Azerbaijan rejects religious discord

By: Jamila Babayeva

Caucasian Muslim Board (CMB) intends to fight those who spread religious discord regardless of their religion.

CMB chairman Alahshukur Pashazade made the remarks at a conference dedicated to launching the first improvement courses for religious figures on May 13.

“If something happens to me, my companions will continue this work,” he said.

CMB has organized the courses for religious leaders from different regions of the country, and they last 30 days.

State Adviser on Multinational, Multicultural and Religious Affairs of Azerbaijan Kamal Abdulla, First Deputy Chairman of State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Sayyad Salahli, and other officials attended the conference.

Pashazade noted that religious leaders should use religion to benefit people.

“Religious leaders must contribute to the development of the state and liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the destruction of historical monuments should trouble them,” he said.

Speaking about the Azerbaijani citizens fighting in Syria, Pashazade described it as unacceptable.

Addressing the event, Abdulla said conducting courses for improving religious leaders is a historic event, and unprecedented work was done for this project.

He also stressed that any attempt to split the country is doomed to failure today, as Azerbaijan will answer any action against the state’s ideology.

“Today, religion-state relations in Azerbaijan are at the highest level,” he said. “Azerbaijan is already known as a tolerant and multicultural country in the world.”

Dean of the Theology Faculty of the Baku State University Vasim Mammadaliyev, in turn, said enlightenment in the religious sphere does not satisfy the CMB.

“If the status of martyrs is explained to the society by religious leaders, no one will join the armed conflict in Syria,” he said. “Martyrs are those who sacrificed their lives for their country, honor, and religion. Those who fight for money cannot be called martyrs.”

Mammadaliyev went on to say that Islamic religious figures in the country will have a uniform within a month.

Salahli, in turn, said it is impossible to gain a victory in any other sphere without a victory in the ideological sphere.

“Ideological efforts must be carried out in all spheres. It is very important that we had spiritual followers. Great leader Heydar Aliyev has always attached great importance to this,” he said.

Salahli also noted that it is important to prevent the use of certain religious beliefs for other purposes.

“We respect the religious beliefs of individuals and do not mind their religious activities,” he said. “This is allowed by the Constitution. But we must prevent the use of individual religious beliefs for other purposes. Therefore, improvement courses for religious leaders are very important.”