The Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) has published an article devoted to Azerbaijani multiculturalism.
According to the article, at the opening of the second Baku Summit of World Religious Leaders on Thursday, more than 400 delegates from 70-plus countries gathered in Azerbaijan for two days of discussion on the importance of intercivilization and interfaith cooperation, as well as the role of religious figures to promote joint dialogue and solidarity against terrorism, extremism and xenophobia.
"This represents the second such summit; the first of its kind took place in 2010," the article says.
It is noted in the article that in his opening remarks Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev highlighted the role of his nation in the establishment of an international model of global multiculturalism and the promotion of human solidarity and said that national and religious tolerance are the core values for the country.
“Azerbaijan has a centuries-old tradition of dialogue between traditions and religion, with all ethnic minorities living in peaceful conditions of mutual understanding and compassion in a multi-national country,” he said. “National and religious tolerance are the core values for all of us,” continued Aliyev, who expressed concern in “clashes, confrontations, war, shedding blood of brothers and committing crimes [in the name of] religion,” saying “we must unite our efforts in this area.”
The article also quotes Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, who celebrated his 70th birthday, his 40th anniversary as chairman of the Caucasus Muslim Board and in whose honor the summit took place, as saying that multiculuralism is the lifestype in Azerbaijan and the idea of national and religious unity at the state policy level. Pashazade referred to the proliferation of hate speech as a public danger, asserting that “this conference can have an exceptional value for the international community.”
The article further goes that summit participant Rev. Johnnie Moore similarly expressed to JNS his gratitude that “Azerbaijan is a nation that gives us hope that the world can be a better place, a place where religion is a blessing to the world and not a curse—where religion is used to unite and not to divide.”
According to Moore, Azerbaijan is a country where Sunni and Shia Muslims pray together, where Orthodox and evangelical Christians serve together, and where the Jewish community is not only valued but plays an dispensable role in the society.
Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie of New York, in his Friday-afternoon plenary address, maintained that he, among other summit participants, attended the conference to echo the importance that Azerbaijan places on multiculturalism and dialogue, the article reads.
Also, according to the article, Abraham Cooper, representing the Simon Wiesenthal Center, maintained that while the rest of the world has seen an increase of anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic, "Azerbaijan is a beacon of hope, a living embodiment and reminder of how tolerance and mutual respect by all followers of the Abrahamic faiths can succeed when they actually care for each other."