BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sep 17
Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Structures in Azerbaijan, Mubariz Gurbanli, met with President of the Congress of Christian Leaders and former commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Johnny Moore, Trend reports citing the State Committee.
Welcoming the guest, Gurbanli provided detailed information on the importance attached to multicultural and tolerant traditions and interfaith harmony in Azerbaijan. It was noted that the stability of the religious situation in the country, the high level of tolerance, the absence of discrimination among citizens on the basis of religious beliefs create favorable conditions for the activities of non-Islamic religious organizations. Noting that 37 non-Islamic religious organizations are registered in Azerbaijan, the Chairman of the State Committee stressed that the granting of financial assistance from the state budget to them, as well as to Islamic religious communities, is become a tradition.
Referring to a report recently released by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Mubariz Gurbanli said the document was not factual and biased. He pointed out that during the second Karabakh war, the Azerbaijani army restored the country’s territorial integrity, ending 30 years of occupation. The fact that the report lacks information on the ethnic cleansing and genocide perpetrated by Armenia during the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, the armenization of Azerbaijani toponyms, churches related to the cultural heritage of ancient Albania and churches Orthodox, destruction, as well as hundreds of historical and cultural monuments, more than 60 mosques and about 200 temples, keeping cattle in dilapidated mosques, which constitutes a desecration of religious values, carrying out works of forgery by the Armenia, as well as the fact that unfounded allegations are made in the document, is regrettable. Gurbanli stressed the need for members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to visit Azerbaijan to familiarize themselves with the real situation and prepare more objective and honest reports.
Expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome, Johnny Moore said he had witnessed the dire consequences of the vandalism and destruction of the Armenians. He welcomed the restoration work carried out in the liberated territories. Emphasizing that during his visits to Azerbaijan, he witnessed a great tolerance and a multicultural environment, a general atmosphere of friendship between representatives of different religions in society, the guest said that he had met members of the Christian community “Azerbaijan Bible Society” in Baku, who expressed satisfaction with the attention and care given to religious denominations.
Johnny Moore noted that as commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, he always tried to include in his reports the realities and facts he witnessed in our country and, disagreeing with the conclusion on the violation of religious freedoms in Azerbaijan, he made his official warning about it.