Baku, October 30 AZERTAC
“American Thinker” journal has published an article titled “Baku: Where Islam Meets its Future”.
Written by Justin Amler the article says: “Located near Baku, the capitol of Azerbaijan, it was once a place for religious worship by Hindus and Zoroastrians.
The recent 5th Baku Humanitarian Forum showcased that which Azerbaijan most valuably has to offer the world -- a model of a secular and modern Muslim-majority nation, where Shi’a, Sunni, Jew, Catholic, etc., live together absent the discord of much of the rest of the world.
In Azerbaijan, its citizens worry not about what ethnic or religious group has more power, but about the economic downturn, education, life insurance, jobs, and juggling family with profession.
As with most societies, Azerbaijan is a product of its history, in this case, one that left it with a varying array of peoples living together and not particularly caring about another’s heritage. Exploring Baku is taking a journey from a grand past to a cutting-edge future. Each street corner reveals grand buildings, their architecture harkening back to the eras of the famed Silk Road to Imperial Russia to today’s staunchly independent Azerbaijan.
While Azerbaijan is a Muslim-majority country, it is the polar opposite of the many Islamic and Muslim-majority nations of the neighboring Middle East. Azerbaijan is a fierce defender of its state policy of secularism, yet also a vivacious proponent of religious freedom. In Azerbaijan, Jewish leaders do not tell their members to avoid wearing identifiably Jewish clothing as they do in Paris. While there are laws that ban the hijab from being worn in schools, this does not extend to the public domain, as in some European countries, where the government bans Islamic clothing in public in a futile attempt to stop radicalism. Here, it is infused in society, due to both the natural inclinations of Azerbaijani people, as well as the consistent promotion and sustained government policies to promote a tolerant society.
In this multifaceted country, it can be difficult to describe just where it fits into the cultural sphere of the world. It can feel like a classical European city straight out of a history book, a modern city on the cutting edge of innovation. There are even places where you might think you’re in a Middle Eastern bazaar surrounded by music and small shops in long underground passageways”.