The Confessional World of Central Asia: State, Risks, Solutions


Today, November 26, 2020, in Nur-Sultan, on the eve of the Day of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, with the participation of the Ministry of Information and Social Development, the N. Nazarbayev Center for the Development of Interfaith and Intercivilizational Dialogue held the International Online Conference “The Confessional World of Central Asia: State, Risks, Solutions ”.

The event was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan Baurzhan Bakirov, Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Spiritual Board of Kazakhstan Naib Mufti Ershat Ongarov, Deputy Minister of Hajj, Leadership and Donations of Afghanistan Mohammad Osman Tariq, Secretary of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate for Interreligious Relations Russian Orthodox Churches, Priest Dimitri Safonov, Rector of the Egyptian University of Islamic Culture Nur-Mubarak Muhammad al-Shahkhat  al-Jindi, Chief Rabbi of Kazakhstan Yeshaya Kogen, Director of the ISESCO Center for Civilizational Dialogue Fateh Al-Rehman, General Director of the Institute for the Study of Islam of the International Islamic University of Islamabad Muhammad Zia Ul Haq, head of the department "Islamic studies and the study of Islamic civilization ICESCO" of the International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan Mirodil Khaidarov, researcher at the National Institute for Strategic Studies of Kyrgyzstan Kubanychbek Toktorbaev, as well as e representatives of the Kazakhstani expert and scientific community.

The purpose of the international conference is to comprehend the processes and trends in the confessional space of Central Asia, to assess the scale of complex contradictory and crisis situations in the region, as well as to overcome them from the point of view of religious leaders and scientists-researchers.

At the conference, the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs Baurzhan Bakirov made a speech on behalf of the Ministry of Information and Social Development, who informed the participants about the state-confessional policy of secular Kazakhstan, aimed at ensuring inter-religious and inter-confessional dialogue and harmony in society.

Religious figures from Afghanistan, Egypt, Russia, Pakistan and Kazakhstan expressed their opinions on a number of aspects of the religious situation in Central Asia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants pay special attention to the need to take measures to form an identity inherent in the religious consciousness and space of the countries of Central Asia. Among them are such common values ​​as the Hanafi cult school, the Sunni direction, the preservation of traditions and customs.

Scientists from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Egypt and Kazakhstan focused on the desire of the Central Asian states to create sustainable interaction mechanisms, the important core of which is interfaith and intercivilizational dialogue as an essential condition for building a stable world, lasting security and equal prosperity, emphasizing that this is the actuality and innovativeness of the theme of the conference "The Confessional World of Central Asia: State, Risks, Solutions".

The conference participants unanimously emphasized the outstanding role of Kazakhstan and its First President N. Nazarbayev in creating an effective strategy of peace and solidarity between religions and confessions - convening the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

Summing up the results of the conference, Altay Abibullayev, Chairman of the Board of the NJSC “N. Nazarbayev Center for the Development of Interfaith and Intercivilizational Dialogue,” noted that the global processes that affected the confessional enclave of Central Asia clearly demonstrate the role and importance of religions in the modern world, the importance and prospects of preserving interreligious and interfaith relations, as dictated by the imperatives of the new era.

“Central Asia is one of the leading forces in the region. Our countries are united by friendly relations and strategic partnership, we are linked by a common history, religion and rich cultural heritage. The unity and strength of all of us lies in mutual respect, diversity and different confessions. Our hearts, thoughts and views are open to dialogue ”- Altay Abibullayev emphasized.

The openness of the discussions, the desire for cooperation and the useful exchange of views demonstrated by all the participants of the conference will undoubtedly contribute to the development of joint approaches to solving urgent issues in order to ensure conditions for the sustainable security of the peoples of the Central Asian countries, their stable and dynamic progress.