Paris, September 9, AZERTAC
A conference titled ‘Religious tolerance: the culture of coexistence in Azerbaijan’ has been organized in the French capital as part of “Azerbaijan in the heart of Paris” project implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The conference was attended by First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva, as well as heads and representatives of Azerbaijani and French religious organizations.
Speaking at the conference, Mehriban Aliyeva said Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads of civilizations and cultures as a bridge between Asia and Europe and these factors play an important role in the development of cultural diversity. "Traditions of tolerance are alive in our country today. Azerbaijan is a member of both the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Europe. We are proud of our cultural and historical heritage," said Mehriban Aliyeva.
Stressing that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation gives special attention to various religions, Mehriban Aliyeva said the foundation has been involved in organizing halls of Islamic art collection in Louvre Museum, restoring Roman catacombs, creating conditions to promote education of Jewish children, repairing churches in Strasbourg and others regions of France.
In her speech, Mehriban Aliyeva also touched upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. She said that as a result of the conflict 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories have been occupied, with one million people having become refugees and internally displaced persons. The First Lady also drew the audience`s attention to national and historical monuments which have been destroyed as a result of the conflict.
Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Mubariz Gurbanly briefed the audience on the committee’s activity. He said the Heydar Aliyev Foundation contributes to the strengthening of tolerance in Azerbaijan.
The conference highlighted the issues of interreligious relations in Azerbaijan. Speakers stressed that Azerbaijan pays special attention to and cares about different nationalities and representatives of various religions living in the country. The First Lady proposed to hold the second part of the conference in Baku.
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In the evening of September 8 guests enjoyed a classical music concert titled "Azerbaijani music in the heart of Paris". Organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the concert featured Azerbaijani pianist Murad Huseynov, as well as young violinists Jeyla Seyidova, Anar Seyidov and others performing pieces by Azerbaijani and world composers. At the end of the concert famous photographer Reza Deghati showed an interesting exhibition hailing tolerance in Azerbaijani society.
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