RELIGIOUS LEADERS PRAISE PEACE AND ACCORD
Astana, June 1:
The 4th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions entitled “Peace
and Accord as a Choice of Mankind” took place in Astana on May 30-31 under the
chairmanship of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Congress
Muslims and Christians, Jews and Buddhists, as well as representatives of
Hinduism, Shintoism, and Zoroastrianism.
87 delegations from 40 countries, including leaders of religious confessions
and organizations, heads of state, politicians and public figures, members of
international organizations, as well as experts participated in the Congress.
Over 70 journalists from all over the world covered the event.
of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Secretary General of the Muslim
World League Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsin Al-Turki, Patriarch Kirill of
Moscow and All Russia, Special Envoy ofthe Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
and King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, Grand Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh
Ahmed al-Tayyib, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, General Secretary of
The Lutheran World Federation Martin Junge and others were among the
distinguished guests of the event.
Congress covered topics such as the role of religious leaders in achieving
sustainable development, religion and multiculturalism, religion and women, as
well as religion and youth.
his welcoming address, President Nursultan Nazarbayev highlighted that the 4th
Congress of Religious Leaders was held at a critical time for the whole world.
quality and quantitative growth of our forum is evident today. The Congress of
Leaders of World and Traditional Religions became a unique part of the
international dialogue. We appreciate the support rendered for the forum by the
UN, UNESCO, ISESCO and heads of a number of other international organizations,
outstanding politicians and public figures,” he said.
strong impetus for dialogue remains an in-demand trend in the modern global
processes despite all the difficulties in global development. I am confident
that the 4th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions will go
down in history as an important part of the global dialogue that leads the
humanity to finding fair world order in the 21st century,” he added.
the years of independence, Kazakhstan has managed to create a unique model of
interethnic and interfaith harmony, which is very well known and recognized in
the backdrop of interethnic and interfaith clashes that happen from time to
time in various parts of the world, this unique experience of Kazakhstan has
proven to be of interest at the global level. It is not by chance that Astana
has become a venue for convening religious leaders of the world community.
has always been an intersection, where various religions, cultures and
civilizations of the East and West meet. The basis of spiritual accord in
Kazakhstan is historically due to the open religious mentality of Kazakhstan
people, which is expressed in tolerance, flexibility and respectful attitude
toward the spiritual and cultural values of people of different nationalities
people and cultures can achieve peace only through dialogue and mutual consent.
“The President and people of Kazakhstan have succeeded in this. Kazakhstan’s
success in ensuring inter-confessional accord and tolerance is the example for
the whole world,” Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Amar said.
between religions are not so important as the mutual understanding and
tolerance, capacity to hurdle inter-confessional barriers and overcome
challenges of multicultural world. The Congress in Astana provides such an
opportunity as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has made a “new UN”
uniting not only nations, but also religions, cultures and societies with various
ideologies and world-view,” Amar concluded.
this regard, Kazakhstan with its multi-ethnic and multi-confessional population
drawn from both Asia and Europe is really an ideal candidate for the role of
mediator. Kazakhstan has sufficient authority and influence to maintain
contacts with all interested parties and seek solutions to the most complicated
issues. Moreover, representatives of different religions, who participated in
the Congress, expressed their support and importance of Kazakhstan’s initiative
to host such a Congress.
achieved success in promoting the ideology of dialogue of civilizations,
peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures in the international community,
Chairman of the Russian Muftis Council Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin stated at a press
conference in Astana.
the Chairman of the Council said, this is a great achievement of the people of
Kazakhstan and President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
at the same table sat the leaders of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism,
and other religions. They all say that we should contribute to maintaining
peace and stability in the world,” Ravil Gaynutdin noted.
Holy See supports the initiatives of mutual understanding and efforts on
sustainable development and respect for human being, example of which is the
Kazakh Religions' Congress,” Cardinal emeritus President of the Pontifical
Commission for Vatican City State and emeritus President of the Governorate of
Vatican City State Giovanni Lajolo said during the Congress.
conditions for peace are freedom, truth, love and justice. Peace is impossible
without free religion in a society, without respect for truth and perception of
the needs of others as our own, without respect for their rights and freedoms,”
Cardinal Lajolo said.
Governor of Vatican, who is also a member of the Council of Religious Leaders,
on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI conveyed warm greetings and wishes of peace and
good to the forum participants as well as all citizens of Kazakhstan.
the sidelines of the Congress, President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to
create a special commission under the Council of religious leaders with a
purpose of developing recommendations for the UN.
work on the establishment of a special commission, under the auspices of the
Council of religious leaders, which would develop recommendations to the UN and
to all concerned agencies and states on overcoming global problems and reducing
the conflict, seems possible,” President Nazarbayev said closing the Congress.
proposed to “broadcast experience” of the Congress in Astana at the level of
nation states, as well as separate regions distinguished by a rich
ethno-religious diversity and a high potential for conflict.
addition, Kazakhstan President suggested creating a common Internet Web-site
for all religions.
suggest launching an Internet-resource aimed for forming and enhancing the
global tolerance and trust. As an option, it could be made a part of the
general information portal of G-global. It is important that it would include
interactive meetings of the Council of Religious Leaders and the Secretariat of
our Congress, and regular online forums for a broad range of Internet-users. I
hope that you will support this suggestion,” Nursultan Nazarbayev said at the
plenary meeting of the Congress.
Nazarbayev closed the Congress, which took place at the Palace of Accord and
Peace, on May 31, thanking all participants of the religious forum for fruitful
would like to thank you all once again for coming here and being with us under
the Kazakhstan’s sky, praising the peace and accord in our country, mentioning
us in your prayers and wishing Kazakhstan people eternal prosperity,” he
emphasized at the closing ceremony in Astana.
the same day, Kazakhstan marked the Day of Remembrance. All the participants of
the Congress took part in the opening ceremony of a monument dedicated to the
victims of political repressions and famine of 1932-1933, visited the ALZHIR
museum located at the former concentration camp, as well as held a joint prayer
in memory of the victims.
Astana religious forum resulted in adopting an appeal by participants of the
4th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Full text of the
appeal is available at http://portal.mfa.kz/portal/page/portal/mfa/en/content/news/nws2012/2012-05-31.
to President Nazarbayev, the 5th Congress will be held in 2015.