Aga Khan thanks Portugal for a ‘progressive partnership’


LISBON: Prince Karim Aga Khan has praised Portugal as a country of opportunity and has thanked the country for a “progressive partnership” with the Ismaili imamat.

He said this while addressing members of the Portuguese parliament. He was invited to speak at the Assembly of the Republic in Lisbon by its president Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues.

The address coincides with the global celebrations taking place in Lisbon commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of the Aga Khan, marking 60 years of his leadership as 49th spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

In his address to the parliament, he expressed gratitude to the Republic of Portugal and spoke of Portugal as a significant partner with the Ismaili imamat, one that shares a commitment to pluralism and embracing diversity. He described Portugal as a country of opportunity. He said that Portugal is “a country that seeks to honour both its past achievements and its future opportunities, to embrace both the gift of social stability and the promise of social progress.”

He also noted that the history of Ismaili engagement with Portugal stretches back many years, beginning when Ismailis settled in Portuguese Territories in India in the 17th century. He noted the warm welcome that Portugal offered almost half a century ago to Ismailis fleeing the Mozambiquan civil war. In reflecting upon the past, he also looked forward and considered the challenges that lie ahead, remarking “We know that the days ahead will be demanding ones, a time of profound global change.”

Members of his family who joined him for the address included his brother Prince Amyn, daughter Princess Zahra and her children Sara and Iliyan, son Prince Rahim with his wife Princess Salwa, and sons Prince Hussain and Prince Aly Muhammad.