Dear Congress participants,

I cordially welcome You, participants of the XI Congress in Baku, and wish the Congress success.

From the ancient times, the Caucasus has been one of the unique regions of the world, rich with customs and traditions, moral-spiritual values formed by its inhabitants. The contributions, the Caucasian nations have made to the human culture along the history are weighty and valuable. With the advent of Islam in the Caucasus, a new epoch began in the history of the regional nations, and the Heaven-sent wisdoms of the holy Koran set bases for lifestyle of the people, national-moral values. Ever since, the Islamic civilization have made a strong impulse on the social-economic, scientific and cultural development of the Caucasus peoples and the men of genius of the region, in their turn, have enormously enriched this civilization.

Islamic religion is that of peace, fraternity and cooperation. Along with all peace-loving forces, the September 11, 2001 tragic events in the United States of America were unanimously condemned by Moslem religious figures as well; at the same time, the attempts to give a religious slant to them were resolutely rejected. Indeed, violence and terror have nothing in common with Islamic religion, which is based on the principles of mercy and sympathy.

Tolerance and good neighboring are one of the noble features of Islam that have been observed in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan over the history. Now, we can say with a feeling of pride, that in our region, there has never been a confrontation on religious base. This fact vividly demonstrates the constant adherence of the Caucasian Moslems to the Islamic values inviting people to peace and welfare. None of the conflicts, including the one over Nagorno-Garabakh, unleashed in our region by some political forces has a religious reason. This is the result of the policy of separatism conducted by the forces hostile towards independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. The efforts by the Caucasian Moslems Clerical Office and religious figures on the way of establishment of religious tolerance, settlement of the conflicts in the region are worthy of approval. Since gaining its independence, Azerbaijan has been following the path of building democratic and legal state. The government of Azerbaijan considers ensuring citizens’ all freedoms reflected in the Constitution, including the liberty of conscience, as a main part of its policy. The state – religion relations formed in Azerbaijan are internationally recognized as a useful and advantageous model.

Instilling beautiful moral values of Islam in the citizens of Azerbaijan, as well as their education in this spirit, have a positive effect on the moral state of society. The Azerbaijan Government highly appreciates the activity of the Islamic religious figures in this sphere.

Dear Congress delegates,

The XI congress of the Caucasian Moslems is the first one in the third millennium. The century sets all strata of the society, including religious figures new tasks and makes new demands. I am confident that in the course of this congress you will discuss the issues of forming further activity of the Caucasian Moslems in accordance with the tasks, settlement of all-Caucasian problems, closer co-operation for propaganda of the Islamic values, and adopt appropriate resolutions.

I wish you all great successes in your high-minded activity, good health and happiness.

Heydar Aliyev

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

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