MONDAY, DECEMBER 13: His name is Karim al-Hussayni, but he’s better known as Aga Khan IV or His Highness Aga Khan. One of Islam’s core values is that each of the world’s 1 billion Muslims is directly responsible to God, so Muslims for the most part do not have worldwide religious leaders, like the pope for Catholics. However, the Aga Khan and his grandfather before him are regarded as spiritual leaders of a group within Shi’a Islam that accounts for about 20 million people. He’s sometimes called an imam, or religious model, for his people.
The Aga Khan is best known as a humanitarian and philanthropist. He has devoted his life to good works, which are recognized by Muslims and non-Muslims as models of compassionate relief and development.
Care to read a short biography of the Aga Khan? He is honored in Volume 2 of “Interfaith Heroes” by Daniel Buttry and the entire chapter on the Aga Khan’s life is published online. At the end of that story, you’ll find helpful links to find out more about his charitable work and about his particular group within Islam.
His work is followed in newspapers around the world, especially in newspapers serving Africa and Asia. For example, the Sunday Monitor, which is part of a highly respected newspaper group in eastern Africa, just reported on the Aga Khan’s latest prizes in architectural design. This international competition encourages helpful new directions in all forms of architecture affecting life in predominantly Muslim countries.