Religious monuments in occupied Azerbaijani lands subject to vandalism

  23 August 2019    Read: 3606
  Religious monuments in occupied Azerbaijani lands subject to vandalism

The Baku International Center for Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation under the Caucasus Muslims Office issued a statement, reports on Aug. 23.

"The United Nations declared August 22 a memory day for victims of acts of violence based on religion and faith,” the statement said. “While condemning acts of violence on any basis, we support people who have been subjected to violence because of religious belief and express solidarity with them."

The Center is ready to cooperate with political, social, scientific and religious institutions with the intention of preventing and resolutely suppressing any cases of violence based on religion and faith.

"There must not be a threat of violence due to religious belief in the 21st century in the civil world,” the statement said. “It is extremely important to ensure freedom of religion and belief, which are natural human rights. Violence, threats in this sphere are unacceptable.”

“The facts of committing terrorist acts during worship in mosques, churches, synagogues, other religious temples are disgusting and cause anger,” the statement said. “The attacks on Coptic pilgrims in Egypt, the situations in Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, terrorist attacks in religious temples in New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pittsburgh and other places intensify polarization of civilizations."

“While revering the memory of the victims of acts of violence based on religion and faith, we must not forget that such cases, along with the extermination of people, include the destruction of tangible and intangible cultural heritage,” the statement said.

“Such acts of violence, along with physical damage, also cause moral damage to people,” the statement said. “These acts pursue the insidious goal of destroying monuments of religious and spiritual heritage that has been formed over millennia, as well as eradicating cultural traditions. Thus, the destroyed religious and spiritual monuments must be considered as victims of acts of violence on the basis of religion and faith."

The acts of aggression against Azerbaijani monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani territories were also described in the document.

"Religious and spiritual monuments of our people on the ancestral Azerbaijani territories occupied as a result of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict are subject to such vandalism and are destroyed,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, in many cases, spiritual and moral values are not taken into account in the globalizing world, due to political claims and economic interests, which leads to double standards in the protection of human rights,” the statement said. “For example, instead of eliminating the causes of the migrant flow amid the tragic incidents in the Middle East, anti-humane behavior, racist and aggressive behavior are demonstrated towards internally displaced migrants, which can be characterized as an act of violence on the basis of religion and faith.”

According to the document, peaceful coexistence, understanding and humanism are indisputable values required for establishing peace and justice.

"Today, joint, sustainable cooperation of the presidents, public and religious leaders is important in solving the problem of preserving peace, as well as suppressing terrorism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, extremism and radicalism, establishing stability and tranquility in the world,” the statement said.

“When making crucial decisions on a global scale, there is a need for religious and moral evaluation, edification and consultation of wise religious leaders,” the statement said. “From this point of view, it is important today to introduce a multicultural lifestyle to the globalizing world to prevent national, racial, religious extremism."

"All religions reject violence and cruelty,” the statement said. “While appealing to all political and religious leaders of the world, we, members of the Baku International Center for Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation, urge them to intensify efforts for the sake of preserving peace and stability by using the opportunities of inter-religious, intercultural cooperation. We consider important the joint cooperation of the presidents, public and religious leaders to eliminate all these phenomena."

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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