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Senate publishes a book on fifth inter-religious congress

The Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan published an illustrated book on the results of the Fifth Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions held on June 10-11 in Astana at the initiative of the President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The key topic of the event

The publication contains the speeches by recognized religious and political leaders who participated in the Congress. The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, the King of Jordan Abdullah II, the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö, Heads of the OSCE, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, ISESCO, representatives of the media, religious and community organizations attended the forum along with the leading representatives of world religions. The main topic for the discussion in Astana was “Dialogue of religious leaders and politicians in the name of peace and development”.

A complete set of the Congress’s materials, including the final Declaration, were made in the publication in Kazakh, Russian and English.

“As was obvious from the participants’ speeches, the need for communication between politicians and religious leaders in this new format has been long anticipated. President Nursultan Nazarbayev initiated this dialogue between religion and politics as contemporary civilization is no longer able to give a positive response to the challenges of inter-faith and religious-secular relations”, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Head of the Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, said in his address to readers.

“The religious summit in Astana revealed some common ground in the approaches of political and religious leaders to the most acute problems of our time. These coinciding positions were reflected in the Final Declaration, which has become a substantial yet unprecedented document not only in the 12-year history of the Forum, but also in the history of international events dedicated to the resolution of bloody conflicts”, Mr.Tokayev emphasized. According to the Speaker of the Senate “participants of the Congress expressed the belief that it is impossible to fight against radicalism using force alone; instead, we need to bring to the foreground education, religious literacy, the involvement of young people in an active social, political and economic life”.

Mr.Tokayev reminded that at the Congress' opening ceremony the Kazakh Leader formulated the “Five Appeals” reflecting the pain and hope of billions of people around the world. The ideas and proposals of the head of Kazakhstan have been supported by all participants of the Congress and have been included in the Declaration of the Forum. It is about cessation of military conflicts and declaring a truce, non-violent methods of resolving political conflicts and eliminating the chasm of mistrust between the major powers. The President has also called for an end of the use of media to incite sectarian strife, as well as joint efforts of religious and political leaders to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, the struggle with the consequences of natural and man-made disasters.

«Thus, the Congress of Religious Leaders has reached a new meaningful level, because the spiritual leaders cannot be limited to liturgy and preaching, but by virtue of their authority can participate in the solution of the most complex humankind problems. By adopting the Declaration, religious leaders have taken on a moral obligation to exert all force necessary for its implementation. This is the political significance of the Religious Summit in Astana», Mr.Tokayev emphasized. For its part, Kazakhstan is setting an example of tolerance and ethnic and cultural diversity and will continue its efforts to enhance this dialogue for the sake of global peace and development, the Speaker said.

The publication not only to talks about the content of the discussions and outcomes of the Congress, but also conveys the unusual atmosphere of the Astana meeting, embodied in the colorful illustrations. The book will a valuable material for anyone interested in issues of international politics, interfaith relations and interaction between cultures.

In addition, the publication is a solid basis for the further work of the Congress. The next meeting of the Secretariat of the Congress will take place in June 2016, on the eve of which Astana will host international conference “Religion against terrorism” with the participation of international parliamentarians, authoritative religious figures and experts in religious studies.

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