OSCE representatives discuss religious situation in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 11 / Trend M. Aliyev /
No religious conflicts have occurred up to now in Azerbaijan, Deputy Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Bahar Muradova said during a meeting with personal representatives of the OSCE chairman on combating intolerance Adil Akhmetov, Andrew Baker, Catherine McGuinness and head of ODIHR's Tolerance Department Azra Junuzovic, on a visit to Azerbaijan.
Muradova stressed the high level of tolerance in Azerbaijan. She said that such important issues as multiculturalism, religious tolerance, Islamophobia, strengthening intercultural and interreligious dialogue, etc. were discussed in the autumn session of the OSCE PA in Tirana.
"The Azerbaijani delegation actively participates in the discussion and promotion of the OSCE values in the world," she said. "This is a brilliant example of our cooperation."
Representatives of international organizations, politicians involved in the ongoing important events in Baku, appreciate the level of tolerance in Azerbaijan, as well as the conditions created for representatives of all faiths and communities, she said.
"The representatives of various faiths and nations have lived together in peace for many centuries as a family without any controversy," he said. Muslims make up 95 percent of the population in Azerbaijan, Christians 4 percent, and the representatives of other religions - the rest part. There is a progressive legal framework and relevant institutions guaranteeing equality of rights and freedoms of all citizens regardless of nation or creed. The Azerbaijani parliament seeks to honor, preserve and deliver these important traditions to the future generations."
She added that despite religious conflicts have never occurred in Azerbaijan, unfortunately, some circles and politicians want to give a religious feature to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"In fact, it is not a religious or ethnic conflict," she said. "This conflict began on the basis of Armenia's territorial claims against Azerbaijan."
Adil Ahmatov described its mission and said that the purpose of the visit was to eliminate the differences and to examine the relations between different religions, etc.
After leaving Azerbaijan, the delegation will visit Armenia. A report prepared following the visit will be presented to the OSCE Permanent Council.
Andrew Baker and Catherine McGuinness stressed that they saw mutual understanding and trust between national minorities and religious communities during the meetings in Azerbaijan.
The guests appreciated the fact that different peoples have been represented in the Azerbaijani state bodies. It was stressed that the Azerbaijani model of tolerance is an example for other countries. This experience must be applied everywhere.