PACE member: Azerbaijan can be good example of interfaith relations
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 22 / Trend I.Isabalayeva /
A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe expressed satisfaction with the attitude toward other religions in Azerbaijan.
"The Inter-religious relations in Azerbaijan are a good example for our study", EPP Chairman at PACE Luca Volonte said at a "round table" held by theAzerbaijani State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations.
Chairman of the Community of Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan Semen Ikhiilov stressed that though Jews have lived in the country for a very long period, there has never been anti-Semitism.
"We have never felt anti-Semitism. We have not been told that 'you are Jewish - you cannot be represented in the parliament or other government agencies.' I am happy that I live in Azerbaijan and very pleased with ethnic relations in our country. The president has always shown attention and care for the Jews. This is confirmed by the construction of a synagogue in Baku", Ikhiilov said.
The European guests visited the Armenian Church in Baku, member of Azerbaijani delegation to PACE and deputy chairman of the Euronest PA Elkhan Suleymanov said.
"The Armenian church in Baku is the same as when it was built. This is evidence of tolerance in Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, Armenians destroy the historical and religious monuments of Azerbaijan in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia", Suleymanov said.
Today about 524 Islamic religious communities and 34 communities of other religions, including 23 Christian, seven Jewish, and three Baha'i, and Hare Krishna, officially operate in the country.
There are 11 churches in Azerbaijan (three Orthodox and one Catholic in Baku, one Orthodox in Ganja and Khachmaz, an Albanian Udi church in Gabala, and four Georgian Orthodox church in Gakh ) and six synagogues (two in Baku, Oguz , and Guba). There are also 26 houses of worship, in which representatives of Christian denominations hold religious ceremonies.