Astana (Fides Service) – At the end of the “First Congress of Leaders of the World and Traditional Religions” held from 23 to 24 September in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, the participants, representing the major religions of the world, issued a declaration in which they affirmed: “The promotion of the values of tolerance, truth, justice and love must be the aim of any religious teaching. Extremism terrorism and other forms of violence in the name of religion have nothing to do with genuine understanding of religion, but are a threat to human life and hence should be rejected”. The Congress was attended by a delegation from the Holy See led by Cardinal Jozef Tomko.
The declaration reads: “Interreligious dialogue is one of the key means of social development and the promotion of the wellbeing of all peoples, fostering tolerance, mutual understanding and harmony among different cultures and religions and operating to bring an end to conflicts and violence.”
“We are ready to strain every effort not to allow the use of religious differences as an instrument of hatred and discord, in order to save mankind from a global conflict of religions and cultures” the declaration affirms. The participants of this First Congress of Leaders of the World and Traditional Religions agreed to hold a congress at least every three years. Kazakhstan, having hosted the first congress, was asked to organise a secretariat and also to host the next Congress in its capital Astana. SL (Fides Service 26/9/2003 EM lines 21 Words: 280)