Fund Should be Established in Azerbaijan to Finance Religion: Head of Caucasus Muslims Clerical Office
Azerbaijan, Baku, 1 Jul/ corr. Trend I. Alizade/ Sheik-us Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Caucasus Muslims Clerical Office (CMCO) believes that the donation boxes in the mosques, sanctuaries and sides of the roads should be banned in Azerbaijan. "Today it is not appropriate to put donation boxes anywhere in Azerbaijan," Pashazade said in his exclusive interview with Trend on 1 July.
A total of 1,750 mosques and over 500 places for worship have been registered in Azerbaijan, the State Committee for the Work with the Religious Associations of Azerbaijan reported. The Government does not exercise control over the donation boxes and there is no official statistics on their number.
The fund where the citizens can voluntarily donate should be established in Azerbaijan to finance religion. "The Council of the Religious Representatives should be established to run this Fund. The representatives of the community should exercise control over the spending of donations. The donations to the Fund will pay the salaries of the mullahs employed in the mosques and worship places, so that they would not charge citizens for reciting prayer for deceased and for ihsan (one of the Three Principles of the Islamic faith (Islam, Iman and Ihsan) which means to do beautiful things). This is my wish and let it come true if God grants," the sheik of Caucasus said. The donations boxes have nothing to do with the Caucasus Muslims Clerical Office, he said.
"Many think that it is CMCO who resolves to put donation boxes. It is not true. There are communities in the mosques comprised of 10 to 20 people. The members of these communities control the donation. They even do not give account of these donations to our Office," Pashazade said and added that the donations are partly spent for the personal purpose.
According to Pashazade, sometimes the worship places are opened for speculation purposes. They do it not for the faith and God, but for their personal interests. "We even do not know the names of some worship places. They defame both our name and Islam. It is inadmissible," CMCO chairman said.
According to Pashazade, CMCO can not punish those involved in speculation of donations as it contradicts the legislation. "The citizens drop money to the box as donation. How can we punish them? If you visit Teze Pir and Ajdar bay mosques, you will see people standing at the entrance. What law can punish them? The citizens should not drop money to the box as donation," Pashazade concluded.