We believe that freedom of religion is the bedrock of
any free and prosperous society.

 

And that’s why LYNC has a mission of promoting that freedom through partnership with people of faith, governments and civil societies in strategic community building and extending the love of God in a practical and tangible way.

 
A PANEL DISCUSSION ON RELIGION AND GLOBALIZATION  at VI Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions  The president for LYN Community Mr. Kusack was invited by the Kazakh Embassy in Washington, D.C., to participate in the VI Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Congress is primarily comprised of leaders of the most prominent Muslim sects, Buddhists, Judoists, and some Christian denominations. Amongst those were represented, it is important to note a degree of unification on the topics of peace and tolerance. One on the achievements was the open dialogue on these topics between the Iranian Ayatollah and Jerusalem’s Rabbi, both seated behind the same table.  A common thread in participant conversations and presentations was the importance of tolerance as perpetuated by mutual respect and “religious literacy.” It was agreed that these three ideological signposts were necessary in reaching peace and de-radicalizing groups. To the point, Chairman of Russia’s Mufti’s, Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin noted: “Multi-faith dialogue is a real practice of peace, demanding moral heroism from its participants. Each of the religious leaders presented here is convinced of the exceptional rightness of their own faith and the exclusive right of others to the same conviction. This is spiritual maturity.”

A PANEL DISCUSSION ON RELIGION AND GLOBALIZATION
at VI Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions

The president for LYN Community Mr. Kusack was invited by the Kazakh Embassy in Washington, D.C., to participate in the VI Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Congress is primarily comprised of leaders of the most prominent Muslim sects, Buddhists, Judoists, and some Christian denominations. Amongst those were represented, it is important to note a degree of unification on the topics of peace and tolerance. One on the achievements was the open dialogue on these topics between the Iranian Ayatollah and Jerusalem’s Rabbi, both seated behind the same table.

A common thread in participant conversations and presentations was the importance of tolerance as perpetuated by mutual respect and “religious literacy.” It was agreed that these three ideological signposts were necessary in reaching peace and de-radicalizing groups. To the point, Chairman of Russia’s Mufti’s, Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin noted: “Multi-faith dialogue is a real practice of peace, demanding moral heroism from its participants. Each of the religious leaders presented here is convinced of the exceptional rightness of their own faith and the exclusive right of others to the same conviction. This is spiritual maturity.”

A PRE ROUNDTABLE EVENT IN SHYMKENT, KAZAKHSTAN  With acute knowledge of the challenging religious climate in the city of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, LYNC successfully spearheaded the first multi-faith roundtable bringing together local government and religious leadership for safe space conversation. It was a substantial step toward multi-faith and government relations as reported by Mr. Kusack.  The Kazakhstan Embassy in US helped LYNC to set up the meeting and invite the government officials and local imams. The government was represented by Aigul Sarseyeva, Deputy Head of the Department of Internal Policy and Head of the Department of Religious Affairs of Shymkent. There were two local imams and three evangelical pastors, president for AROK Aleksandr Klyushev and three mayor assistances.  The agenda was to learn and discuss the following topics:  - The history of relations between Kazakh Embassy and IRF Roundtable in Washington DC, including previous IRFR delegation visits and the conferences organized by IGE  - Declaration VI Congress of the Leaders of the World and Traditional Religious with the emphasis on religious literacy and tolerance.  - Possible larger roundtable with more diverse religious groups in the middle of 2019. The socially important or educational project that would include government and different religious communities would follow the roundtable.  Mr. Kusack maintained a warmth and openness in the meeting and encouraged participants to do the same. One of the imams even said, “I never had any concerns regarding the Baptist church that is next to my mosque.” Ironically though, he never talks to the pastor of this church which underlined the necessity of our roundtable.  As a result of the roundtable, it was decided to continue the dialogue between Muslims and Christians and find what can be done together, including with the government.

A PRE ROUNDTABLE EVENT IN SHYMKENT, KAZAKHSTAN

With acute knowledge of the challenging religious climate in the city of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, LYNC successfully spearheaded the first multi-faith roundtable bringing together local government and religious leadership for safe space conversation. It was a substantial step toward multi-faith and government relations as reported by Mr. Kusack.

The Kazakhstan Embassy in US helped LYNC to set up the meeting and invite the government officials and local imams. The government was represented by Aigul Sarseyeva, Deputy Head of the Department of Internal Policy and Head of the Department of Religious Affairs of Shymkent. There were two local imams and three evangelical pastors, president for AROK Aleksandr Klyushev and three mayor assistances.

The agenda was to learn and discuss the following topics:

- The history of relations between Kazakh Embassy and IRF Roundtable in Washington DC, including previous IRFR delegation visits and the conferences organized by IGE

- Declaration VI Congress of the Leaders of the World and Traditional Religious with the emphasis on religious literacy and tolerance.

- Possible larger roundtable with more diverse religious groups in the middle of 2019. The socially important or educational project that would include government and different religious communities would follow the roundtable.

Mr. Kusack maintained a warmth and openness in the meeting and encouraged participants to do the same. One of the imams even said, “I never had any concerns regarding the Baptist church that is next to my mosque.” Ironically though, he never talks to the pastor of this church which underlined the necessity of our roundtable.

As a result of the roundtable, it was decided to continue the dialogue between Muslims and Christians and find what can be done together, including with the government.

In Kazakhstan, a high-level dialogue is being held between the state and representatives of religious associations.  The objective is to search for mutual understanding on matters related to legislation and to join forces in the fight against violent extremism.  On November 22 in Astana, the leaders of various  religious communities met with officials to discuss  how to improve legislation and its application in the religious sphere. The dialogue was supported by the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OSCE Office of Programs in Astana.  The event was attended by representatives of Islamic, Catholic, Protestant and other faiths, as well as representatives of Kazakh non-governmental organizations, scientific and educational institutions, and state and law enforcement agencies.  What ensued was an open, constructive dialogue. Despite the fact that parties to the discussion held divergent, or even directly opposing views on the issues under discussion, everyone managed to express themselves and also listen to the positions of their opponents.   Read the whole story here

In Kazakhstan, a high-level dialogue is being held between the state and representatives of religious associations. The objective is to search for mutual understanding on matters related to legislation and to join forces in the fight against violent extremism.

On November 22 in Astana, the leaders of various religious communities met with officials to discuss how to improve legislation and its application in the religious sphere. The dialogue was supported by the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OSCE Office of Programs in Astana.

The event was attended by representatives of Islamic, Catholic, Protestant and other faiths, as well as representatives of Kazakh non-governmental organizations, scientific and educational institutions, and state and law enforcement agencies.

What ensued was an open, constructive dialogue. Despite the fact that parties to the discussion held divergent, or even directly opposing views on the issues under discussion, everyone managed to express themselves and also listen to the positions of their opponents.

Read the whole story here

President for LYN Community, Wade Kusack, witnessed the historical ceremony of Signing an Agreement to Build Religious Freedom in Uzbekistan  On September 17, 2018, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) and the Uzbekistan government signed a  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  to partner together in efforts to build religious freedom in the country. The government was represented by the  Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (ISRS)  and the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society (NIMFOGO). The signing ceremony was witnessed by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen, as well as officials from the U.S. and Uzbekistan governments and representatives from Uzbekistan’s religious communities.  The groundbreaking MOU marks the first time that Uzbekistan will work with a foreign NGO to address religious freedom. Uzbekistan has been designated as a “country of particular concern” (CPC) since 2006 by the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom report. However, since a major leadership transition in 2016, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has carried out major economic and political reforms that have attracted widespread attention and affirmation from both Uzbek citizens and the international community. The government has also signaled strong willingness to improve Uzbekistan’s religious freedom situation.  In addition to the MOU signing, IGE led a delegation of American Christian and Muslim leaders to meet with counterparts in Uzbekistan. The IGE delegation consisted of James Chen (Executive Director of IGE), Rashid Dar (Program Officer at the John Tempeton Foundation), Sherman Jackson (King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture at University of Southern California), Wade Kusack (President of LYN Community), Bob Roberts (Pastor of Northwood Church in Dallas, TX), Chris Seiple (President Emeritus of IGE), Talib Shareef (Imam of The Nations Mosque in Washington, DC), Jeremy Weber (Deputy Managing Editor of  Christianity Today ), and James Wellman (Professor and Chair of the Comparative Religion Program in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington).  The IGE delegation met with leaders from Tashkent’s Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic communities to learn more about their situation on the ground. At the invitation of the International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan, the delegation gave presentations and interacted with students and faculty. The delegation also visited Samarkand, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and a vital part of the ancient Silk Road, to learn more about the central role that Uzbekistan has played in Islamic civilizational history.  Looking ahead, IGE and its Uzbek partners discussed various possible activities for the near future including creating multi-faith roundtables, holding certificate training programs on cross-cultural religious literacy, and a convening a conference on the positive role of religion.   Source

President for LYN Community, Wade Kusack, witnessed the historical ceremony of Signing an Agreement to Build Religious Freedom in Uzbekistan

On September 17, 2018, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) and the Uzbekistan government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to partner together in efforts to build religious freedom in the country. The government was represented by the Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (ISRS) and the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society (NIMFOGO). The signing ceremony was witnessed by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen, as well as officials from the U.S. and Uzbekistan governments and representatives from Uzbekistan’s religious communities.

The groundbreaking MOU marks the first time that Uzbekistan will work with a foreign NGO to address religious freedom. Uzbekistan has been designated as a “country of particular concern” (CPC) since 2006 by the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom report. However, since a major leadership transition in 2016, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has carried out major economic and political reforms that have attracted widespread attention and affirmation from both Uzbek citizens and the international community. The government has also signaled strong willingness to improve Uzbekistan’s religious freedom situation.

In addition to the MOU signing, IGE led a delegation of American Christian and Muslim leaders to meet with counterparts in Uzbekistan. The IGE delegation consisted of James Chen (Executive Director of IGE), Rashid Dar (Program Officer at the John Tempeton Foundation), Sherman Jackson (King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture at University of Southern California), Wade Kusack (President of LYN Community), Bob Roberts (Pastor of Northwood Church in Dallas, TX), Chris Seiple (President Emeritus of IGE), Talib Shareef (Imam of The Nations Mosque in Washington, DC), Jeremy Weber (Deputy Managing Editor of Christianity Today), and James Wellman (Professor and Chair of the Comparative Religion Program in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington).

The IGE delegation met with leaders from Tashkent’s Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic communities to learn more about their situation on the ground. At the invitation of the International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan, the delegation gave presentations and interacted with students and faculty. The delegation also visited Samarkand, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and a vital part of the ancient Silk Road, to learn more about the central role that Uzbekistan has played in Islamic civilizational history.

Looking ahead, IGE and its Uzbek partners discussed various possible activities for the near future including creating multi-faith roundtables, holding certificate training programs on cross-cultural religious literacy, and a convening a conference on the positive role of religion.

Source

Members of the IGE Delegation and U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen

Members of the IGE Delegation and U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen

TASHKENT (Uzbekistan) - A CELEBRATION OF THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION  On November 27, an interfaith celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation was held at the Russian Drama Theater of Tashkent, organized by the Bible Society of Uzbekistan and the Center of the Full Gospel Church.  Not only the concert program was breadth (the Turkiston Chamber Orchestra, the State Choir, and others performed), not only the compelling educational videos about the significance of the Reformation was created on the high professional level, but also the event show the wide range of participants and guests. Pastors and ministers from virtually all of the Evangelical churches of Uzbekistan came together in the 600-seat hall in the center of the city, and the special guests included representatives of state bodies, heads of embassies and ministers and clerics of other Christian denominations and religions. Ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary (USA and Ukraine), representatives of foreign Biblical societies (Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) and major Christian denominations (a bishop of the Catholic Church, vice-rector of the Orthodox Seminary and even a representative of the Islamic University) delivered congratulatory speeches on the occasion.  It is obvious that the reforms carried out by the state this year have impacted the sphere of the church in full measure. The open dialogue and respectful attitude of the ministers of churches and various denominations were exemplary for Central Asia.  One of the participants noted: "No matter who I spoke with after the celebration, I was not only encouraged on this night, I also came away with a sense that positive changes were underway and that we were entering a new chapter in the history of religious relations in Uzbekistan."

TASHKENT (Uzbekistan) - A CELEBRATION OF THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION

On November 27, an interfaith celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation was held at the Russian Drama Theater of Tashkent, organized by the Bible Society of Uzbekistan and the Center of the Full Gospel Church.

Not only the concert program was breadth (the Turkiston Chamber Orchestra, the State Choir, and others performed), not only the compelling educational videos about the significance of the Reformation was created on the high professional level, but also the event show the wide range of participants and guests. Pastors and ministers from virtually all of the Evangelical churches of Uzbekistan came together in the 600-seat hall in the center of the city, and the special guests included representatives of state bodies, heads of embassies and ministers and clerics of other Christian denominations and religions. Ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary (USA and Ukraine), representatives of foreign Biblical societies (Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) and major Christian denominations (a bishop of the Catholic Church, vice-rector of the Orthodox Seminary and even a representative of the Islamic University) delivered congratulatory speeches on the occasion.

It is obvious that the reforms carried out by the state this year have impacted the sphere of the church in full measure. The open dialogue and respectful attitude of the ministers of churches and various denominations were exemplary for Central Asia.

One of the participants noted: "No matter who I spoke with after the celebration, I was not only encouraged on this night, I also came away with a sense that positive changes were underway and that we were entering a new chapter in the history of religious relations in Uzbekistan."


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