Azerbaijan cradle of multiculturalism –  an analytical perspective

Azerbaijan's stance on religious and ethnic tolerance is indeed notable. The country's policy emphasizes inclusivity and respect for diversity. Azerbaijan has a long history of multiculturalism, where people of various religious and ethnic backgrounds have coexisted for centuries.

One example of Azerbaijan's commitment to religious tolerance is its support for the Jewish community. The country has historically been a haven for Jews, and it boasts one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.

(Israeli PM Netanyahu and his wife meet with members of the Azerbaijan Jewish Community)

Azerbaijan has also actively promoted interfaith dialogue and cooperation, hosting numerous international conferences and events aimed at fostering understanding and cooperation among different religious groups.

Similarly, Azerbaijan is home to various ethnic groups, including Azerbaijanis, Russians, Talish, Tats, Lezgis and others, and the government has taken steps to ensure that all citizens are treated equally regardless of their ethnic background. Efforts to promote ethnic harmony and prevent discrimination are ongoing priorities for the Azerbaijani government.

Azerbaijan joined the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National, Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 1992 and the Framework Convention on the Protection of the Rights of National Minorities adopted by the Council of Europe on February 1, 1995.

The people of Azerbaijani have a long history of living together peacefully, and the country has not experienced significant ethnic tensions in recent times. Azerbaijan has a rich cultural heritage that includes elements from various civilizations and historical periods. This diversity is celebrated, and efforts are made to preserve and promote cultural traditions.

More than 15 newspapers and magazines are published in the languages of the ethnic communities living in Azerbaijan, and 5 local TV and radio channels operate in the regions where national minorities live compactly, such as newspapers "Samur", "Gusar" (in Azerbaijani and Lezgi languages), "Chirag" and "Alam" magazines in Lezgi language, "Tolyshi sedo", "Tolyshon sedo", "Dodo", "Soz" magazine in Talysh language (Azerbaijani and Talysh) languages), "Khinalig" newspaper (Guba) in Khinalyk language, etc.

The Baku and Azerbaijan Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church publishes a regular religious magazine in Russian.

The Russian State Drama Theater named after S. Vurgun in Baku, the Lezgi State Drama Theater in Gusar, the Georgian State Theater in Gakh, as well as more than 40 music and folklore collectives of national minorities operate in Baku and several regions of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan, a secular state with a majority Muslim population, is known for its high level of religious and national tolerance.

The Constitution of Azerbaijan guarantees freedom of religion and recognizes the equality of all religions before the law. Citizens are free to practice any religion or none at all.

Religious diversity has historically been a characteristic of Azerbaijani society. To date, about a thousand religious institutions have been registered with the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of Azerbaijan. Even though the vast majority of the population of Azerbaijan is Muslim, there is no negative attitude towards people who worship other religions.

The government has promoted interfaith dialogue as a means of fostering understanding and cooperation among different religious communities. This approach aims to prevent religious conflicts and encourage peaceful coexistence.

“Representatives of various ethnic groups and faiths live in peace, calm, mutual respect, and trust in Azerbaijan, which is the homeland for everyone who has settled and lived here for hundreds of years. The protection of inter-ethnic friendship and inter-religious harmony in our country, the promotion of coexistence cultures and democratic social and moral values, the promotion of inter-civilizational dialogue on a global scale are among the main directions of our state policy based on progressive national and historical traditions,” said President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in his congratulatory letter to the Orthodox Christian community of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the holy Easter.

Azerbaijan has also engaged in international initiatives and collaborations focused on interfaith dialogue. Participation in regional and global forums allows the country to share experiences and learn from best practices in promoting religious tolerance.

Overall, Azerbaijan's policy of religious and ethnic tolerance reflects its commitment to fostering a society where people of all backgrounds can live together peacefully and contribute to the country's development and prosperity.

Faiq Mahmudov

The article focuses on the theme of "Religious and national tolerance, development of inter-ethnic relations"

The article was published with the support of the Media Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (MEDIA)


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