Azerbaijani President: “Our country has always had a strong tradition of multiculturalism”

Baku: “Azerbaijan tries to unite the people, states and civilizations”

“I am very pleased that today the 3rd Forum on Intercultural Dialogue starts in Baku. This is a good indicator and tradition. We are now the third time organizing this global forum. It demonstrates the growing importance of discussing issues of intercultural dialogue,” said President Ilham Aliyev at the official opening ceremony of the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue titled “Sharing Culture for Shared Security,” APA reports.

The Head of State pointed out that there are representatives of more than a hundred states in Baku: “This once again confirms the importance of such discussions. I am sure that during the Forum valuable thoughts will be heard to give positive dynamics of intercultural relations. Azerbaijan has always made efforts in this area, trying to unite the people, states and civilizations. ”

President Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads of civilizations, cultures and religions: “We are between Europe and Asia. Of course, a geographical location played a role in the cultural diversity of Azerbaijan. Representatives of all cultures, religions and ethnic groups have lived for centuries in Azerbaijan in peace and dignity, like a family.

We are proud of the fact that in the years of independence these positive trends even more intensified. It is enough to pay attention to our historical monuments, to clearly see the cultural diversity of Azerbaijan. We are proud of our heritage and culture.

One of the oldest mosques in the world, built in 743, is located in the ancient Azerbaijani city of Shamakhi. One of the oldest churches in the world – the Church of Caucasian Albanians is near another ancient Azerbaijani city Shaki. Orthodox and Catholic churches, synagogues, temples of fire-worshipers are integral parts of our cultural heritage, and we are proud of it. ”

The President stressed that today in Azerbaijan there are representatives of all religions and ethnic groups that contribute to the successful development of the country: “I think that this is one of our greatest possessions. Unfortunately, what is happening today in different parts of the world is of deep concern. We are witnessing a negative trend.

Easing tensions and hostility are one of the most important issues on the international agenda. Our country has always had a strong tradition of multiculturalism, and the establishment of the International Centre for multiculturalism was a further step of our government, aimed at promoting those values.”

President Aliyev stressed that there is no alternative to multiculturalism: “I know that one of the themes of the Forum was devoted to the responsibility of public figures and politicians. In some cases, we see that religious hostility is created artificially.

Sometimes, in different parts of the world, we are witnessing violence on ethnic and religious grounds, and in this case the responsibility of the politicians and the people who can influence the situation increases. Therefore, I believe we should work together to promote the values of multiculturalism. I know that in this regard, there are various opinions, and sometimes – the pessimistic ideas. But there are also positive examples of multiculturalism and Azerbaijan is one of them. I think that to present multiculturalism as a concept, which has no future, is dangerous. On the contrary, if we stop our efforts, the situation in the world will become even worse.

Therefore, an example of such countries as Azerbaijan, which is already known to the world as a center of multiculturalism, is a good indicator that multiculturalism is alive, and we need to encourage positive trends. What is the alternative? Dangerous trends such as isolation, discrimination, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, which in the history of mankind has led civilization and nations to disaster. ”

The Head of State noted that respect to the country, people and religion begins with respect to the traditions and values of others: “This is the only way to succeed. Unfortunately, now we have to talk about it, as we see today in various parts of the world the discrimination on ethnic or religious grounds. This is tragic. We see it in our neighborhood.

We also witness dangerous trends such as neo-fascist movement. The international community, its leaders should have a very serious approach to this issue, because we have to win this fight, and we can only do it together. Therefore, activities such as Intercultural Forum, organized by us here, is very important. ”

SOURCE: Azeri Press News Agency