Peace, terrorism, tolerance take centre-stage at religious congress

Astana, June 11 (IANS) — The words terrorism, peace and tolerance reverberated throughout the final day of the two-day Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions that was held at the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation in this Kazakhstan capital Astana.

King Abdullah II of Jordan opened the last plenary session, noting that “we Muslims are facing attacks by outlawed people, who use our faith to try to justify horrible crimes”, Efe news agency reported

“Nothing can harm Muslims more than the actions of these elements who manipulate in the name of God,” the king said, adding that “it is important to understand that this is a minority as Muslims number more than 1.5 billion”.

“Every religion has its own devil, and we must recognise it,” he said.

The global refugee issue was addressed in the Jordanian king’s speech, in which he called for “international aid” and for “promoting a stable future for them”.

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier highlighted the need to continue dialogue through international bodies.

He also said that “extremism justified in religion is perverting religious concepts that are based on peace”.

Spain’s former foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, moderated the round table session, “Religion and Politics: New Trends and Prospects.”

He told Efe that there was “a unanimous condemnation of terrorism or extremism and the desire for a peaceful and prosperous coexistence” among Sunnis, Shias, Buddhists and Lutherans, among others attending the session.

“We must take action. We political and religious leaders must create the necessary elements to eliminate society’s frustration,” Moratinos said, noting the situation of the Palestinian people as an example of this frustration.

The role of media, especially digital media, was discussed as well.

The speakers stressed that “a headline can destroy coexistence”, although they acknowledged that the media can also unify cultures.

The congress, attended by 80 delegations from 42 countries, was closed by Kazakh President Nursultan Narzabayev, who announced the creation of a Museum of Peace in Astana and invited religious leaders to participate in the project.

He said the next religious congress would take place in 2018, thanked attendees for their participation and encouraged them to “go on developing dialogue to help create a better society”.

IANS 2015-06-11 21:12:10


Categories: Asia, Europe, Jordan, Kazakhstan

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