By Special Correspondent in Baku: –
“Today, the Islamic world is dealing with serious problems and conflicts, the wars continue in some Muslim countries, the innocent people are killed. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which emerged as a result of Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani lands, problems such as Palestine and Kashmir, conflicts in the Middle East are among them. Some of the circles who use these events are trying to present Islam to the world as the terror religion, which undoubtedly requires the strengthening of Islamic solidarity among Muslim states.”
This statement was made by Farid Shahbazli, chairman of the Azerbaijan “Young Reformers” Public Union. He said that Azerbaijan as a Muslim state takes important steps to strengthen Islamic solidarity and to present its peace-loving nature to the world. “For this purpose, 2017 was declared by President Ilham Aliyev as the year of Islamic Solidarity and was organized Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games. Participating in major events organized in Azerbaijan within the framework of “Islamic Solidarity year”, as well as Muslim countries participating in the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games gave a message of peace and stability to the whole world”.
According to Shahbazli, after restoration of state independence in the early 1990s, freedom of religion and conscience was established in Azerbaijan, significant work was done in the restoration of religious monuments, mosques and temples.
If there were only 17 mosques in Azerbaijan during the USSR, their number reached 2166 by the beginning of 2017. “At present, 306 mosques are protected by the state as a historical monument. On a commission and support of President Ilham Aliyev, Bibiheybat mosque-sanctuary complex, Tazapir mosque, Icherisheher Juma and Hazret Mohammed mosques, Ajdarbey Mosque, Shamakhy Juma Mosque, Ganja Imamzadeh Complex and dozens of other religious monuments and mosques have been renovated and restored by the state for the benefit of believers. The announcement of 2016 as the Year of Multiculturalism, 2017 as the Year of Islamic Solidarity in the Republic of Azerbaijan proves that it is possible to create a society model based on the harmony of religious and cultural diversity and present it to the whole world.”
F. Shahbazli further said that relations with all Muslim countries of Azerbaijan are based on principles of friendship and brotherhood. He emphasized that independent Azerbaijan always paid special attention to the relations with Islamic world: “Azerbaijan’s first diplomatic missions started operating in Muslim countries, and in brief space of time our state has become an active member of the organizations that unite the Muslim world, such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), ISESCO. He will closely cooperate with Muslim countries in promoting the universal and Islamic values of the Islamic world.”