Those having received Islamic education abroad disallowed to perform rituals, ceremonies in Azerbaijan

Baku: The draft law on making amendments to the law “On religious freedom” of Azerbaijan has been put up for discussion at the parliament, said Siyavush Novruzov, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on religious organizations and public unions.

According to the draft law, only citizens of Azerbaijan who have not studied Islam abroad are permitted to perform Islamic rituals and ceremonies. At the same time, the displaying of religious mottos and other attributes (except for those displayed on oneself) in places other than places of worship are prohibited. Religious flags can only be posted inside places of worship, and religious centers and offices.

Novruzov said the draft law’s former edition too prohibits performance in Azerbaijan of religious rituals and ceremonies by those who have studied Islam outside the country.

“However, such persons later received Islamic education in Azerbaijan for two years and began to perform religious rituals and ceremonies. They found a way out of the situation. This will be prevented. Thus, article #21 of the law is being amended, a citizen who has studied abroad is banned from holding religious ceremonies or rituals in Azerbaijan. Such citizens are also bringing the traditions of other countries to Azerbaijan. For example, Taleh Baghirzade didn’t study, but underwent religious trainings abroad,” he noted.

First vice-speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ziyafat Asgarov said that the Azerbaijani state didn’t send students abroad for religious education. “It’s practically proven that those who have received religious education abroad often bring those countries’ atmosphere, then incidents like in Nardaran takes place. There is no need for religious education abroad. “

The draft law was put up for discussion and adopted.

Meanwhile, an annex (168-1) was made to the Criminal Code in connection with the proposed amendments to the law on freedom of religious belief. A citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan who has studied abroad will be fined AZN 1,000 to 5,000 or sentenced to up to one year in prison for holding Islamic ceremonies or rites. The draft law was put up for discussion and adopted.