ASTANA (Kazakhstan): THE 6th Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions ended on Thursday, with a declaration on the role of religions in the modern context by delegates.
The declaration states that to resolve conflicts and ensure stability, continuous dialogues between religious leaders and political leaders, international organisations and civil society must be made. These include calling for negotiations to resolve military conflicts and rejecting the use of violence.
“We appeal to all people of faith and goodwill, to unite in these difficult times, and make responsible efforts to ensure peace and harmony on our planet,” stated the declaration.
“We express solidarity with all religious groups and ethnic communities that are exposed to violence and terror inflicted by extremists and terrorists.”
Delegates said platforms that brought religious and political leaders to the discussion table, such as the Peace Congress, could be effective in making the world a better place.
Interfaith Council of Russia Dmitry Safonov executive secretary said religions would play a crucial role in peace-building.
Mufti of Tajikistan Saidmukarram Abduqodirzoda echoed the same sentiment, stressing that extremism should not be associated with religions.
“Security and safety are elements of human rights. That is what Islam believes.
“The world should not confuse Islam with terrorism.
“Ours is a religion of peace and tolerance. We do not condone those who hijack religions to commit acts of terrorism and extremism,” he said.
Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, hosted the first Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions 15 years ago. The event has been held every three years since, and has witnessed an increase in the number of delegates and countries taking part.
“This is a gradual process. Delegates at the inaugural event disagreed on many issues. The situation has improved since, with more on agreeable terms. Many are talking about peace and cooperation. This is a big success, considering that the delegates represent different religions and faiths. It was hard to imagine all of them could sit together in 2003, and today, it has proven to be possible,” said Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev.
The declaration mentioned the importance of educating youth, which focus on religious tolerance, respect for family values, and preventing radicalisation of youth. It also includes a separate point that religious leaders are ready to support refugees.
“We support efforts to protect refugees, their rights and dignity, as well as providing them with all necessary assistance.”