace their beliefs back to what they believe to be the first seven imams.
They are distinct from the majority of Shias who trace beliefs back to 12 imams.
The Aga Khan heads the Ismaili faction of Seveners and, if you look at his Web site, I believe you will find that the Aga Khan, a graduate of Harvard, represents a most enlightened and modern version of Islam which is not threatening to either Christians or Jews and most certainly does not support a jihad against the West or Christianity.
I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with the Aga Khan at the Alhambra in Spain several years ago.
He had just returned from the Amu Darya River in Tajikistan where, after being denied an entry visa into Afghanistan, he had, at his own expense, hauled 30 tons of broadcasting equipment to the river bank in order to preach against and denounce the Taliban regime across the border in Afghanistan.
The Aga Kahn Foundation is world-renowned for its work in health, education, rural development and the environment, and the Aga Khan himself is one of the most influential proponents of modern Islamic architecture.
His construction projects are mainly focused in the poorest parts of Asia and Africa but include the Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization Program and the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center at Houston which he built after the 9/11 attacks.
The proposed mosque in Fayette County will almost certainly be a beautiful building architecturally and will just as certainly not be a place of political indoctrination where, as the previous letter writer wrote, “the hatred of Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslims will be taught, refined, and reinforced.”
Peachtree City, Ga.
Mr. Carter is the son of former President Jimmy Carter.