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    MOSCOW HOSTS CIS INTERFAITH PEACE FORUM

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    MOSCOW, March 2, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - All of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries will participate in the 2nd Interfaith Peace Forum in Moscow on March 2-4. The forum is being held on the initiative of Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, head of Board of Caucasus Muslims Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukyur Pasha-Zade and the Interfaith Council of Russia.

    The aim of the forum is to coordinate the activity of the traditional religions of the CIS to strengthen interethnic and interfaith peace and traditional spiritual values in society. Another goal of the forum is to provide aid to the population and jointly combat common challenges, in particular, terrorism.

    The main result of the forum is expected to be the creation of a CIS Interfaith Council made up of 23 CIS religious leaders. The members of the council will represent each CIS country as well as the five main religious traditions in the CIS: Orthodox Christianity, Armenian-Gregorianism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

    The forum is a continuation of the 1st Interfaith Peace Forum which took place in Moscow on November 13-14, 2000.

    More than 300 people will attend the second forum. Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Garigin II and head of the Board of Caucasus Muslims Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukyur Pasha-Zade will lead the forum. The leaders of the forum made arrangements to hold the forum at the four-sided meeting in Moscow in November 2003.

    The forum will also be attended by Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine, Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and Moldova, Metropolitian Mefody of Astana and Alma Ata, the heads the Religious Boards of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and other religious leaders.

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