Will this make a difference?

The reclusive Aga Khan, who is known for his wealth and race horses is, in fact, the spiritual leader of the Ismalis, the world’s second largest Shiite Muslim sect. He spoke to reporters recently. The NPR report is here. I assume there was more than this little bit on NPR, but it is interesting what he had to say.

The Aga Khan began by saying that the West needs to learn more about Islam. To me, that was pap. His two next points were more interesting. First, he said that the answer is pluralism. It was an incredibly vague statement, since he didn’t identify examples of countries in which a lack of pluralism is a problem, nor did he name places where pluralism would be a solution. However, to the extent that, say, America is a pluralist society, and Saudi Arabia is not, I suspect he was tactfully addressing the latter and not the former.

If I’m correct in my understanding, his second comment, which was that Governments need to face political problems, can also be understood to be directed to repressive Arab regimes. I took his vaguely worded statements to mean that, if the Arab nations would extend greater rights to their citizens and create situations that would allow for oil wealth to benefit all citizens, many of the problems we’re now facing would go away.

I think it’s especially likely that the Aga Khan was addressing these prickly dictatorships precisely because his language was so vague. Nobody is ever vague when attacking America and the West. However, if you’ve learned anything from Danish newspapers, and Berlin opera companies, and Papal ruminations, it’s that you use allusion and indirection to speak to the radicals and their regimes, not clarity and forthrightness.

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  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    One of the reasons why Muslims need American force protections in order to reform. They can’t even speak out loud for the power’s sake, for fear they will get stoned to death in their sleep. People who are afraid of their heads being disconnected from their bodies will of course use allusion and indirect ploys. Only those with overwhelming force and power, those that have the US Marines on their side, may say what they like.

    Are they too proud to ask for help or to accept it from infidel Americans? Perhaps. As with the Japanese, they were too proud, too afraid of dishonor, to accept defeat. But that does not mean it is not in their best interest to do so. There’s two choices. They can sustain their honor, and fail in their duty to their people and family. Or they can throw away their honor, and accept the weight of duty.

    The decisions the Muslim world makes will have definite consequences. As the Japanese very well know to this day.