One of the dignitaries attending the inauguration of President Almazbek Atanbaev was His Highess Prince Karim, Aga Khan IV. He’s actually quite an important person here in Kyrgyzstan, but my guess is that if you asked the average man in the street, most of them would have little idea of who he is.
He is often known simply as the Aga Khan, which is an hereditary title, and he’s the fourth person to hold it. More importantly, he is the the 49th, and the current, Imam of the Shia Imami Nizari Ismaili Muslims, having succeeded his grandfather, Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, in 1957 at the age of 20. Upon taking the position of Imam, the Aga Khan stated that he intended to continue the work his grandfather had pursued in building modern institutions to improve the quality of life of the Ismaili community. Ever since his own inauguration, he has emphasized to his followers the importance of fostering positive relations among different ethnicities – something quite appropriate in contemporary Kyrgyzstan.
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