Religious leaders have "pivotal role" in peace-making, says UN chief

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Traditional and non-traditional religious leaders around the world have what has been described as "a pivotal role" to play in solving problems and promoting peace.

That was the message of the UN Secretary-General to the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana, Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

The theme of the meeting is "Promoting Dialogue for Peace and Prosperity in Turbulent Times".

Ana Carmo reports.

In his address to the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in many countries seen as models of integration, divisive politics is on the rise.

Mr. Ban said that "in times of turmoil, religious leaders can provide a values-based glue to hold communities together and provide common ground for peace-making and problem solving."

He urged world's religious leaders to teach their followers the true meaning of reconciliation, understanding and mutual respect.

The Secretary-General stressed that religious leaders have an obligation to speak out when so-called adherents of their faith commit crimes in its name.

"All should know that crimes committed in the name of religion are crimes against religion', the UN chief said.  

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 47"

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