The cleric said, there has been an ongoing tension since the Paris terrorist attack, noting that some people in France believe coexistence is longer possible in the country.
“Islam and Christianity are religions of tolerance. Azerbaijan’s example showed that coexistence is possible. I believe Muslims and Christians in France will be able to live in the spirit of mutual tolerance,” he said.
At the initiative of Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of the U.S. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a minute of silence was observed during the panel discussion in memory of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who died a day before.
Addressing the event, Cooper said that it’s necessary to promote tolerance.
“Cooperation is necessary for this, and therefore we have gathered in Baku. There is a tolerant society in Azerbaijan and the year 2016 was announced the Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan,” said the associate dean, expressing grateful for Azerbaijan for presenting its multinational and multi-religious model to the world.
Stressing that Jews have been living in peace in Azerbaijan for centuries, Cooper recalled that Sunnis and Shiites also live in a friendly atmosphere in Azerbaijan and pray together in mosques.
In his speech, Patricia Giménez, vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress of Argentina, recalled the constitutional reforms carried out in his country in 1996.
“One of these reforms was related to the development of local Aboriginal culture,” she said. After the constitutional reforms, we have achieved greater Aboriginal participation in the life of the country. For the return of the Aboriginal lands, they were granted the right to directly appeal to the Supreme Court and their lands were returned to themselves.”
Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Aisha Abdullahi said in her speech that the humanitarian crises affecting Africa have not slackened.
“Unfortunately, wars and crises raging in other countries have some worsening impact on crises in Africa. For example, the situation in South Sudan is more of a humanitarian crisis. The situation in Somalia remains unchanged as well. Political institutions are weak, so ethnic clashes are continuing. Terrorist groups are taking the advantage of such an environment,” she said.
In her speech, Kazakh Secretary of State Gulshara Abdykhalikova said her country has created an organization for interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
Hesham Youssef, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs for the OIC, said the situation in Syria’s Aleppo is dramatic and 80 percent of Yemen’s population is in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
“These crises will be lingering until a political solution is found. Without a fair solution to the Palestine problem, other problems in the Middle East cannot be solved,” he said.
UNESCO Executive Board Chairperson Michael Worbs noted that Icherisheher is in the cultural heritage list. “Azerbaijan is home to various cultures. The Baku Humanitarian Forum still serves the goals of UNESCO,” he added.
The 5th Baku International Humanitarian Forum kicked off at the Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku on Sep.29.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended the official opening ceremony of the forum.
The Baku International Humanitarian Forum was initiated in 2010 by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and former Russian President, current Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev.