State Committee on Religious Organizations express opinion on US State Department’s report

State Committee on Religious Organizations express opinion on US State Department’s report
# 07 August 2012 14:11 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Ramil Mammadli – APA. The State Committee of Azerbaijan on religious organizations expressed opinion on the US State Department’s country report on human rights practices for 2011. The report assessed following events as a positive progress in religious freedom: participation of President Ilham Aliyev in the opening ceremony of Ajdarbey Mosque after its reconstruction, opening of new synagogue for mountainous Jews in Baku, official registration of Catholic Church’s Apostolic prefecture. It is a sign of religious tolerance and the government’s attention to the protection of religious freedom in Azerbaijan.

The State Committee noted that the report didn’t reflect the real situation of religion in Azerbaijan making some mistakes and inaccuracy, weak and stereotyped analyses. “The report says that the religious community of Praise Church was not re-registered although this community was re-registered under the name of “The word of life”. In contrast to the report’s notices concerning the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the State Committee didn’t prefer a complaint against this community, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses filed several lawsuits against the Committee.

Same inaccuracy took place concerning the publication of religious literature. We confirm that not only the Committee, but majority of religious communities in the country don’t share the opinion of report’s authors that the government restricted the publication and proliferation of religious books. The Committee didn’t receive any complaint by the religious communities, except the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Committee noted that as the other countries, Azerbaijan is also working for improvement of regulation in this sphere and the process will continue in the future. “For example, as it was mentioned in the report, some problems occurred between the state organizations and religious communities are caused by the low level of religious educational work. Finally, we notice that learning of the government’s opinion in the period of report elaboration would contribute to the increase of its quality. Jointly analyzing the official view and unofficial sources would create conditions for clear, unbiased and comprehensive analyses. The Committee expresses willingness to cooperate with the US for preparation more objective and solid reports”.
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