Azerbaijan has historically been among a handful of countries where various religions and nationalities have coexisted in brotherhood and unity. Azerbaijani people have been a role model of tolerance for the whole world. The outstanding leader Heydar Aliyev paid special attention to this tradition during his term, creating conditions for practicing all religions and ensuring equal rights for all regardless of ethnicity or faith.
President Ilham Aliyev continues in his footsteps, developing and strengthening religious tolerance and interethnic ties.
The Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the equality of all citizens before law regardless of their religious affiliation or mother tongue which is a clear confirmation of the country’s adherence to the principles of tolerance.
Modern Azerbaijan is actively developing a model of interreligious dialogue and harmony. Officials attach great importance to preserving historical and religious monuments, restoring mosques, churches, and synagogues. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation plays a significant part in these efforts, making a significant contribution to the support and development of religious diversity and the preservation of the country's cultural heritage.
As for the decision by the US Department of State to include Azerbaijan in the “watchlist on religious freedom”, we would like to express our deep surprise and bewilderment. Over the years, Azerbaijan has faced unfounded accusations, but the recent claims seem particularly absurd and groundless, given the actual state of affairs in our country.
Azerbaijan has always been respectful towards rights of national minorities. Relations between the state and various religious communities are based on mutual respect and support. President Ilham Aliyev always pays special attention to the welfare of religious communities and provides regular financial support to each of them, including Jewish communities.
We must emphasize that the government agencies of Azerbaijan are always ready to help and ensure cooperation among different communities, including organizing joint events and trips abroad. President Aliyev has always kept a watchful eye on pursuing this line. We feel and appreciate this care and support every day.
In conclusion, I would like to note that the accusations coming from overseas are unfounded and absurd. They are an example of double standards, which, unfortunately, are not uncommon in relation to Azerbaijan and other countries such as Israel. Such accusations are often motivated by the self-interest of the states applying these standards. Our country will continue to demonstrate its commitment to principles of diversity and mutual respect, striving for the harmonious coexistence of all its citizens, regardless of their ethnicity or religion.
Rabbi Zamir Isayev, Chairman of the Baku Religious Community of Georgian Jews, exclusively for AzVision.az