Azerbaijani Parliament passes decision banning activity of unregistered religious communities

Azerbaijani Parliament passes decision banning activity of unregistered religious communities
# 08 May 2009 15:43 (UTC +04:00)
Chairperson of the Parliament’s Committee for Human Rights Rabiyyat Aslanova took a stance on MP Siyavush Novruzov’s opinion on the activity of the Caucasian Muslims Office.
“I do not agree to the views against Sheikh. He is a very influential person. Sheikh-ul-islam is known as an influential religious figure not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the entire East. He is the Sheikh of not only Azerbaijan, but of the entire Caucasus. As regards license to sausages, it is understandable. There are the notions of halal and haram in Islam. One should be careful while speaking about Sheikh. Views against the Caucasian Muslims Office may disgrace the office having great history. I call everybody to be careful while speaking about these issues. But I agree to the view mullahs should be attested,” she said.

MP Gudrat Hasanguliyev said religious communities should not be allowed to register in the flats. He also touched on the distribution of magazine about Fatullah Gulen at one of the recent events devoted to Heydar Aliyev.
“This at least contradicts ethic norms,” he said.

Gultakin Hajibayli said the youth did not know the religion and it resulted in foreign influences and missionary outreach.
“True Islam should be promoted. There is abnormal situation in Azerbaijan. There are people who mediate between Allah and people,” she said.
Hajibayli said squandering should be prevented in mourning ceremonies. The parliamentarian said 600,000 Azerbaijanis were living in Georgia, but the situation of Islam was very bad there.
“Some Azerbaijanis drink wine in the mourning ceremonies, bury a dead man after 5-6 days, put crosses in the cemeteries,” she said.

Fazail Agamali offered to increase the authorities of the Caucasian Muslims Office and State Committee for Religious Associations.

Speaker Ogtay Asadov also expressed his opinion on the draft.
“Taking into account some views, it seems as if we are against Islam. In fact this is not so. Our aim is to protect our religion from separation. We are tolerant. But no one must attempt to separate our religion,” he said.

Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Associations Hidayat Orujov also delivered speech. He said some young people in Azerbaijan were involved in the religious education abroad. “Their education is prolonged sometimes for 10-12 years”. The committee chairman said 588 mosques have been constructed in Azerbaijan since the independence. 92 of them were sponsored by the foreign countries and others were constructed by the government during Heydar Aliyev’s power. “There are more than 500 holy places in Azerbaijan. Some of them were registered. There are 144 educational courses of Holy Qur’an”.

Orujov said the amendments and annexes to the law were directed toward the lifting of concerns among the society.

The amendments were adopted after the discussions.

The Criminal, Administrative and Criminal-Procedural codes were also amended at the meeting.

A part of the amendments to the law on freedom of religious faith was related to the issues arisen from the referendum. According to the amendments, the religious organizations can work only after the registration and they will be allowed to work only at the address where they were registered. If the activity and goals of the religious organizations are contradictory to the Constitution of Azerbaijan and they were not recognized as the religious organization, they can be refused in the registration. If any religious organization prevents the secular education, violates public security and order, takes actions toward the terrorism and funding the terrorism, sabotage and other extremist actions, forces or threatens for the religious faith, religious life style and prayers, creates racial, national, religious, social confrontation and enmity, creates confrontation between the people, popularizes the religions, which humiliate the dignity of people and are against the humanist principles, the registration of this organization can be annulled.

According to other amendment to the law, religious books, things and other materials can be sold only in the shops allowed by the executive authorities.