— Aga Khan III 48th Imam of the Nizari Ismaili community 1877 - 1957
Context: Even a little knowledge of Islam will show that its religion is not only tolerant of other Faiths, but most respectful, and indeed, fully accepts the divine inspiration of all theistic Faiths that came before Islam. It does not only teach tolerance to its followers, but goes a step further and enjoins on them all to create the godly quality of "Hilm" that is, tolerance, forbearance, patience, calmness, and forgiveness. It is due to the spirit of tolerance of Islam that even the smallest Christian and Jewish minorities survived and kept all their doctrines during the thousand years of Muslim rule. Nothing like what happened to Muslims in Spain after the Christian conquest has ever happened to a non-Muslim Faith in any Islamic dominion. How, can Europeans be so ignorant as to have forgotten that in the first century of Islam the Khalifs ordered that all that was best in Greek and Roman cultures should be assimilated; that not only the philosophy, medicine and science of Greece, but its poetry and drama, were carefully translated into Arabic and were generally sought not only by the learned but also by the pious! The Muslim attitude towards the absorption of ideas was based on the principle of Islam which enjoins to acquire knowledge wherever available, and there is a well-known and authentic saying of the Prophet that "his followers should seek learning even if they have to go to China."
In response to an article in the TIMES, London, which had labelled Islam as an "intolerant" religion, and held it responsible for some of the problems of the Middle East.