Survey results in Azerbaijan not reflect all parameters of attitude towards religion

Politics Materials 14 February 2009 12:14 (UTC +04:00)
Survey results in Azerbaijan not reflect all parameters of attitude towards religion

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 13/ Trend B. Hasanov, R. Khafizoglu/ Gallup survey carried out to find out place of religion in population's life does not fully reflect the attitude of Azeri people towards the religion.

Nearly 21 percent of Azerbaijani respondents positively replied to the question of experts of Gallup International Research Company "is religion the most important part of your daily life?
On this index Azerbaijan ranks the fifth, sharing with Czech Republic.

Estonia was at the top of the list of the most atheist world countries scoring 14 percent. Sweden (17 percent), Denmark (18 percent), Norway (20 percent) followed Estonia. Azerbaijan was the only Muslim country named the top ten of Gallup list.

"If it deals with the implementation of religion in Azerbaijani society from a practical point of view, we can agree with the survey results. But if it deals with whether Azerbaijani population consists of believers, we can not agree with the results, Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, chairman of DEVAMM (Center for Liberty of Conscience and Religion Protection), told Trend on Feb. 13.

In his interview with ITAR-TASS, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said that highly appreciates that Azerbaijan is a high-society state and country's success is connected with it. Islam has deep roots in Azerbaijani society, the President said. "Islam is part of our thought, history and heart. It is a basis of our national, family values, traditions. We highly respect our supreme religion. Besides, other religions already existing in Azerbaijan freely function," President said.

During period of 70 year atheist Soviet regime, serious pressure was put upon people in religion aspect.
Death sentence and exile of scientists specializing on religion, especially in 1920-1930, complicated study of practical side of religion by vast masses and its transmission across the generations.

After the collapse of Soviet, the number of people coming to religion significantly rose from the practical point of view. The tendency towards religion is mainly observed in young generation. However, in many surveys, majority of people say that they believe in Allah.

Islamic scientist Aydin Alizade thinks that the survey held by "Gallup" doesn't reflect the reality of the Azerbaijani society. According to Alizade, the region, where the survey was held, and the layers of inhabitants, who were respondents, is a basic factor that affected the results of the survey. "If the survey is held amongst secular people, the level of piety would exactly be lower. The survey should be held amongst ordinary people to define the level of piety," leading scientific worker of religious philosophy department of Philosophy and Political Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan Aydin Alizade told Trend on Feb.13.

Independent expert, oriental scientist Zardusht Alizade thinks that the survey correctly reflects the position of the religion in Azerbaijani society. "Majority of Azerbaijani population deals with material and social problems. Therefore, the number of people thinking of the essence of life, Allah and hereafter will not exceed 20 percent," Alizade told Trend on Feb.13.

According to the expert, such attitude of Azerbaijani society towards religion can be clarified through the national mentality. Alizade said this mentality was formed as a result of certain historical milestones.

"Azerbaijan lived under the reign of Russia for 200 years which is the reason why the nation deviated away from national and religious values," Alizade said.

Head of the religious organizations department of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Gunduz Ismayilov, such results of the survey was expectable. "This result coincides with the research held by the committee," Ismayilov told Trend on Feb.13.

According to Ismayilov, this index of piety is normal for Azerbaijani society which lived under atheist soviet government for a period of 70 years. Ismayilov added that Azeri people was always more secular which differentiates it from other Muslim countries.

Currently, 1750 mosques and 553 religious communities, majority of which is Muslim, function in Azerbaijan.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at [email protected]