It should be noted that the visit of the delegation to Utah, which includes representatives of various religious communities and government entities, has been jointly organized by the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, Baku International Multiculturalism Center (BIMC), the State Committee on Religious Associations of of Azerbaijan (SCRA), and the Utah-based Stirling Foundation.
Opening the event, President and CEO of the Sutherland Institute Rick Larsen expressed his appreciation for hosting such an important event and welcomed the Azerbaijani delegation.
Speaking afterwards, CEO of the Stirling Foundation Ed Rowe welcomed everyone at this historic event and said that this is the first visit of religious leaders and government officials responsible for religious affairs from Azerbaijan to the State of Utah. He also stated that he lived in Azerbaijan 20 years ago and quickly fell in love with Azerbaijani people and culture.
In his speech, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev said: “We are proud of this diversity, interfaith harmony and understanding in Azerbaijan… In Azerbaijan’s case it is beyond tolerance; it is about accepting each other, respecting each other’s faith and traditions.”
Then panel discussions followed. Executive Director of the BIMC Ravan Hasanov, Deputy Chairman of the SCRA Gunduz Ismayilov, Executive Director of the Spiritual Values Promotion Foundation Mehman Ismayilov, Deputy Chairman of the Caucasian Muslims’ Board Fuad Nurullayev, Chairman of the Baku religious community of European Jews Alexandr Sharovski and the Secretary of the Baku Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church Mefodi Afandiyev spoke about Azerbaijan’s ancient traditions of multiculturalism, interfaith acceptance and harmony. They noted that Muslims, Jews, Christians and representatives of other faiths have been living together in peace, dignity and mutual respect for centuries in the majority-Muslim Azerbaijan. Afterwards they responded to numerous questions from the audience.