“I want to congratulate entire Azerbaijani people on the upcoming holy Ramadan holiday. I wish the Azerbaijani people peace, prosperity, more and more success”.
APA reports that the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said it in his speech at the Iftar ceremony hosted by the Chairman of the Clerical Office of Caucasus Muslims Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan at his residence.
The head of state noted that Heydar Aliyev is the creator, the founder of the Azerbaijani state: “His coming to power brought Azerbaijan to the path of development. We all note with regret that in the first years of independence the great leader was not in the leadership of Azerbaijan. If he was, he could protect our people, the state from great troubles. Heydar Aliyev defined and implemented the main development strategy of our country in all areas. Including the great leader has a special role in the regulation of state-religious relations. I should also note that before 1993, in the field of religious issues, as in all spheres, there was no single policy. This gap, of course, was fraught with huge risks. Since 1993, a consistent policy has been formed in all areas - foreign policy, domestic politics, economics, security issues, and state-religious relations. The basic principles of this policy are relevant for us today. Today's Azerbaijan is developing and will develop on this solid basis”.
According to the president, these traditional Iftar ceremonies are in fact part of the relationship between religion and the state: “Today I want to note the special role of his eminence, the sheikh in this matter. His Eminence Sheikh enjoys great authority both in Azerbaijan, the Caucasus, the post-Soviet space, and on a global scale. I know that his eminence the sheik enjoys great respect among the religious leaders of the world. The sheikh strengthens the authority of our country in the international arena, promotes our country, and represents Azerbaijan as a modern country, tied to its religious, national roots and at the same time tolerant and open to the world by its activities. Within the framework of the "Year of Islamic Solidarity" both in the country and abroad, under the leadership of his eminence the sheikh, numerous events have been and will be held. This will once again represent Azerbaijan to the world as a developing, modern and dynamic country”.
President Ilham Aliyev noted that he and Pashazadeh are also linked by personal friendly relations: “These relations are important for us and for the country. We show an example of how relations between the state and religion should be built. Thanks to the successes achieved in this field, Azerbaijan can become an example for many countries. The state in Azerbaijan does not interfere in religious matters; on the contrary, it tries to help. The historical mosques, religious monuments, as well as churches and synagogues, built and repaired by the state serve as a clear proof of this. And religion does not interfere in the affairs of the state, politics. I believe that this is also an exemplary approach. At the same time, the state and religion are together, because we have one goal. We want our country to become even stronger, stronger, so that the Azerbaijani people live even better, so that our dynamic development is long-term and sustainable. Therefore, the formation of relations between religion and the state on a sound basis is our great asset. Once again I say, this is an example that I think is very attractive for a number of countries. It is no coincidence that foreign guests coming to Azerbaijan, including religious leaders, study our experience, are interested in them and, of course, constantly express respect when they get acquainted with the Azerbaijani realities”.
Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan is one of the first Muslim countries visited by the Pope: “His statements during the visit are a high assessment of interreligious relations in Azerbaijan”.
"I must also note that the Pope met in the Heydar mosque with the leaders of all traditional religious communities of Azerbaijan. This meeting also has a huge symbolic significance. This was another message to the world about how interreligious relations should be resolved. The Azerbaijani public is well aware of the fact that all religious communities actively participate in religious festivals and ceremonies. Representatives of all religions not only participate, but also to serve new mosques and rebuilt historic mosques. I believe that this is also a unique experience on a global scale, the author of which is Azerbaijan”, - said the president.
Ilham Aliyev noted that the initiatives put forward by Azerbaijan in many spheres, bring novelty, new dynamic, a new approach: “Breaking down some of the stereotypes, we propose a new format behavior in many areas, including in addressing religious issues. It is no coincidence that the work carried out in this field in Azerbaijan, the successes achieved are highly appreciated, it can be said, by all leading international organizations. I must also note that the initiatives initiated by our initiative and developing various events and forums are subsequently supported by international organizations. As an example, I can cite the IV Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held this year. We put forward this Forum as an initiative. Today, its organizers are the leading international organizations of the world - UNESCO, ISESCO, the Council of Europe, the World Tourism Organization, etc. Holding such prestigious events in Azerbaijan demonstrates our policy and intentions, and also shows the world that today there is a country on the planet that is the center Multiculturalism. This country is Azerbaijan”.
"In 2008, on our initiative, the “Baku process” began. Today the “Baku process” is respected from the highest tribunes. I can say that the "Baku process" is the leading direction on a global scale. Within the framework of this process, interreligious relations are being resolved. We started this work very actively about 10 years ago. At that time there were no threats and risks existing today. These risks have appeared in the last 5-6 years. Unfortunately, both in the Muslim world and elsewhere, Europe has a lot of concerns. But when we drew attention to this issue, put forward these initiatives, the vast majority of such threats have not yet been. That is, I believe that the steps taken in a timely manner play a positive role in interreligious relations and intercivilizational issues. Today, Azerbaijan is also recognized and recognized as an exemplary country in this area”, – the president said.
The head of state also noted that the Azerbaijani state is built on very strong national values: “And Islamic values are an integral part of our national values. That is, we have very strong foundations. These are our national values, which are above all for us. We try and make sure that the younger generation grows up and is brought up in the national spirit. National values should always be for us the highest priority issue”.