The Ismailis are few in number compared to other Muslims in the world, but their contribution, together with the contribution of other liberal Muslims, toward our understanding of what authentic Islam is about is invaluable. The same is true of the contributions of liberal Christians and liberal Jews in Canada and elsewhere.
The thing about Islam is that it's a package deal. There's the exquisite artwork featured in the Aga Khan's shmancy museum. At the same time, however, there's the jihad--both the violent and the stealth varieties--that serves authentic Islam's authentic, long-term goal of global supremacy. That so-called progressives, those narcissists with their rose-coloured spectacles, refuse to see the bad along with the beautiful is an authentic failing that builds flimsy bridges made of playing cards and/or toothpicks.Seen in this light, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto promises to become a vital force, not because it represents the majority of Muslims but because it stands for what’s best in Islam. It is bound to grow in importance in years to come in our understanding of this great world religion. Non-Muslims have every reason to wish the museum success in its sacred endeavor.
As for the Aga Khan, even a "liberal" Muslim like him fails to pass the litmus test of true tolerance--i.e. being able to tolerate the reality of a Jewish state and condemning those whose Charter calls for its obliteration. Here he is, for example, in 2006, sharing his thoughts on Hamas and his belief in its capacity to change with a skeptical Der Spiegel interviewer:
SPIEGEL: That means the West should deal with the radical Islamist Hamas as well?Aga Khan: You have to work with whoever the population has elected as long as they are willing to respect what I call cosmopolitan ethics. Now, it’s true that Hamas has a record of conflict ...The "cause" of Hamas's extremism is the jihad embedded in Islam's holy texts. How do you suggest we remove that, A.G.?
SPIEGEL: ... of outright terror ...
Aga Khan: ... but it would not be the only time that movements that have such a record make it into parliament, and even end up in charge of government later on. Can I remind you of Jomo Kenyatta and his Mau Mau movement in Kenya, for example, or the ANC in South Africa? Take away the causes of extremism and extremists can come back to a more reasonable political agenda. That change to me is one of the wonderful things about the human race.
No matter. One can't help but observe that, what with his comments on "change" being so "wonderful," the Aga Khan sounds positively Marmuresque.