Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 18
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
'Unlike many other countries in the world, there is no discrimination, no social hostility and no organized manifestation of anti-Semitism in Azerbaijan,'' Willy Fautré, Chairman of Human Rights Without Frontiers(HRWF), a Brussels-based NGO promoting human rights and religious tolerance at the European Parliament and in other EU institutions said.
Fautré led a fact finding mission of his organization that visited last August a dozen non-Muslim religious communities of Azerbaijan, the article said.
Azerbaijan is a secular country where people of different confessions - Islam, Christianity, Judaism and others - have lived together for centuries in peace and harmony and where Islamic fundamentalist ideas have had no success in the tolerant atmosphere of the country, the material said.
"Jews, Christians, Muslims enjoy full freedom of religion and the presence of Jews in Azerbaijan has never provoked hostile reactions," the HRWF Director said.
'Religious leaders of Islam, Christianity and heads of Jewish communities show tolerance towards other religions, the article said.
All these elements have created a specific culture which cultivates tolerance towards all religions and inter-faith solidarity, the material said.
A new synagogue was opened in Baku in 2003 thanks to the generosity of donors of various faiths, including Azerbaijani Muslims and in the same year a first Jewish school was granted a state teaching license, the article said.
Moisey Bekker, a representative of the religious community of Georgian Jews in Azerbaijan, confirmed the traditionally strong ties between the Jewish community and the country.
"Azerbaijan's successful model of religious tolerance is applicable for other parts of the world too", Elshad Iskandarov, Chairman of State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations said.
According to Iskandarov, the tolerance of the Azerbaijani society dates back to the country's tradition.
Iskandarov defined Azerbaijan's approach to religious tolerance as "positive secularism".