By Hikmat Hajiyev, Head of Press Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan
The article by Joshua Kuchera, “As Islamic Games Open, Azerbaijan Wrestles with Muslim Identity,” on May 15, 2017 does not reflect the objective religious situation existing in my country.
The author in his article puts in the contradictory context the notions of secularism and Muslim identity, fight against radicalism and religious freedom in Azerbaijan.
For centuries Muslims, Christians and Jews are living side-by-side in Azerbaijan in peace and dignity. It is an inherent character of Azerbaijani society and way of living of its people.
If there were only 17 Mosques in Azerbaijan in the Soviet period, the number reached 2,166 at the beginning of 2017. The biggest synagogue in the Caucasus was also recently built in Azerbaijan. Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, during his visit to Baku in September 2016 characterized Azerbaijan as a bridge between different religions and civilizations.
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