Baker stressed that some people may believe that diversity in religion and ethnicity can only lead to discord, but merely observing Azerbaijan up close can dispel this view.
"At its root, I believe, is the sense that each of these groups feel secure in their place in the country. This is a function of the dialogue and cooperation that goes back centuries—as we see in the Quba region—but also in a government policy that reinforces this message."
Commenting on the special nature of the Jewish-Muslim relationship in the Quba region of Azerbaijan, he said that Krasnoya Slaboda, is a truly unique town.
"Of course today most of the mountain Jews, who once lived there have moved elsewhere. If they are still in the country they are now primarily in Baku, where the sense of acceptance and appreciation is still very real.
Certainly, we can all benefit from presenting this living message of mutual respect and cooperation to an international audience, especially in this uncertain time," he said.
Krasnaya Sloboda is one of the rare places in the world densely populated by the Jews. The Jews living in this village, which is called "Israel of the Caucasus", have been keeping their traditions for many years. The religious community and the center of the national culture of the Jews are functioning here.
Azerbaijan's Community of Mountain Jews is one of the largest of the three Jewish communities of the Caucasus, going back to the Jews of ancient Persia who are believed to have settled in the region 1,000 years ago.
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