Debate on amendments and annexes to law on “Freedom of religion” takes place

Debate on amendments and annexes to law on “Freedom of religion” takes place
# 21 May 2009 13:37 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Elnur Mammadli – APA. Debate on the theme “Do amendments and annexes to the law on freedom of religion restrict freedoms of religion and faith in Azerbaijan?” has been held today, APA reports. Head of the Center for Protection of Freedom of Religion and Conscience Ilgar Ibrahimoglu protested against the amendments and department chief of the State Committee for Religious Organizations Gunduz Ismayilov supported the amendments. Ismayilov said no serious amendments were made to the law adopted in 1992. The department chief said the recent amendment was important.
“Amendments and annexes to Azerbaijan’s Constitution made similar amendments to the law necessary,” he said.
He said the amendment did not restrict freedom of religion and conscience in Azerbaijan.

Ilgar Ibrahimoglu underlined that fundamental amendments had been made to the law.
“In 1992, when the law was adopted, religious communities were given NGO status. But as a result of the following amendments this opportunity was lost and religious communities faced bureaucratic obstacles during the registration. Registration of Islamic religious communities and non-Islamic religious communities is discriminated. The procedure of registering non-Christian communities is simpler,” he said.
Ibrahimoglu said it was planned to stop the activity of the unregistered religious communities and it was the return to the Soviet tradition.

Answering his opponent Ismayilov said Muslim religious communities should get representation from the Caucasian Muslims Office only while appointing akhunds and imams.
“There is no problem in the registration of religious communities in Azerbaijan. Among the CIS states the simplest procedure in this field is in Azerbaijan,” he said.

The sides answered the questions of each other and participants.
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