Prince Karim’s remarks on the recent cartoons depticting our Holy Prophet

I was reading this speech today and Prince Karim Aga Khan mentioned the problem and its solution so beautifully and wisely,

Extract of Speech made by Prince Karim Aga Khan on 12th February 2006 at the Evora University Symposium in Evora, Portugal.

…”An important goal of quality education is to equip each generation to participate effectively in what has been called “the great conversation” of our times. This means, on one hand, being unafraid of controversy. But it also means being sensitive to the values and outlooks of others.
This brings me back to the current headlines. For I must believe that it is ignorance which explains the publishing of those caricatures which have brought such pain to Islamic peoples. I note that the Danish journal where the controversy originated acknowledged, in a recent letter of apology, that it had never realized the sensitivities involved.

In this light, perhaps, the controversy can be described less as a clash of civilizations and more as a clash of ignorance. The alternative explanation would be that the offense was intended-in which case we would be confronted with evil of a different sort. But even to attribute the problem to ignorance is in no way to minimize its importance. In a pluralistic world, the consequences of ignorance can be profoundly damaging.

Perhaps, too, it is ignorance which has allowed so many participants in this discussion to confuse liberty with license -implying that the sheer absence of restraint on human impulse can constitute a sufficient moral framework. This is not to say that governments should censor offensive speech. Nor does the answer lie in violent words or violent actions. But I am suggesting that freedom of expression is an incomplete value unless it is used honorably, and that the obligations of citizenship in any society should include a commitment to informed and responsible expression.

If we can commit ourselves, on all sides, to that objective, then the current crisis could become an educational opportunity-an occasion for enhanced awareness and broadened perspectives.

Ignorance, arrogance, insensitivity-these attitudes rank high among the great public enemies of our time. And the educational enterprise, at its best, can be an effective antidote to all of them.”….

Read full speech at: http://www.akdn.org/speeches/2006Feb12.htm

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