Russia and Kazakhstan’s contribution to inter-religious dialogue
By Vestnik Kavkaza
10 years ago the First Summit of the World and Traditional Religions took place in Astana. The capital of Kazakhstan became a traditional dialogue platform for representatives of world religions on acute questions of supporting and providing peace based on tolerance, mutual understanding, and cooperation. With the participation of state structures, leaders of the world and traditional religions have a wonderful opportunity to gather and think about answers to challenges which are common not only for religious communities, but also for most nations of the world.
The deputy chairman of the Kazakh Agency on Religious Affairs Marat Azilkhanov notes that there has been no such a universal forum before it. “In a decade the forum became an important dialogue platform. Heads of the world religions come to our capital once in three years. Astana welcomed delegations from all over the world four times. The obvious success of Kazakhstan and its leader’s initiative is representation and the high level of participants of the inter-religious forum. We are glad that the idea of Kazakhstan on holding the Astana Forum of Religious Leasers is supported by the Russian Federation.”
Representatives of Russia – Patriarch Kirill, Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, the chairman of the Spiritual Department of Muslims of the European Part of Russia, prominent religious and public figures took part in all four forums. The deputy chairman of the Spiritual Department of Muslims of the European Part of Russia Farid Asadulin stated that a delegation of the Council of Muftis of Russia took part in each of them. “The inter-religious dialogue has been in the center of the international society’s attention for many years,” Asadulin reminded. “2001 was announced the year of Dialogue between Civilizations by the General Assembly of the UN. The initiator of the idea which was supported by other world leaders was President of Iran Mohammad Hatami. The idea appeared to be so acute and fruitful that today there are various centers all over the world, which promote common values for all Abrahamic religions – Islam, Christianities, Judaism.”
Father Peter, president of the Russian Orthodox University and St. John the Evangelist Russian Orthodox Institute, believes that today it is necessary to teach people religion. “Because inter-religious communication is impossible without knowing our own religious traditions. If a Christian doesn’t know the Christian tradition, he cannot communicate with representatives of Islam, and vice versa. Today we have found out that the common problem for us is absence of a united anthology of religious culture. It concerns both Christianity and Islam. We lack canonical texts translated in Russian, showing depths of our theology. The revolution broke very interesting projects of translating in Russia of Fathers of the Church; and they are still non-translated. I believe this situation is true as well for Islam, Buddhism, Judaism. Such forums of the leaders of the world religions can contribute to establishing a international Eurasian editorial group for development of an anthology of the world religious cultures, which will enable us to have necessary texts for teaching our religious groups, for studying our religious traditions thoroughly,” Father Peter suggested.