Baku, April 3, AZERTAC
The journal of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has issued an article headlined “Azerbaijan’s contribution to the Islamic Solidarity” by Sheikhulislam Allahshukur Pashazade, chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Board.
In the article, Pashazade says: “Azerbaijan as a crucial and integral part of the Muslim world, is renowned as one of the important places where the Islamic cultural legacy was established and preserved. If we look back to the history, we can see that all the representatives of different nations regardless of their nationality, culture and religion live in peace, there have never been any confrontations and misunderstandings on ethnic and religious grounds. In Azerbaijan. Islam, which became widespread in the territory of Azerbaijan in the 7th-8th centuries, enriched the spiritual life of our people, later growing into one of the main factors defining their lifestyle and co-existence norms. The most ancient mosque in the Caucasus – Shamakhi mosque built in 743 – Bibiheybat mosque and pilgrimage complex, Ganja “Imamzade” complex and many other sites can be considered as Azerbaijan`s outstanding contribution to the system of Islamic religious and cultural values.”
“The people of Azerbaijan have always had great respect for their history, spiritual values and even the flag – a state symbol – of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was founded in 1918, reflected their Islamic identity. Despite persecutions under the USSR, the people of Azerbaijan managed to preserve some of their religious sites and mosques, and remained committed to their religious values.”
“During the collapse of Soviet Union there were 17 mosques functioning in the country, but today that number exceeds 2000. Over the past 13 years more than 200 mosques have been built and over 80 mosques renovated in Azerbaijan. Under the leadership of the country overhaul, restoration and reconstruction carried out in Bibiheybat, Tazapir, Old City Juma and Prophet Muhammad mosque complexes and etc. On December 26, 2014, opening ceremony of Heydar Mosque was constructed under the instructions of the head of the state in Baku was held. It must be noted that, it is the largest mosque in the South Caucuses region. Azerbaijan, which is strongly committed to religious and cultural values of Islam, is also renowned as one of the world`s centers of multiculturalism. We consider the provision of cultural diversity, an atmosphere of ethnic and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan as a great achievement. There has never been religious and ethnic discrimination in our country, and representatives of all religions have lived here in peace and mutual understanding. This is our lifestyle and the best way to confidently move forward,” the article says.
“Declaration of 2017 Year of Solidarity in Azerbaijan by President Ilham Aliyev is a call to the world on ‘To be tolerant and respectful to each other, establish a dialogue between religions and denominations’. The best example is the model of Azerbaijan`s state-religion relations, founded by national leader Heydar Aliyev is being studied and researched by other states. It is deserved to mention that the policy of Azerbaijan on regulation state-religion relations is being carefully watched and highly appreciated by the international community. Declaration of 2017 Year of Islamic Solidarity is a step that responds the challenges of the modern world in a timely manner. Year of Solidarity is not only a religious factor, but also it expresses more support to Muslim countries and enhances solidarity among them in the sphere of economy, culture and morality while this initiative is an answer to those who want to plant seeds of discord in our midst.”
“At the same time, holding very important international event – the Fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in the country shows the well reputation of independent Azerbaijan in the Muslim world. Numerous international conferences, seminars and events have kicked off in the country and abroad in the framework of Action Plan on «Year of Islamic Solidarity». The Caucasian Muslims Board (CMB) and the State Committee on Religious Associations of the Republic of Azerbaijan jointly organized four international conferences in the direction of strengthening Islamic solidarity, propagation of Islam and forcing solidarity for fighting radicalism,” Pashazade says.
“Today not only religious, but also, ethnic conflicts and misunderstandings occur. Azerbaijani people were more subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide in the end of the 20th century by Armenia. The aggression policy of Armenians has been accompanied by massacres through the history. As the result of military aggression by Armenia, 20 percent of internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions have been occupied as well as almost one millions of people have become refugees and internally displaced persons. Numerous historical, cultural and religious monument in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan have been brutally destroyed, humiliated and most of mosques have been turned into pig stables. The UN and OIC resolutions, which clearly recognize Armenia as an aggressor, must be the main message to all Muslim countries that want to develop relations with the invader because Armenia`s policy of occupation is an attack not only on Azerbaijan`s religious and cultural assets, but on historic and cultural legacy of Islam in general,” the article concludes.
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