THE DIVISIONS AROUND THE GLOBE cannot be addressed and bridged without mutual understanding.

More leaders must pursue knowledge and trying to understand others. If this happens perhaps the  21st century would be peaceful.

While conducting field work for Journey into Europe, I was struck by the importance of ILM, or Knowledge, in the Golden Age of Andulasia and the positive impact this legacy continues to have on Andulasians even today.

Consider the following examples of how knowledge was treasured not only by some of the Caliphs of the Golden Age of Andulusia, but by leaders from throughout the Mediterranean region and the Muslim world approximately a millennium ago.

As I wrote in  Journey into Europe, under the eighth-century rule of Abdur Rehman in Andulasia :  ''The main library of  Cordoba, was said to have 600,000 books and manuscripts at a time when the biggest library in Christian Europe, housed in Switzerland, had some 400.

There were seventy libraries in Cordoba alone.''

Alfonso X of Castile, who reigned in the thirteenth century , was known for specially protecting the scholars of his Kingdom, even exempting them and their books, along with any goods of theirs, from being tolled.

Imma in her time with us also remarked that Andulasia was defined by the ''respect of religious minorities, harmony, and peace.

There were no big wars at that time,  it was a very peaceful century, the tenth century.'' Sadly, the same cannot be said today.

If more of our senior leaders read pursue knowledge and seek understanding of others, perhaps the  21st century too can become a peaceful century.

It is not too late for us to learn from the past and consider changing our way.

The World Students Society thanks author,  Professor Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic studies at American University, Washington


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