The lack of understanding of Islam’s diversity and external interventions is fueling religious conflict in some parts of the world.
This is according to His Highness the Aga Khan who was yesterday addressing a joint session of the Canadian parliament at the invitation of the Right Honorable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.
In his address the Aga Khan bemoaned the rise of extremism and intolerance in some parts of the world citing the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Nigeria, Myanmar, the Philippines and other countries
The spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, who is also Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development (AKDN)Network urged the West not to ignore the diversity of Islam and to communicate with both Sunni and Shia voices.
“It has increased massively in scope and intensity recently and has been further exacerbated by external interventions. In Pakistan and Malaysia, in Iraq and Syria, in Lebanon and Bahrain, in Yemen and Somalia and Afghanistan – it is becoming a disaster,” he said.
He also praised Canada’s efforts to reduce instability across the world and emphasized the role of strong civil society, education and good governance in fostering development of societies and in mitigating conflict.
Later in the day, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili and the Prime Minister signed The Protocol of Understanding, which aims to provide a clear framework and strategic direction for Canada’s multi-faceted and strong relations with the Ismaili Imamat.
It creates a formal dialogue process that allows for in-depth exchanges on countries and issues of common interest and seeks to solidify the important partnership that Canada has developed with the Aga Khan and his institutions over many years.