Don Cayo , Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, November 24, 2008
The spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims says he sees real prospects for new bridges and better relations between Muslim states and the West.
The Aga Khan, touring Canada as part of his celebration of 50 years as Ismaili Muslim leader, said despite the West’s “failure” in Iraq and ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, there are reasons for hope.
One, he said, is growing acceptance on both sides of the divide for his urgent call to combat what Harvard professor Samuel Huntington dubbed “the clash of civilizations” and the Aga Khan terms “the clash of ignorance.”
This is what led to the present situation in Iraq, he said. It was “entirely predictable.”
Education is the key to better relations, he said.
On the Muslim side, he said this involves continuing his 50-year push for acceptance of pluralism and an end to insistence that tribal or ethnic insistence always trump the greater good.