- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Kazakhstan is seeking to encourage a wide ranging discussion of the role of religion in fighting extremism and terrorism and it is calling for a nuclear free world by 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations, as the Central Asian nation makes its first bid for a seat on the Security Council.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov spoke at two high level meetings at the U.N. on Friday, laying out his nation’s vision for a more peaceful and tolerant global society.

“In the 21st Century more than half of the population of the world will be of Muslim origin. We have to think about that. Therefore we do have to care about this religion as well as other Abrahamic religions. We have to delink them from untrue unbased stories and let them be what they are destined to be. That’s the goal,” Idrissov told The Associated Press.

He said that groups like the Islamic State group pervert the true meaning of Islam and that psychologists and intellectuals could be used to help “bring true Islam back to life.”

Idrissov held up Kazakhstan’s peaceful multicultural society, which includes more 100 ethnic communities and some 18 religious denominations, as an example of how sectarian tensions can be managed, saying the country’s “domestic harmony gives us a moral responsibility to call for a rapprochement of cultures.”

Another area he says where Kazakhstan could lead by example is nuclear weapons. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev got rid of all the nuclear weapons the country inherited following the break-up of the Soviet Union and is hoping the world will follow his example.

“In the 21st Century, which is considered to be the most advanced century, with the most advanced achievements of human kind in its entire existence we still face the danger of global annihilation. As my president has formulated it, ‘the virus of war is still prevalent in the minds of people.’ It is unfortunate that this virus of war is prevalent among many political elites,” Idrissrov said.

Nazarbayev has long championed denuclearization as a way to avoid destruction and proposes 2045 be set as the deadline for eliminating all nuclear weapons, Idrissov said.

Kazakhstan is bidding for a non-permanent seat on the 15-member council, the U.N.’s most powerful deliberative body. The two year term would cover 2017 and 2018.

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