Performance of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev at the opening ceremony of the fourth congress of the leaders of world and traditional religions


May 30, 2012

Your Holiness!

Dear heads of delegations!

Dear guests!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Today, Kazakhstan's land is being filled with the light of the highest spirituality and blessing.

We are very proud to host religious and spiritual leaders of the world for the fourth time in Astana!

I cordially welcome all the heads and participants of 85 delegations from 40 countries of the world who arrived at the IV Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

Nine years ago 17 delegations from 17 countries participated in the First Congress.

There are both quantitative and qualitative growth in the global significance of our forum.

The Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions  has become a unique component of the international dialogue.

We are grateful to the attention of the UN, UNESCO and ISESCO, as well as to the leaders of  other international organizations, well-known politicians and experts.

Under the cone of the pyramid of the Palace of Peace and Reconcilliation in Astana, topical issues of strengthening mutual understanding between religions and cultures have always been discussed.

At the difficult time of the beginning of the Third Millennium, the noble initiatives of the previous Congresses were supported by the world community.

They contributed in no small measure to the fact that the world did not fall into the abyss of the "clash of civilizations".

Despite all the complexities of global development, strong impulses to dialogue remain popular trends in modern global processes.

And I am convinced that the Fourth Congress will go down in history as an important part of the global dialogue leading to the attainment by humanity of the foundations of a just world order in the twenty-first century.

Dear participants of the Congress!

The first meeting of the Council of Religious Leaders has just taken place.

Let me remind you that my proposal to create such a body was supported by the previous Congress three years ago.

The Council includes representatives of the world's leading faiths-Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Zoroastrianism.

In fact, this is the first working mechanism for a multilateral format of interaction between religions. The creation of the Council can bring the entire interfaith dialogue to a new level.

First, it will establish interaction with other international dialogue structures.

Secondly, a new permanent body is being created, which has great potential to become an important tool for global peacemaking over time.

Its authority and potential make it possible to accept appeals and claims  in situations of possible conflicts.

Third, it is important to establish global monitoring of the observance of the rights and freedoms of believers within the Council.

Fourthly, the spiritual power of religions united within the new Council, I am sure, can play an important role in maintaining balance in the processes of world development.

Fifth, the work on organizing and holding all subsequent Congresses will be transferred to a higher quality level.

I am grateful to all the leaders of world and traditional religions who positively accepted our initiative and agreed to become the first participants of the created Council.

Dear heads of delegations and guests of the Congress!

For 9 years of its history, the Congresses of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions have always been held at the peak of complex global processes.

The first Congresses were held in response to the threat of a "clash" of religions and the use of religion for the sinister purposes of international terrorism and extremism.

The previous Third Congress was held in the midst of the most powerful global financial and economic crisis.

We are also holding this forum at a critical time for the entire world.

The global transformation of the world order has begun.

Humanity, in fact, is going through a stage of systemic crisis.

The global recession that the world is on the verge of is threatening many societies with a large-scale social explosion.

Among the more than one billion unemployed people in the modern world, half are young people, including those who have received a good education.

With the loss of opportunities to work with dignity and the decline in social guarantees, the radicalization and criminalization of the youth environment is growing.

With the loss of opportunities to work with dignity and the decline in social guarantees, the radicalization and criminalization of the youth environment is growing.

At the same time, the global crisis of moral values is growing.

It is impossible not to see how "false freedoms" are promoted and enforced in many societies.

Perverse views on the nature of human relationships try to present as the norms of modern society.

The motivation for honest labor is replaced with aspiration for fast gain through any means.

And this "anti-moral" is often raised to the absolute.

A characteristic sign of the growing moral crisis in the world are cases of aggressive denigration of Ministers of worship, attempts to push religion to the sidelines of social processes.

The facts of blasphemous attitude to religious shrines are observed in many countries, in relation to almost all religions.

This includes public burning of Holy books, desecration and arson of mosques, temples, synagogues and other places of worship, discrediting of clergy, beatings and murders of members of the congregation.

Why is this happening?

Religion is one of the strongest protective barriers against lack of spirituality and greed.

In many times, it was religion that remained, sometimes even the only one, the guardian of folk wisdom, culture and traditions.

Kazakhstan's society knows it thanks to its own experience of living under the godless Soviet regime, especially during the period of Stalinist persecution.

Tomorrow, the participants of the Congress will visit the historical and architectural memorial to the victims of political repression, built on the site of one of the "Islands" of the former sinister "GULAG archipelago".

This was the so-called "ALZHIR" - "Akmola camp of wives of traitors to the Motherland".

In those years, millions of innocent people were killed throughout the former USSR.

Including tens of thousands of clerics of Islam, Christianity and other faiths.

It was a sad price paid by religions for the steadfastness and inflexibility of followers and preachers of Faith in the Creator.

Today, the immoral actions that are being committed against religions are phenomena of the same order as the events of the 20-30s, during which they tried to "overthrow" the temples.

We strongly condemn such antics and express our support to all religious leaders and all religions in their opposition to the surge of militant atheism.

Dear friends!

The modern world is at a crossroad.

Therefore, the Central issue to be discussed at the Congress is a hundred times more relevant.

Humanity has never had more sought-after values than Peace and Harmony in a global history.

We must admit that there is a lack of positive concepts of the world order in today's world.

Humanity, as it has been done many times in the past, uses new discoveries given to it by the Higher Mind, not always for the good of the world.

Thus, the highest information technologies and the latest communications designed to unite people are often used to divide people, erecting new barriers within societies and between countries.

Network resources, instead of spreading knowledge, often serve to propagate vice, spewing out streams of lies, low human instincts, fratricidal appeals and hatred.

The moral  bonds of any society as the family, the traditions of raising children, the succession of generations, and many others-are being undermined.

All these are the bitter realities of our time.

In turn, I want to express my point of view which is the result of my political experience.

It is obvious that in the context of globalization, it is only possible to bring the world economy out of a recession stupor by united efforts of the entire community of nations.

This is recognized by all.

Therefore, a week ago at the Astana Economic Forum, I proposed to develop and implement an effective model of world relations in the twenty-first century.

I called it "G-GLOBAL-the GREAT WORLD".

It is a thriving global economy, reliably protected from crises, with an effective world currency, a fair system of trade and cooperation.

This is a world where high technology serves for the happiness and well-being of all people.

This is a world of justice and trust between peoples and States, with strong foundations for regional and global security.

This is a tolerant community of nations where all problems are solved on the basis of consent and respect

This is our planet, forever free from the threat of nuclear destruction, free from weapons of mass destruction.

I believe that humanity has the necessary knowledge and experience to create such a model based on five fundamental principles.

Firstly, it is the evolutionary development of socio-political systems, the rejection of revolutions as forms of political development.

In the twenty-first century, it is revolutions, not religions, that have become the opium of people.

Secondly, it is justice, equality and consensus in relations between all States.

Thirdly, global transparency that rejects all "double standards" and "behind the scenes" in international relations.

Fourthly, constructive multipolarity as a system of geopolitical balances, freed from the block psychology of the last century.

And finally, fifthly, global tolerance and trust as the primary basis of intercultural, interreligious and interstate interaction in the twenty-first century.

I believe that multiculturalism, ethnic and religious diversity is not a challenge for society but a huge advantage.

In the XXI century, tolerance is becoming a key factor in the development and growth of the innovative economy.

It is impossible not to see the fact that over the past 30 years, the greatest success has been achieved by those countries that differ in ethnic and cultural diversity.

Today's world needs to generalize and develop such experience.

In this regard, the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions could act as a leading dialogue platform, specifically aimed at the ideological and spiritual construction of the foundations of a just world order in the twenty-first century.

Today, the global dialogue is not just about international forums and meetings.

An increasing number of people around the world participate in it through interactive communication.

The idea and format of G-GLOBAL proposed by Kazakhstan in this regard open up new opportunities for global understanding and tolerance.

That is why I propose, with the blessing of the participants of the Fourth Congress, to create an Internet resource dedicated to the formation and strengthening of global tolerance and trust.

Perhaps it could become part of the General electronic portal G-GLOBAL.

Within its framework, it is important to provide  interactive meetings of the Council of Religious Leaders and the Secretariat of our Congress, as well as a permanent online forum for a wide range of Internet users.

I look forward to your support for this proposal.

Dear participants and guests of the Congress!

An effective model of peace and harmony is the basic factor for the success of our country's development.

Independent Kazakhstan is a country where 140 ethnic groups live in peace and harmony.

We are one of the three countries with the most dynamic economies in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

We have created our own model of inter-ethnic harmony.

A citizen of Kazakhstan of any ethnic or religious affiliation is an equal citizen, an integral part of a single civil community.

And we are creating conditions so that everyone can freely practice their religion, learn and use their native language, culture and traditions of their ethnic group.

The high values professed by each religion-Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestant creeds, Judaism, Buddhism and others have always been supported by the Kazakh state.

Therefore, our society has been undergoing a spiritual Renaissance for more than 20 years.

New mosques and temples are being built.

We are working on a draft Program to strengthen interfaith harmony until  2016.

At the initiative of Kazakhstan, the international year of rapprochement of cultures was held in 2010, and 2013-2022th years were declared by UNESCO as the International decade of rapprochement of cultures.

During Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010, we invited our partners to expand the number of dimensions of Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian security including issues of strengthening tolerance separately.

The Declaration of the OSCE Astana summit reflected a number of our ideas on the development of interfaith dialogue and confidence-building between States.

Kazakhstan headed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for a year which fell on a difficult time for the Ummah.

We have proposed a number of initiatives aimed at developing cooperation between Muslim States in solving acute social and economic problems and in the humanitarian sphere.

Now ambiguous processes are taking place in the Muslim world.

There are dynamic economies and countries with serious socio-political problems.

Islam is an impressive and growing layer of the cultural and material heritage of mankind.

The present and future global community cannot be imagined without the world of Islam.

Any kind of obstruction is short-sighted and even dangerous.

We must understand what is happening in this part of a large and diverse world.

Kazakhstan is a country with a majority Muslim population.

The Islamic religion is one of the spiritual pillars of our people.

We have developed a unique formula for national unity and consent of all Kazakhstanis, regardless of their religious and ethno-cultural affiliation.

Congresses of leaders of world and traditional religions are a noble gift of Kazakhstan to the whole world.

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the first Congress.

I would like to suggest that next year, on this occasion, we prepare and adopt a special appeal from the Council of religious leaders, emphasizing the importance and relevance of the dialogue and enhancing the peacemaking role of religious and spiritual leaders.

Dear friends!

The holding of Congresses of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana shows that the thesis of irreconcilable differences and differences between religions is just a phantom.

It is not religions that are at war with each other, but people and States.

The great thinkers of the world call religion the formula of morality.

The great Abay has such wise words: "The duty of a believer is to do good. But what is the value of good done without faith?"

The highest meaning of any creed is to restore man and humanity to the path of lost perfection.

This is the main goal of our high-level forum.

I would like to wish all participants of the Congress a fruitful and constructive discussion.

May God help us in our good intentions!