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Putin cautions world of disastrous consequences

Putin cautioned the world of disastrous consequences of a conflict of civilisations while addressing the world summit of religious leaders.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2006 23:26 IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday cautioned the world of disastrous consequences of a conflict of civilisations and called for a dialogue of different religions to counter the ideology of extremism.

"Attempts are being made to divide the world along the religious or ethnic belonging, to drive a wedge above all between the Christian and Islamic communities and to kindle a conflict of civilizations. This confrontation is fraught with disastrous consequences," Putin said addressing the world summit of religious leaders.

Over 200 delegates of prominent world religions from 40 countries are taking part in the three-day World Religion Summit. Hindu seer Udipi Maharaj Sugunendra Teertha Swamiji, head of Udipi Math (Karnataka), and Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti are also invited to attend the summit organised by Russia's Inter-religious Council uniting spiritual leaders of Christians, Jews and Muslims of the country.

Putin called for launching the interfaith dialogue of civilisations "to counter the ideologues of extremism, who exploit the sentiments of believers."

"We clearly see to what the activities of self-styled preaching of certain extremist leaders lead to, who cynically exploit the sentiments, we see how thin is the line after which war and violence could be unleashed, bloodshed could take place," Putin said in an obvious reference to al-Qaeda leaders.

"We ought to counter this with widest possible inter-religion dialogue," he said.

Putin expressed satisfaction at how relations between the government and religious communities have been built in Russia. "Tolerance toward representatives of different religions is crucial to harmony in society in Russia today. It is also a key factor of social progress," he said.

"In our country, relations between religious associations and the government have been built on the principle of all religious organizations' equality before the law and the state's non-interference in their activities. This is the main principle of our interaction with all confessions," he said at the meet organised as part of PR ahead of G-8 summit in St Petersburg under Russia's rotating presidency.