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Aga Khan marks 60 years as leader of Ismaili Shiites

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CAIRO (AP) — The spiritual leader of the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam is opening a yearlong jubilee to mark his 60th anniversary leading the community with a call for greater respect for pluralism in the Islamic world and action to reduce poverty.

Throughout the Diamond Jubilee year that began Tuesday, the Aga Khan will launch new programs to alleviate poverty and increase access to financing for housing, education and childhood development. The Aga Khan Development Network operates in 30 countries leading health, education and infrastructure programs.

Born Prince Karim al-Husseini in Geneva, he succeeded his grandfather as Aga Khan on June 11, 1957, at the age of 20. He is the 49th Ismaili imam, a line that traces itself back to Islam's prophet, Muhammad.

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