Tomorrow, on 21 November, the international conference “Islam and Orthodoxy – Religions of the Peace” will be held in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The forum will be attended by representatives of Muslim and Christian clergy, academics, delegates from international organizations, experts from Central Asia, Russia, arabists, political scientists.
Islam and Orthodox Christianity, being one of the world religions, have many similar traditions, promote the same cultural and spiritual values – charity, humanism, peace, harmony and consensus.
And, probably, by uniting their efforts, both at the level of their followers and on the world stage, these religions can play a mobilizing role in confronting such threats to international security as radicalism, extremism, terrorism, racism and xenophobia.
The purpose of the conference, which Kyrgyzstan holds for the third year in a row, is to analyze the historical processes and the current situation in the sphere of interaction between Islam and Orthodox Christianity in the CIS, as well as to consider the progress of integration processes in Eurasia.
The forum will be held in the format of three thematic sections, which will highlight such topics as interfaith dialogue as the basis of public peace and harmony, the values of Islam and Orthodoxy in modern society and the state, the role of the two religions in the context of threats and challenges of our time.
It is expected that the conference will contribute to further development of interreligious communication, strengthening joint measures to prevent discrimination and radicalization on religious grounds, and strengthening the principle of the secular society.
Approximately 55-60 million people or about 90% of the Central Asian population practice Islam. All the five countries of Central Asia – Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, are secular states. The prevailing majority of Muslim believers adhere to the Hanafi wing of the Sunni branch, which theologians often associate with “moderate Islam”. The Orthodoxy ranks the second place in the number of followers.