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    Azerbaijani President: Intercultural dialogue today is needed as never before

    “Our government, state invests into the construction of not only mosques, but also churches, Orthodox and Catholic churches, synagogues

    Baku. 19 November. REPORT.AZ/ “Intercultural dialogue today is needed as never before”, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev told the Leaders' Forum of the 38th Session of UNESCO General Conference in Paris, Report informs. 

    “When we launched Baku Process situation in the world in 2008 was absolutely different. Today we see that the level of mutual mistrust is growing. We see that if we don’t take adequate measures the confrontation based on the religious, ethnic grounds will create even bigger problems for all of us. But we can live in peace. And, I think, the example of countries like Azerbaijan demonstrates that. In our country representatives of all religions live in peace and friendship”, the head of Azerbaijani state said. 

    “Our government, state invests into the construction of not only mosques, but construction and reconstruction of churches, Orthodox and Catholic churches, synagogues. We are proud that one of the oldest, maybe the oldest church in the Caucasus, is situated in Azerbaijan, near the ancient city of Shaki. We are also proud that one of the most ancient mosques, which was built in 1743, is situated in the ancient Azerbaijani city of Shamakhi. All the representatives of different confessions celebrate religious holidays at the same table”, President stated. 

    “Therefore, multiculturalism for us is not just an idea which is being discussed today whether it works or doesn’t work, whether it’s failed or not, for us multiculturalism is our tradition. Today it is not only tradition, it is a straight state policy, and our lifestyle,” Ilham Aliyev added.

    “More than 600 historical and architectural monuments of Azerbaijan were totally destroyed by the Armenian armed forces. Twenty-two museums were destroyed, and 40,000 items, which were exhibited in those museums including the very precious items of our historical heritage, were stolen from our museums and then sold on different auctions. Ten mosques were demolished by Armenian occupants, while today in the center of Baku you can see an Armenian Church restored by the government of Azerbaijan. So this is the difference in approach to multiculturalism. This is the difference in approach to religious tolerance and this again shows that terrorism has no religion, has no nationality and it is absolutely unacceptable to link Islam with terrorism,” said President of Azerbaijan. 

    “I represent a Muslim country, a country which suffered from Armenian terrorism, from occupation, from destruction of our historic monuments. Of course, we will return to our lands, we will restore our cities, build new schools and hospitals there.” “But we will not be able to restore our historic monuments. Armenians destroyed our historical heritage. But they cannot destroy our will, the will of refugees and IDPs who want to go back to their homes and the will of their children and grandchildren, who were born in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan, who never saw their historical land. But they live with a strong will in their heart to return. And they will return. We will do everything in order to restore territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Again I’d like to say that international law norms fully support Azerbaijan’s position,” the head of state said.

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