Azerbaijani President: There has never been a religious conflict in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani President: There has never been a religious conflict in Azerbaijan
# 07 March 2008 13:45 (UTC +04:00)
APA reports that head of the Catholic Church Yan Chapla expressed his gratitude to Azerbaijani leadership for the religious tolerance in the country. President Ilham Aliyev called the inauguration of the church a great and unforgettable event. Underlining that interreligious relations are on the highest level in Azerbaijan, the head of state said there had not been a religious conflict in Azerbaijan.
Mentioning the visit of Pope John Paul II to Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said this visit played a very important role in the development of the relations between Azerbaijan and Vatican. He also noted that a great Catholic Church was built in Baku late in the 19th century and early in the 20th century, but was destroyed during USSR period.
“Inauguration of the church is both a holiday for Azerbaijani Catholics and restoration of the historical tradition,” he said.
The President regarded the inauguration of the church as a wonderful event for Azerbaijan’s future and the continuation of high-level relations with Europe.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone expressed gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI and said Azerbaijan had indeed proved to be a tolerant country. Chairman of Caucasian Muslims Office Sheikhulislam Haji Allahshukur Pashazadeh also said all religions were respected in Azerbaijan and took pride in the tolerance in the country.
“Our main wish is to return to Nagorno Karabakh occupied by Armenia,” he said.
Bishop of Baku Orthodox Church Alexander underlined that all-round conditions had been created in Azerbaijan for free activity of all religions.
Speaking on behalf of three Jewish communities living in Azerbaijan, head of Mountain Jews community Semeon Ikhiilov said there had never been anti-Semitism in Azerbaijan.
He wished bells of the Catholic Church break the news of Azerbaijani policy’s victory and God help release Nagorno Karabakh.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minster Elmar Mammadyarov, Baku Mayor Hajibala Abutalibov, Hidayat Orujov, Chairman of the State Committee on Religious Associations, Vatican’s nuncio in the South Caucasus Klaudio Gucherotti, heads of religious confessions in Azerbaijan, international organizations and diplomatic missions accredited in Baku, religious figures of foreign countries and special representative of Polish President also attended the ceremony.
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