The acclaimed groundbreaking documentary AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE ends its East Africa tour on June 22nd in Nairobi!
Born into a world of wealth and privilege, he devotes his life to eliminating poverty and inequality. A religious leader who traces his ancestry back to the Prophet Muhammad, he struggles to balance the traditional with the modern.
For the past five decades, the Aga Khan has been the spiritual leader and Imam of the 15 million Ismaili Muslims in a world that has changed dramatically. From the end of colonialism and the expulsion of the Asians in Uganda to the fall of the Iron Curtain and 9/11, the Aga Khan has struggled for a common humanity in a divided world.
Securing a rare and exclusive interview with the Aga Khan in the year of his Golden Jubilee, Bill Cran (multiple Emmy-award winning Director) and Shamir Allibhai have completed a two-year passion project to make the first documentary on the Aga Khan in over forty-five years. At a time when Islam is at odds with itself and with the West, the Aga Khan represents a voice of moderation, speaking out for pluralism and diversity, and promoting dialogue between civilizations.
For many years now, we have heard commentators associating Islam with extremism and for many of us, those who are Muslim and even those who are not, we are concerned as to how the faith of over 1 billion people is being misinterpreted.
Some years ago, I heard a Muslim leader say, "Stand up... Speak openly and frankly about what is our interpretation of Islam. Speak about the fraternity and the peace and the respect that we wish from society and we wish to offer society. Speak of the discipline, of the humility, of the care that Islam teaches us." I believe he was speaking of the conscience of Islam and with his words in heart, I believed it was time to make a documentary about Muslims who respect religious pluralism and live by the principles of peace, tolerance, compassion, generosity, dialogue and forgiveness, above all else.
I also wanted to make a film about Muslim leadership, responding to what some have called an 'authority deficit' in the Muslim world. The image too often seen in newspapers, and on television, is that of ranting and raving, anti-Western clerics. But we hardly hear of progressive Muslim leaders who engage in quiet diplomacy, promote inclusive forms of development, and live exemplary lives in selfless service to others. This essentially is the story of His Highness the Aga Khan and the community of Muslims he leads, the Ismailis.
Last week, the film, AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis, which we started two years ago, involved production in nine countries all over the world, and is directed by multiple Emmy-award winning filmmaker Bill Cran and Jane Chablani, had its debut at Harvard University at the invite of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. We are very happy at how well our launch went with such a great turnout by many people of many different backgrounds.
People there ask if it was a relief to finally finish this project to which I responded, the journey of making the film has ended but now the journey of getting the film seen and distributed with all its messages begins. I hope you will join me by getting your friends and colleagues to watch the film and to help show the plurality of Islam and a side of peace and tolerance not too often covered in the mainstream media.