Spiritual leaders from across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) moved on 3 March to create an Interfaith Council, Interfax reported. The event took place at the Second Interfaith Peacekeeping Forum in Moscow. The new council is intended to help spiritual leaders coordinate and concentrate their efforts to combat such challenges as extremism and terrorism, akipress.org reported on 3 March. The council's presidium will comprise 22 representatives -- nine of them Christian, eight Muslim, four Jewish, and one Buddhist -- including Mufti of Kazakhstan Absattar Derbisaliev, Mufti of Kyrgyzstan Murataly Jumanov, Mufti of Tajikistan Amonulloh Nematzoda, and Mufti of Uzbekistan Abdurashid Bakhromov. Noting that Kazakhstan faces a "complicated and diverse" religious situation, "Kazakhstan Today" commented on 3 March, "one hopes that [the Interfaith Council] does not remain mere ink on paper, but rather will exert a real influence on events."
Interfax/Akipress.org, March 03, 2004