The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions was established in 2003 and includes representatives of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism and Bahá’í, as well as notable leaders of international organizations and political figures. This year’s gathering coincided with the second anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords.
“This is a summit of people who believe in God, and for me it doesn’t matter what religion you belong to – we must be together,” Israeli-Kazakh businessman and philanthropist, Alexander Mashkevich, noted before the gathering. “In my heart, I believe in all dialogue and peace meetings between spiritual leaders who share the understanding that between religions there is no gainsay, and that continuing the tradition will bring good results.” According to Mashkevich, many are mistaken in thinking that religion is the main generator of wars and conflicts in the world; the truth is that “those who do not believe in God are the ones who get in the way of peace.”
Also at the event, Rabbi Yosef and Rabbi Lau met the Grand Imam of al-Azhar in Cairo Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the highest religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world.
The sheikh spoke at the event’s plenary session about “religious brotherhood,” saying it is “a prerequisite for global international brotherhood.” He added, “I do not call for merging all religions into one…I call for serious work to strengthen the values of all religions.”