Religious and ethnic minorities feel secure in Azerbaijan - OSCE

Religious and ethnic minorities feel secure in Azerbaijan - OSCE

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.6

By Gulgiz Muradova - Trend:

Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism since 2009, talked to Trend in an exclusive interview.

Question: How does Europe fight with the increasing trends of Islamophobia, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in its area? Can you please specify the core reasons and sources for such dangerous tendencies?

Answer: There are both short-term concerns which require attention and long-term strategies that must be employed. To speak generally, we must first focus on addressing the basic and very real security challenges, which is a particular threat to Jewish communities in Europe. There are problems of discrimination in employment and housing and being profiled by authorities which primarily concern Muslims in Europe; enforcement of existing anti-discrimination legislation would help. With large numbers of refugees and migrants recently arrived in Europe and right-wing populist forces playing on fear and xenophobia, it is a necessary but uphill battle to send out a message of tolerance and inclusion. Of course, over the long-term we need better education tools to diminish these prejudices.

In Europe today (and not only in Europe) societies are growing increasingly fearful and uncertain about the future. The unquestioned belief that a stronger union and integration of Europe with continued enlargement was not only inevitable but to everyone’s economic and social benefit has been shattered. This is leading people to put up walls—figuratively and physically—and try to protect one’s own narrowly-defined piece of the larger society.

Q.:Realizing the threats coming from this trends, what particular steps does the OSCE take to tackle the problem?

A.:The existing positions in the OSCE, including my own and my colleagues, who serve as personal representatives on tolerance issues can raise attention and press individual governments to focus on these concerns. In some cases, they will take to heart the recommendations that are part of the official reporting. ODIHR is a critical resource to engage civil society and channel their concerns and recommendations into the practical measures that governments should take. These include the recently released guidelines on Jewish community security as well as expert meetings and conferences intended to promote intergroup dialogue, respect for freedom of religion and belief and teacher training materials.

Q.:Azerbaijan is one of the safest countries for different religions to live together in peace and harmony. What points would you underline in the example of Azerbaijan for preserving religious tolerance in different societies with multi-ethnic and multi-religious composition?

A.:It is certainly true that Azerbaijan offers an important example of how various religious and ethnic groups coexist in a spirit of respect and cooperation. I can say this from my own personal experience of visiting the country multiple times over the past two decades. Some people may believe that diversity in religion and ethnicity can only lead to discord, so merely observing Azerbaijan up close can dispel this view. At its root, i believe, is the sense that each of these groups feel secure in their place in the country. This is a function of the dialogue and cooperation that goes back centuries—as we see in the Quba region—but also in a government policy that reinforces this message.

Q.:What types of co-existence efforts of Jews and Muslims in Azerbaijan would you highlight? Q.:For instance, Krasnoya Slaboda is home to one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world, while world's first museum of Mountain Jews will appear in Azerbaijan.

A.:I have noted above the special nature of the Jewish-Muslim relationship to be found in the Quba region of Azerbaijan. Most people including Jews in the west are largely unaware of Krasnoya Slaboda, and it is a truly unique town. Of course today most of the mountain Jews, who once lived there have moved elsewhere. If they are still in the country they are now primarily in Baku, where the sense of acceptance and appreciation is still very real. Certainly, we can all benefit from presenting this living message of mutual respect and cooperation to an international audience, especially in this uncertain time.

Rabbi Andrew Baker is director of International Jewish Affairs at the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which he joined in 1979. A leading expert on anti-Semitism in Europe, he travels extensively to strengthen relations between the AJC and Jewish communities worldwide. Throughout most of the 1990s, as director of European Affairs, Rabbi Baker promoted tolerance in the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. He is active in Holocaust restitution issues and in 2003 was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit by Germany for his work on German-Jewish relations.

---

Follow the author on Twitter:@GulgizD

Kazakhstan, Russia eye increasing mutual flights
Kazakhstan, Russia eye increasing mutual flights
Ukraine to launch new flights to Azerbaijan
Ukraine to launch new flights to Azerbaijan
Pilot cargo transportation between Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan carried out via digital procedure
Pilot cargo transportation between Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan carried out via digital procedure
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijani marine infantry personnel return to place of permanent deployment (PHOTO)
Delivery process of logistic support assets for peacekeeping contingent in Azerbaijan continues (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgian economy sees decrease due to COVID-19 lockdown
Return of Lachin district by Azerbaijan has not only important political, but also economic significance - Georgian expert
AP publishes article highlighting political success of Azerbaijan over Karabakh conflict
Foreign trade operations between Azerbaijan and Poland up
Georgia reveals details of Fourth Stage of Anti-Crisis Plan
Azerbaijani Culture Minister gives interview to France 24
Gradual liberalization of wholesale and retail electricity markets defined in Georgia
Import of aluminum by Azerbaijan up
Georgia approves volume of external debt planned for 2021
Development of well-functioning gas hub to diversify Georgia’s gas market
Uzbekistan, Belarus eye signing mutual tourism dev’t agreement
Demand for tobacco products in Azerbaijan may decline amid pandemic crisis
UAE based company to grow cannabis in Uzbekistan’s Syrdarya region
Fiat brand to electrify 60% of its models by end-2021
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry auctions state medium-term bonds
Georgian hazelnut-producing company faces with complex logistics
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on December 2
Number of phishing attacks on Azerbaijani web sites down
European culture to have new dimensions with Lachin's liberation - US expert
Enagas working on 12 projects in hydrogen developments
Spanish Enagas moving towards more sustainable energy model
Azerbaijan's mortgage fund puts up new bond tranche for auction
Georgia names number of beneficiaries of discount cards under agro-diesel promotion program
World Bank helps Georgia to purchase equipment in its fight against coronavirus
Italy decreases crude petroleum oil import from Kazakhstan year-on-year
Azerbaijan's minister of transport meets UK ambassador
Municipality of Italy's Milan adopts document in support of Azerbaijan
Ganja teenager won a bronze medal at the International Olympiad in Informatics!
Production at Azerbaijan’s Kursangi, Garabagli fields adjusted under OPEC+ deal
Georgia reveals Top-5 insurance companies by car insurance premiums
Israeli startups raised over $900m in November
Afrosiyob Palace hotel in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand region put up for auction
Absolute volume of mortgage loans in Azerbaijan grows in 10M2020
Kazakhstan creating e-maps of farmlands to support farmers
Projects linking Turkmenistan with South Caucasus may be of great interest to Belgium - ambassador
Georgia sees increase in persimmon and caraway seeds export
Uzbekistan meets criteria for participation in GSP+, EU commission says
Kazakhstan-based ArcelorMittal Temirtau JSC looks to expand export supplies
Azerbaijan increases production of construction materials
BP PETROLLERİ A.S. reduces aviation fuels exports
First VP Mehriban Aliyeva congratulates Azerbaijani people on liberation of Lachin (PHOTO)
Georgia sees increase in volume of overdue loans
Kazakhstan, Russia eye increasing mutual flights
SHELL & TURCAS PETROL A.S. reduces petroleum products’ sales in Turkey
UK retailer Debenhams to be liquidated
Pfizer-BioNTech seek EU emergency approval for COVID-19 vaccine, target December rollout
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 1
Georgian Stock Exchange launches debut depositary notes
Ukraine to launch new flights to Azerbaijan
Employment in Iran's Zanjan Province increases
Uzbek-Korean JV announces tender for spare parts
Gas supply projects for Kazakh cities to help improve social conditions of citizens
Azerbaijanis in Switzerland protest against 'Le Temps' newspaper of succumbing to Armenian provocation
Wheat cultivation increases in Iran
OPEC+ likely to reach compromise to delay increase in production
Give city of Marseille to Armenians, change its name, create second state for them there - President Aliyev to French Senate
Baku Textile Factory to produce millions of face masks during December 2020
Total amount of transactions on Turkmen State Commodity Exchange for November 2020
Georgia reports 3,759 new cases of coronavirus
We are back Lachin! - Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry
EU supports Georgia in strengthening electricity market reforms
Pensions to increase in Georgia from January 1
Singapore Cooperation Enterprise to support e-commerce dev't in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan confirms 4,426 new COVID-19 cases, 1,995 recoveries
Azerbaijan's volume of deposits in national currency edges up
Iranian gov't has one-month deadline to suspend implementation of NPT Additional Protocol
Current average cotton yield in Azerbaijan exceeds last year's - Agriculture Ministry
Import of defense industry products by Georgia from Turkey up
More private Turkmen companies manufacture dairy products
Uzbekneftegaz JSC opens tender for IT services
Pilot cargo transportation between Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan carried out via digital procedure
Uzbekistan's Kafolat Insurance Company shows solid financial performance amid coronavirus lockdowns
Georgian Phazis Oil Company implementing Kulevi high-technology oil refinery project
AzerTelecom’s digital infrastructure project along bottom of Caspian Sea discussed at “Turkmentel 2020” conference (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan establishing connection with its integral part, Nakhchivan. Azerbaijan connects with Turkey - President Aliyev
People living in Nagorno-Karabakh today are citizens of Azerbaijan - President Aliyev
We are demonstrating to whole world that we are great, invincible people - President Aliyev
A new era begins for our country - President of Azerbaijan
I wonder what conditions Pashinyan can put forward today and who he can put forward those seven conditions to - President Aliyev
Armenia, you are a dead end. We made you a dead end - President of Azerbaijan
Festive procession in Baku in connection with liberation of Azerbaijan’s Lachin district (PHOTO)
Activities of Iran's Arak nuclear reactor to restore soon
President Aliyev comments on implementation of statement signed on 10 November
Lachin corridor passes through city of Lachin, therefore, we propose to build new corridor - President Aliyev
Khazar Consortium opens tender for maintenance in Turkmenistan
Lachin residents visit Alley of Martyrs in Azerbaijan’s Baku (PHOTO)
In matter of 44 days, we destroyed equipment Armenia been collecting for 30 years - President Aliyev
Activity of Azerbaijani users on Facebook greatly increases
President Aliyev names destroyed, taken as spoils of war equipment of Armenian army
Azerbaijani banks increase demand for foreign currency
Half of Armenia’s wheat harvest came from our lands - President of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan decreases value of copper products import in 10M2020
Armenia did not want to return single centimeter of land to us - President of Azerbaijan
Unlike Armenian leadership, we have strategic vision - President of Azerbaijan
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's Khuzestan Province grows
Initial version of statement suggested that width of Lachin corridor should be 30 kilometers, I was categorically against this - President Aliyev
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is gone - President of Azerbaijan
When Lachin district was occupied, there was struggle for power in Baku - President of Azerbaijan
All news