Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Tel Aviv [Israel], May 31 (ANI/TPS): The Republic of Kazakhstan will host a conference in Tel Aviv next week, seeking to bring together religious leaders under one roof in the Holy Land.

The event is part of the Central Asian country's Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, an interreligious forum held in Kazakhstan every three years for the past two decades.

Religious leaders from many faiths are expected at the Israeli forum, including the country's chief rabbis, the Latin patriarch of Tel Aviv and representatives from the Muslim, Druze and Baha'i communities in Israel, along with prominent public political and academic officials.

"We believe that harnessing the collective efforts of religious leaders around the globe will serve to counter current challenges to world peace, as well as advance trust and progress among different nations and communities," said Kazakhstan's Ambassador to Israel and Cyprus, Satybaldy Burshakov, on Monday.

Maulen Asimbaev, the chairman of the Kazakhstani Senate and head of the Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, will be the keynote speaker at the roundtable conference.

Israel and Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations in 1992 shortly after the Central Asian country gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Kazakhstan in 2016 and met with then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in the first such visit by an Israeli premier to the former Soviet republic.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is expected to visit Tel Aviv in the future, Burshakov said.

The ninth largest country in the world with a territory the size of Western Europe, Kazakhstan is ethnically and culturally diverse, in part due to mass deportations of ethnic groups to the country during the rule of Josef Stalin.

Although Islam is the primary religion, Kazakhstan allows freedom of religion, with 18 denominations registered in the country of 19 million, including about 3,000 Jews. Jewish life has re-emerged in Kazakhstan after decades of Communist repression of religious life.

The interfaith conference comes at a time when Israel's ties are expanding throughout Central Asia, including Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. (ANI/TPS)

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