The ongoing Second Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions passed on Tuesday nine principles of inter-faith dialogue, claiming it should be based upon honesty, tolerance, humility and mutual respect.
The decision was announced by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who received no objections from the participants after soliciting opinions and comments on the principles.
Attended by 43 delegations from 20 countries, the congress aims to explore ways of promoting religious freedom and the enhancement of dialogue between different religions and cultures.
The dialogue should avoid prejudice and misrepresentation of the faiths of others and encourage better knowledge and understanding between different religions, the principles stated.
One of the most important things, according to the principles, is that the dialogue requires effective listening and learning so that it can produce genuine engagement and should enable participants to explain their faith honestly and clearly.
The principles call for inter-religious dialogue to be conducted in the spirit of tolerance on the basis of shared values such as the sacredness of life, the dignity of all human beings and the integrity of creation and nature.
At the same time, the dialogue must assume equality of partners and create the space for free expression of opinions, perspectives and beliefs, allowing for the integrity of each culture, language and tradition, said the principles.
The congress said inter-faith dialogue would offer ways toward peaceful coexistence and fruitful cooperation between different peoples. Education to that end conducted by mass media would help achieve "better understanding of the importance of dialogue and thus minimize the risk of religious extremism," it added.
Moreover, inter-religious dialogue could serve as an example for other kinds of dialogue, especially social and political dialogue for the good of societies, said the principles.
"Dialogue is fundamentally important for future generations to benefit from better relations between people of different religions and cultures," the document read.
"Dialogue assumes that religion plays a vital and constructive role in society", since it can promote the common good, recognizes the important role of good relationships between people and respects the specific role of the state in society.
Dialogue also helped prevent conflict and the use of violence as a means of reducing tension and resolving disputes, according to the document.