ALEPPO (Syria), Nov 7: The Aga Khan has called for freedom in the civilization debate. He was presiding over a presentation ceremony of the 8th Aga Khan Award for Architecture here on Wednesday.
He said: “Many Muslims today, of which I am one, carry with them a memory of the historical achievements of Islamic civilisation”, but, he asked, “what is the significance of this historical memory for the Ummah in the contemporary world?”
The master jury selected the following nine projects for the honour: New Life for Old Structures (Various locations, Iran); Ait Iktel (Abadou, Morocco), Barefoot Architects (Tilonia, India), Kahere Elia Poultry Farming School (Koliagbe, Guinea), Nubian Museum (Aswan, Egypt), SOS Children’s Village (Aqaba, Jordan), Olbia Social Centre (Antalya, Turkey), Bagh-i-Ferdowsi (Tehran, Iran) and Datai Hotel (Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia).
The Aga Khan said further: “If we find pride in our past, but are troubled by how it relates to the present and the future, what are our ways forward? “These challenges,” said he, “require careful thought and discussion within the Ummah.” He pleaded for debate in a way that “provides freedom for full exchange.”
Recalling “the power of Islam as a crucible for the spirit and the intellect, transcending boundaries of geography and culture”, the Aga Khan spoke of “the Muslim eagerness to learn and adapt and share and bequeath an enhanced understanding of man and the universe”.