Azerbaijan embarks on “ousting policy” against religious radicalism

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

Before the rise of radicalism in the region and the dangers such a trend represents Azerbaijan has decided to act and directly oppose extremism.

Sitting at a crossroad in between two big religious civilizations, Azerbaijan has always been keen to promote tolerance throughout in order to promote peace.

Law enforcement bodies and religious ideological organizations have carried out definite work towards restricting and eliminating undesirable radical tendencies.

Head of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations, Mubariz Gurbanli said Azerbaijan would fight religious radicalism until it has completely disappeared.

Gurbanli noted that Azerbaijan is an Islamic country having particular religious values and national traditions that have been passed from generation to generation.

“Azerbaijan is doing significant work towards preserving these values. No radical group can function and will function in our country. Because, that is the desire of our society, traditions and Islamic values which we support,” he added.

Along with applying its own practice in combating religious radicalism, Azerbaijan also presses ahead with the experiences of different countries in an effort to possess a universal skill in this field.

In this view, Gurbanli exampled Turkey’s practice, saying that there are almost no radical group functioning in Turkey, primarily because of the wide state-level propaganda and strong Islamic values.

“We will absolutely apply and benefit Turkey’s practice,” he said.

Azerbaijan defined three major directions in which to combat religious extremism based on the operative and uninterrupted involvement of law enforcement bodies.

Internal Ministry, National Security Ministry, as well as prosecutor’s offices are responsible for the neutralization of radical groups, as well as the integration back into society of extremists.

Gurbanli said the committee he represents and National Security Ministry co-conduct particular projects to prevent the books containing radical religious opinions from being disseminated in the country’s territory.

The second major direction for fighting religious extremism is focused on combatting in the economic spheres through the cooperation of the Taxes Ministry, the State Customs Committee, the Finance Ministry and other state bodies.

Foreign forces abroad have often worked to finance radical groups in pursuit of their own agenda, looking to create wide networks, using money to attract the youth.

Gurbanli said radical groups have used various means to make money — the sale of religious books, supply of certain goods free of charge to attract supporters to their cause – armed conflicts in the region and abroad.

“Azerbaijan made particular amendments to the legislation to stop those activities and protect society against extremism,” he noted.

Propaganda of religious values is of great importance in view of building a stronghold against the penetration of radical religious tendencies. Religious values here act as a tool to “antidote” the infection that comes from extremism.

“Our committee and Caucasus Muslims Office team up to propagate Islamic values via media, various conferences and workshops throughout Azerbaijan,” Gurbanli said.

Gurbanli announced that Azerbaijan will embark on an “ousting policy” against religious radicalism.

“We will absolutely pulverize the forces standing against Azerbaijan’s traditional values, as well as attempting to promote its political interests under a religious mask. Azerbaijan will carry out an “ousting policy” against religious extremists till the end,” he said.

SOURCE: Azer News