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Azerbaijani model of tolerance

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Inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance is an element of national identity of Azerbaijani people.

Inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance is an element of national identity of Azerbaijani people.

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  • 1. { Azerbaijani Model of Tolerance
  • 2. On tolerance in Azerbaijan: ‚The people here are friendly; asked who we were, we would simply answer, ‘we are Christians,’ and this would be enough for them.‛ Ambrogio Contarini (XV century Venetian diplomat) Azerbaijan – land of tolerance ´Unlike Russia, Azerbaijan is not a closed country… locals and foreigners can freely travel in the country. They can also do business and trade here.´ Prof. Adam Olearius (1636-39), Secretary to the ambassador sent by Frederick III, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, to the Shah of Persia Azerbaijan, of the former Soviet republics, is "perhaps the best place for Jews to live‚ Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board Documentation Centre, July 1992
  • 3.  National characteristics of Azerbaijani People shaped by historical, geographical and political factors;  Policy of the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on promoting tolerance. Causes of tolerance in Azerbaijan
  • 4. Causes of tolerance in Azerbaijan  The Great Silk Road linked East and West for thousands of years. Caravans of camels and mules carried the spices and silk that gave the road its name from China and India to Byzantium and Europe. Ideas too and beliefs and culture travelled this road.  The spirit of Azerbaijani people was shaped by this flow of travelers and ideas. The Silk Road helped to develop a unique Azerbaijani characteristic— a fusion of hospitality and tolerance toward people of other races and religions.
  • 5. Causes of tolerance in Azerbaujan  Since the early Middle Ages, the dominant current of Islam among Azerbaijani religious scholars has been Tasawwuf, the traditional Islamic teaching of self-improvement and spirituality—better known in the West as Sufism.  Sufism which propounds love, brotherhood and harmony with people, regardless of their ethnic and religious identity has played a major role throughout the Islamic world in spreading tolerance towards other religions, cultures, and races.
  • 6. Religious tolerance in Azerbaijan ZOROASTRIANISM  Azerbaijan was a center of Zoroastrianism;  In the 18th century, Parsi merchants from India travelling along the Great Silk Road discovered the ancient site of a fire temple. They were granted permission by the Muslim rulers (called Khans) of Baku to build here the Atashgah or Temple of Fire;  Over time, Atashgah has become one of the emblems of Azerbaijan. Coat of Arms of the Republic of Azerbaijan reflecting flame in the center.
  • 7. JUDAISM  Jews first settled in the hospitable land of Azer  At the end of the 17th century, Fatali Khan of Guba [in video – portrait of Fatali Khan] granted Jews land to establish a major settlement near the main city of the Guba Chiefdom in northeastern Azerbaijan; it was given the name ‚the Red Village‛, because of the color of its roofs.baijan in the 5th century BC. The Red Village is considered the biggest compact settlement of Jews living in diaspora.  Throughout its history Azerbaijan has been more than just safe place for Jews. According to several international reports today this hospitable land has gained unique prominence as ‚country with zero anti- Semitism‛.  There are 7 functioning synagogues in Azerbaijan at present. Religious tolerance in Azerbaijan
  • 8.  first Christians came to Azerbaijan as early as in I century AC  According to Moses of Kalankatuyk (historian of Caucasian Albania) built the first church in the Caucasus and three centuries later Christianity was accepted as the state religion of the Kingdom of the Caucasian Albania. Azerbaijanis preserved this ancient church, which is in the modern-day village of Kish.  Another ancient church from Caucasian Albania is in Kurmuk, in the north of Azerbaijan. Today Muslim– Azerbaijanis and Christian–Georgians come together at this unique church to celebrate the festival Kurmukoba, in Christian tradition the St. George’s Day.  There are 13 functioning churches of different Christian denominations in Azeraijan CHRISTIANITY Religious tolerance in Azerbaijan
  • 9.  Cathedral of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers, built in 1909 by prominent Azerbaijani Muslim oil tycoon and philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. This beautiful church was restored by another prominent Azerbaijani businessman Aydin Gurbanov in 2001.  Ortodox Christians are scond largest religious community in Azerbaijan Religious tolerance in Azerbaijan CHRISTIANITY
  • 10. Although, neighbor Armenia waged war against Azerbaijan and seized 20% of its land including Azerbaijanis’ cultural heartland – Karabakh, even the destruction of mosques and tombs in these still occupied territories has not been able to shake people’s respect for other faiths. Religious tolerance in Azerbaijan The Armenian Church still stands not only undamaged in central Baku but also renovated by Azerbaijani Government. In 2010, it was visited by the Armenian religious leader, Catholicos Garegin II, after an official meeting of the leaders of world Christian Churches with President Ilham Aliyev. Armenian Church
  • 11. Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan Article 7 p.1: Azerbaijan is democratic, legal, secular, unitary republic. Article 18. Religion and state  I. Religion in the Azerbaijan Republic is separated from state. All religions are equal before the law.  II. Spreading and propaganda of religions humiliating people’ dignity and contradicting the principles of humanism are prohibited.  III. State educational system is secular Government’s policy on promoting tolerance LEGAL BACKGROUND
  • 12.  Committed to bridge the historic traditions with the modern development of the country the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan launches numerous projects, both at national and international levels to foster the atmosphere of interreligious tolerance and respect. Government’s policy on promoting tolerance
  • 13. THE STATE COMMITTEE ON RELIGIOUS ASSOCIATIONS  The committee was established on June 21, 2001 in accordance with the Article 48 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan on religious freedoms by the Presidential Decree to supervise the activities of religious organizations in the country as well as protect, create conditions for and guarantee religious freedoms to citizens and residents of Azerbaijan. Government Agency
  • 14.  So far 730 religious communities have been registered in the State Committee  34 of them are non-Islam communities:  22 Christian, 8 Judaic, 1 deity of Krishna and 3 Baha’i religious communities. Registered Religious Communities THE STATE COMMITTEE ON RELIGIOUS ASSOCIATIONS
  • 15.  In 2002, Pope John Paul II visited Baku at the invitation of the Nation’s Leader, Heydar Aliyev. During the visit, the Pope delivered aid for Azerbaijani refugees from Karabakh— victims of ethnic cleansing and consecrated the site for the building of a new Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Seven years later, the erection of the church was completed with the assistance of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, headed by the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva. Government’s policy on promoting tolerance
  • 16.  President Ilham AliyevIn has initiated rebuilding and renovation of the historic places of worship in Azerbaijan.  Azerbaijan is also playing host to many international conventions where world religious leaders and prominent experts gather to explore ways to strengthen interreligious tolerance on a global level. Government’s policy on promoting tolerance

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