Global religious leaders are speaking out against religious extremism. They have gathered in Kazakhstan to deal with some of the most pressing problems facing humankind.

Kazakhstan is a unique region in the world and it is unique because of its geographical position, history and size. It is the world’s 9th largest country; it is also the largest landlocked country in the world.

Astana, built as a Eurasian city of the future, is the host to the sixth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

“This conference is very important for global security because unfortunately some political forces use religion as an instrument to achieve their personal goals, religion doesn’t relate to such intentions,” says Lutheran Church of Kazakhstan Archbishop, Yuri Novgorodov.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev drew attention to the plight of refugees around the world. He says that the number of refugees has exceeded 65 million.

“Losses grow not only because of conflict, spending effort and resources on confrontation, humankind cannot use them to protect against natural disasters.”

He adds, “Every year, as a result of natural disasters, an average of 24 million people fall below the poverty line.

Millions of people are forced to leave their homes. They are trying to establish peace and tolerance as fundamental principles of humanity.

“This is like a dream but it is not impossible because what is spirituality and what is politics, actually, politics is spirituality in action,” says Somaiya Institute’s Dr Kala Acharya.

Grand Mufti of Russia Sheikh Rawil Gaynetdin says, “All religious leaders they can adopt a manifesto and decimate this information to say that all religions, they do not accept extremism, terrorism, they are against it, and against all the provocations and incitement related to religious hatred and extremism.”

It is hoped that the decisions adopted in Astana will have wide international resonance.