The number of participants at the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions has been increasing from year to year. That is obvious if you look at the number of represented countries and participants of the fifth congress.
However, the most important part of this congress is an ability to reach a new level of interaction between different communities. The Astana congress is one of the world’s largest venues offering an opportunity for representatives of all religions to appeal with a statement that no true religion calls for killing people. There is no need to say how important such a statement is in our time.
Despite development, expansion in geography and the increasing number of denominations of the congress, the same one important fact remains stable: during two days of the congress, the leaders of religions are united to discuss issues of our time. They are united around a single and a general principle that might be briefly stated as ‘peace and harmony.’
The congress is a kind of kaleidoscope in which the palette of different persons, robes and hats are folded into one colourful picture, which reflects the diversity of the world. Through these figures, the idea of the Creator can be seen: fulfilling his mission in this world, every person should fight his evil inclination, to seek to purify the soul, to take care of their neighbours and to improve his surroundings physically and spiritually.
This kaleidoscope includes different denominations, each of which has its direction in faith, laws, customs and traditions. When public figures gather around the same table and talk about universal principles of morality and humanity, common people are able to see a beauty of colourful pictures and the greatness of the Creator. This helps to realise how selfish and distant from religion are the slogans and actions of today’s ‘fighters for the faith’ who, in order to achieve their own goals, have neglected religious laws and condemned thousands of people to death and suffering.
In combating terrorism, Kazakhstan has taken an important position in this ideological fight. Trying to ensure the security of its own citizens, the country provides an opportunity for all countries to join this process. Kazakhstan provides a productive platform for religions’ leaders to explain the difference between divine laws and teaching of terrorists, they distribute and follow, and a true religion.
The author is Chief Rabbi of the Republic of Kazakhstan.