Rome, April 15, AZERTAC
Italian Capitolino Flash newspaper has issued an article hailing tolerance in Azerbaijan.
Written by journalist Paola Onorotti, the article says that Azerbaijan is a model of peaceful co-existence and treatment of religious confessions. “Azerbaijan could be a model to the whole world for its atmosphere of tolerance.”
The article cites Pope John Paul II as saying during his meeting with national leader Heydar Aliyev in Baku in 2002: “We call the world for peace, in the name of God, from this country where tolerance, the main value of a healthy society, has deep roots.”
Onorotti also cites the Vatican’s former state secretary, Cardinal Tarchizio Bertone who said: “In a country where Muslims are majority there are Catholic and Orthodox communities. Ancient Azerbaijan preserved archeological samples to the Christian world. The way they treated them testifies to respect the country has for other religions.”
The article notes that the architect of modern Azerbaijani state Heydar Aliyev overcame all the challenges and carried out important reforms in the country. “He managed to make Azerbaijan a model of inter-religious co-existence. A new church was built in the place of the old one which was destroyed by the Bolsheviks at the time. This is testimony to respect that both the government and Azerbaijan’s Muslim community have for other religions.”
“Azerbaijan is a secular country where the modern society is built, and which ensures peaceful co-existence and development of public religious values. Tolerance in Azerbaijan paves the way for representatives of other religions to freely express themselves. This manifests itself in both the construction of churches and organization of social events that closely involve Christians.”
The article recalls a meeting to the Vatican by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their meeting with Pope Francis earlier this year. “Pope Francis hailed tolerance and co-existence traditions in Azerbaijan,” Onorotti concludes the article.