All the Afghans should promptly resume an open and fraternal dialogue, thereby turning Islamic peace ethics into a national reality and putting an end to hatred and division… [My] heart overflows with sorrow from the very idea that Muslims are now fighting against Muslims (whereas) it is necessary to respect the sanctity of life.

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Interviewer: Itar-Tass in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

“All the Afghans should promptly resume an open and fraternal dialogue, thereby turning Islamic peace ethics into a national reality and putting an end to hatred and division,” [Ismaili] spiritual leader Aga Khan the Fourth said during a meeting with people from the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan and the Afghan representatives, who had arrived there from the neighbouring country.

Imam Aga Khan had spent one week in the republic at the invitation of President Emomali Rakhmonov and had toured the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomy, which has the biggest [Ismaili] community within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In his appeal to the Afghan spiritual leaders, who visited Badakhshan with the help of Russian border-guards, Aga Khan stated that:

(his) heart overflows with sorrow from the very idea that Muslims are now fighting against Muslims (whereas) it is necessary to respect the sanctity of life.

Aga Khan approved of the fact that peace was established all over Tajikistan. He also praised the successful agricultural reforms in the country and its economic rehabilitation with the help of his Development Organisation.

It is important to extend the experience of eliminating hatred and going over to constructive work and public prosperity to the territory of Afghanistan too (he noted).

Aga Khan told Itar-Tass on Tuesday that he regarded his visit to Tajikistan as a very successful and fruitful one. He made this statement after his final meeting with President Emomali Rakhmonov, during which the sides summed up the results of their co-operation and mapped out plans for the future.

Imam Aga Khan stressed that the progress achieved in the implementation of the programmes envisaged by the agreement on co-operation, which was signed during his first visit to the republic in 1995, “has surpassed all expectations”. This, in his opinion, gives ground for optimism and for the expansion of his Organisation’s programmes to develop the republic, to increase aid to it.

SOURCES

  • Between Conflicting Sides, Itar-Tass, 29 September 1998
  • Text (secondary source): ismaili.net

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