Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Kazakhstan is a Center of Interconfessional Dialogue of the Modern World

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Kazakhstan is a Center of Interconfessional Dialogue  of the Modern World

The mutual understanding and consent in matters of religion is one of the main conditions of social and political stability in the modern world.
In this context, the main components of Kazakhstan’s model of interfaith relations are: liberal legislation, balanced policy in the field of religion, respect for the historical past and cultural traditions of the people of Kazakhstan, international events aimed at strengthening global security and the development of international cooperation.
As the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasized: «Our model of interreligious harmony is a real contribution of Kazakhstan to the global process of interaction of various faiths». At the same time, it is important to note that the history of independent state development of the Republic of Kazakhstan is only 27 years old, but in this short period RK became one of the leaders in global peacekeeping and integration initiatives, including the holding of regular Congresses of world and traditional leaders religions (Congresses).
To date, six such Congresses have been held in Kazakhstan: the First in 2003, the Second in 2006, the Third in 2009, the Fourth in 2012, and the Fifth in 2015. The Sixth conference was successfully completed on the October 11, 2018.
It should be noted that in Nazarbayev’s speech at the 66-th session of the United Nations General Assembly he proposed to hold the Fourth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions under the aegis of the United Nations. «This is our contribution to the global dialogue to build confidence on the planet», - he said.
Such a representative event brings together delegates from all over the world -adherents of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism and other religions, who jointly discuss the issues of freedom of religion and the role of religious leaders in strengthening international safety. The focus of attention of participants of these congresses are urgent issues of overcoming the spiritual crisis of mankind, uniting the efforts of world religions in order to solve all planetary conflicts. An indicator of the high effectiveness of the work of these congresses is the expansion of the number of influential international organizations and institutions participating in these forums, including the UN, OSCE, UNESCO, Organization of  Islamic Cooperation and etc.
The experience of Kazakhstan on the effective interaction of different religions is studied by international research centers, so in the international arena Kazakhstan is perceived as a territory of the world, an effective platform for dialogue and rapprochement of cultures and religions.
According to international analysts, historically Kazakhstan has always been a crossroads a meeting place and a dialogue of different religions, cultures and civilizations of the East and West. Inherited from the cultural and ethical traditions of the Kazakhs tolerance in the spiritual sphere is a good basis for the preservation of civil peace in the present and future.
During  the years of independence Kazakhstan has ensured absolute freedom of religious belief to all faiths: Muslims, Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Jews.
There has been a significant quantitative and qualitative growth of religious institutions. Today, according to the Agency for Religious Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the total number of religious associations in Kazakhstan representing 17 faiths is - 3,088 and in 1990 there were only 670. The number of Islamic associations increased from 46 to 2,229. The number of parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church has increased more than four times (from 62 to 280). The number of associations of the Roman Catholic Church has doubled (from 42 to 79). The number of Protestant churches, both traditional and new, has increased to almost 500.  In addition, there are 4 Jewish and 2 Buddhist religious associations. Religious holidays of Kurban Eid and Christmas are announced in Kazakhstan as days off.
It is in the above context that the well-known expert, the UN Special rapporteur Hainer Bielefeldt  in one of his speeches noted that Kazakhstan’s  society is distinguished by high religious pluralism and emphasized the commitment of the leadership of Kazakhstan to support and protect the established climate of stable interreligious coexistence in the country, including through the organization of interfaith dialogue at the central, regional and local levels.
The holding of the next VI-th Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions under the division «Religious Leaders for a Safe World» in Astana has enriched the international community with a new hope of avoiding the worst development, faith in the wisdom and responsibility of humanity.
As a result of the forum, the participants adopted a Joint Statement, which was another major step towards each other, an understanding of the exceptional importance of peace and harmony between religions, peoples and states.

Hadi Ahmad Bargasht can be reached at bargasht@mail.ru

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