Daily Sabah: Azerbaijan - pearl of Islamic culture
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 6
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:
As one of the most important centers of Islamic civilization, Azerbaijan has played an important role in spreading the Islamic religion and forming the Islamic Renaissance, Faig Baghirov, Azerbaijani ambassador to Turkey, said in the article published in Turkey’s Daily Sabah.
According to the article, all of these created the conditions for the establishment of material and an intangible cultural heritage of the Islamic religion in Azerbaijan. The Shamakhi Juma Mosque, built in 743 A.D., and old manuscripts preserved at the museums of Azerbaijan are obvious examples of this.
Even in the Soviet period, the people of Azerbaijan managed to preserve their language, religion, culture and other values, Baghirov said.
Thanks to the special care and support of the Azerbaijani state for the Islamic values, in recent years the precious buildings of Islamic culture, like Bibiheybet, Tezepir, Ejderbey, Shamakhi Juma mosque and the "Imamzade" complex in Ganja city, have been rebuilt and reconstructed, and the Heydar Mosque, the greatest religious building in the South Caucasus, has been built in the capital city Baku, the article said.
By being elected as the member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), as well as other prestigious organizations that bring Muslim countries together, the Republic of Azerbaijan has established mutually beneficial relations with the Islamic world and acted as the organizer of some important global cultural forums, the article said.
For the continuation of these activities and as the host country of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a declaration to make 2017 the Year of Islamic Solidarity, Baghirov said.
In 20 sport branches, more than 3,000 athletes representing 57 countries are expected to take part in the Games to be held on May 12-22 in Baku, which is a new record as so many countries have never participated in any previous Islamic Solidarity Games, the article said.
According to the article, Mehriban Aliyeva, the first vice president of Azerbaijan and chairman of the Organization Committee of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, said the integration of the entire Islamic world in Baku for the sake of friendship, brotherhood, peace and cooperation will set the scene for a great sports festival and at the same time will contribute to cooperation among Muslim countries.
It should be noted that the government of Azerbaijan maintains and promotes Islamic values and culture as well as formulates principles for peaceful coexistence and multicultural ideals at a time when the countries and societies of the world are experiencing serious human tragedies caused by religious intolerance, racial discrimination and an increase in Islamophobic tendencies, Baghirov said.
Under the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev, the continuity of the multicultural environment that has historically shaped our country is being fortified and important steps are being taken to present this valuable contribution to world politics, the article said.
The establishment of the Baku International Multicultural Center and organization of the Intercultural Dialogue and other humanitarian forums in Baku every two years, with the participation of high level politicians from many countries of the world, are obvious examples of the contribution Azerbaijan is making to the development of multicultural programs, Baghirov said.
Unfortunately, while Azerbaijan encourages different religions and nations to live in peace, 20 percent of its internationally recognized territory has been occupied by Armenia and more than 1 million people who have been forced to leave their historical lands still cannot return to their homes, the article said.
More than 900 religious cultural monuments have been completely destroyed in the occupied Azerbaijani territories as a result of Armenian occupation politics and vandalism, the article said.