Nazarbayev Interfaith Congress Exported to India

ANI News reports from New Delhi:

Organised and hosted by the Embassy of Kazakhstan at the Leela Palace Hotel, the [Congress of World and Traditional Religions] was attended by several dignitaries, including Member of the Parliament of Kazakhstan Bolat Zhylkyshiyev, Dr. [J.M] Dave [of Swaminarayan Akshardham]… Somaya Samir Shantila, Chairman of the Institute for the Research of Indology and Interreligious Dialogue, President of the Jamaat-u-Shabab-e Islam Salman Al Husaini Al Nadwi, President of the World Council of Cultural Heritage of Zarathushtra Dr. Homi Dhalla.

…The event was held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religion.

I blogged on previous congresses here and here. President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, who reluctantly began a third decade in power after winning 95.5% in an election in 2011, uses such events to promote his image internationally, despite severe restrictions on religious freedom in the country – and a massacre of striking miners that appears to have faded from memory.

Nazarbayev’s interfaith efforts have also won praise from another group at the intersection of religion and soft power: ahead of the 2011 election, he was awarded a “Dialogue of Civilizations” prize by Vladimir Yakunin, a close Putin confidant who co-founded the “World Public Forum”. The WFP has the oddest range of associations.

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