Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.17
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
During the period of cooperation with the OSCE, Azerbaijan has taken serious steps to restore the values of the organization in both the country and throughout the region. And that is why Azerbaijan still rightfully expects a unified position on the issue of its territorial integrity from the OSCE.
Vice-Speaker of the Milli Majlis (parliament), head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the OSCE PA (Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Bahar Muradova made the remarks Nov.17 in Baku at an international conference on "Strengthening of religious tolerance: a model of Azerbaijan, challenges in the OSCE region and beyond."
She said that the religious and ethnic tolerance in Azerbaijan has several aspects, the first of which is historical.
"Several thousand years' of Azerbaijan's history shows the people living on this land lived in conditions of mutual understanding, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation. A number of ethnic and religious conflicts, territorial claims, acts of aggression imposed on us from outside did not force us to live with a sense of revenge, but, on the contrary, we tried to find ways out of these situations together," she said.
If at different stages of the millennial history we were able to maintain an understanding that we all are children of humanity, people, we owe it to our nature and national identity, Muradova said.
"The second important aspect of the model is the Azerbaijani national basis," said the vice-speaker. "A number of different nationalities have always lived in Azerbaijan, but the leading nation, people were Azerbaijanis. Their character, ethnicity, tolerance and patience promoted to a fact that the people living on this land kept these traditions and values. Therefore, there has never been a confrontation on a national basis."
She said that the third aspect of the Azerbaijani model is a religious one.
"Some 96 percent of the population living in Azerbaijan is Muslim," said Muradova.
"We never distinguished people by their nationality and religion, and this is our strength. We are proud of this, and it is our way of life."
She said that national, religious tolerance in Azerbaijan has always shown itself in the political sphere.
"One of the priorities of state-building of all entities that existed on the territory of Azerbaijan, was to ensure the coexistence of peoples, ethnic groups and the presence of various religious movements," said the vice-speaker.
"We are proud that we have a state system that combines national, religious and historical traditions of Azerbaijan, the legal legislative framework and, most importantly, the political will, which we constantly demonstrate in the OSCE region," said Muradova. "Regardless of where they live, all peoples, ethnic groups, religious communities must live in peace and security. That is what the Azerbaijani model, which prevails in the OSCE region, consists of."