NUR-SULTAN – Egypt’s Grand Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Anthony Sevryuk of Volokolamsk, and Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yosef stressed the importance of preserving spiritual, moral, and religious values in the post-pandemic world during the plenary session of the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions on Sept. 14.
The congress gathered participants from nearly 50 states, including representatives of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and other religions.
Speaking to the congress participants, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar said that religious brotherhood is a precondition for universal goodwill.
“The impending danger lies not in a different religion but in disbelief and insulting religion. This approach is detrimental and strips religion of its roots. I call for serious work to strengthen the values of all religions,” Grand Imam said.
According to El-Tayeb, today’s world suffers the terrible consequences of unforeseen changes in nature and climate that result in global warming, forest fires, increased floods and mudflows, the drying up of some rivers, and the mass extinction of living species.
“Humans trigger these disasters through poor intentions, collusion, and inattention to others,” he said.
Addressing the event participants, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Anthony Sevryuk of Volokolamsk said the pandemic revealed the world’s vulnerability and the importance of religion in society.
“Our task is to instruct people, console them and try to reconcile with God. Today’s global events are the consequences of indulging human vice,” he said.
According to Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yosef, religious leaders should exemplify compliance, rejection of bad habits, and mutual respect.
“The pandemic has strengthened people’s faith in God because people understood that everything depends on God,” said Yosef.
At the end of the official opening ceremony, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev awarded the Astana International Prize for Contribution to Interfaith Dialogue nominees with honorary medals.