Fifth Congress of World Religions:
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
The Congress of World Religious is a forum constantly working for interfaith and inter-ethnic harmony at global level and this initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is based on his vision that the future of our planet should not be the clash of civilizations, but co-operation of religions”.
Religion – is a progressive phenomenon. At the core of religion lies morality. Therefore, religion as a cultural and historical phenomenon remained relevant at all times. The question of human existence concerned the ancients and the religious subjects excite the contemporary. We can be confident that religion will continue to draw attention of future generations.
However in this age of rapid globalization the politics has become universally intertwined with religion. It imposes its vision of the world order on the latter. Hence the cultural integration processes become irrelevant without public understanding and initiatives of politicians.
The last few decades witnessed how the mankind came to need a profound rethinking of the contemporary events. At the same time we see the growing importance of leaders of the world and traditional religions in this complex process.
Inter-ethnic and inter-faith dialogues are imperative. Religion came to a crossroad of historical period. The conversation about the relationship between politics and religion – is in essence a discussion of a special and important part of the relationship between the individual and society. On the one hand, it invariably raises most intimate questions of each individual’s personal beliefs, attitudes and conscience. On the other hand – it inevitably reveals the qualitative characteristics of the society, the political system and its ability to guarantee the democratic rights of its citizens. It eliminates any legal and practical violation against freedom of consciousness, infringement of individual faiths, beliefs of the masses, and any use of personal beliefs and attitudes to the detriment of their carriers and the detriment of social progress. This touches the true principles of democracy and humanity of our society.
The dialogue among civilizations can prevent misunderstandings and contradictions in public consciousness. The first Congress of World and Traditional Religions took place in 2003 in Astana. It demonstrated the initiative of Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, met the International community’s understanding and support. The congress clearly defined where the religious sphere ended and the intrigues of political interests began. The murderous terrorists hiding behind religious rhetoric were unmasked with high argument. We have learned to distinguish between the true believers from the fanatical radical puppets of big politics, as well as to navigate the media, which, unfortunately, often identifies terrorist acts and extremist manifestations with religion.
This year will witness the Fifth Congress of World Religions in Astana. It may have already become traditional and yet it comes as timely as ever. After all, the world community is facing new threats and challenges. The global geopolitics experienced significant changes – local conflicts on religious grounds became more frequent, and there are many other issues that require optimal solutions.
The main theme of the upcoming forum will be “The dialogue of religious leaders and politicians in the name of peace and development”. This forum will bring together a record number of delegates — many prominent clerics and public figures have confirmed their participation, which reflects the added prestige of the event and Astana’s growing role as one of the main platforms for addressing these pressing issues.
Speaking of the congress we cannot fail to recall the words of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev that “the future of our planet should not be the clash of civilizations, but co-operation of religions”.
At the Astana Economic Forum in 2014, the Kazakhstan leader stated that: “Everyone started talking about the clash of civilizations, in which East and West can never meet eye-to-eye. That is an erroneous approach! We are all human beings on this earth. It is wrong to suggest that religions must always clash. I was a witness when the leaders of the world and traditional religions gathered here in Astana for their first congress. And I saw leading Iranian mullah and rabbi of Israel greeting each other, starting a dialogue, talking…”.
To summarize, we can be confident of the fact that this time the Astana Congress will oversee a similar pattern: representatives of various religions meeting under one dome and engaging in peaceful dialogue to solve the daily issues of humanity to preserve peace and tranquility of the world.