RELI­GION VI­TAL IN RE­SOLV­ING CON­FLICTS

Congress de­clares di­a­logues be­tween re­li­gious, po­lit­i­cal heads can stop wars

New Straits Times - - NEWS -

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.”

PIC BY AH­MAD KUSHAIRI

Del­e­gates at the 6th Congress of the Lead­ers of World and Tra­di­tional Reli­gions adopt a com­mon stand to­wards en­sur­ing peace and se­cu­rity.

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