(MENAFN- Trend News Agency ) BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept.17
Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Structures of Azerbaijan Mubariz Gurbanli met with the President of the Congress of Christian Leaders and former Commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Johnny Moore, Trend reports citing the State Committee.
Welcoming the guest, Gurbanli provided detailed information on the importance attached to multicultural and tolerant traditions and interreligious harmony in Azerbaijan. It was noted that the stability of the religious situation in the country, the high level of tolerance, the absence of discrimination among citizens on the basis of religious beliefs create favorable conditions for the activities of non-Islamic religious organizations. Noting that 37 non-Islamic religious organizations are registered in Azerbaijan, the chairman of the State Committee stressed that the provision of financial assistance from the state budget to them, along with Islamic religious communities, has become a tradition.
Touching upon a report recently published by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Mubariz Gurbanli said the document was not based on facts and was biased. He stressed that during the Second Karabakh war, the Azerbaijani army restored the territorial integrity of the country, ending the 30-year long occupation. The fact that the report lacks information on the ethnic cleansing and genocide by Armenia during the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, the Armenization of Azerbaijani toponyms, churches related to the cultural heritage of Ancient Albania, and Orthodox churches, the destruction, along with hundreds of historical and cultural monuments, over 60 of mosques and about 200 temples, keeping cattle in dilapidated mosques, which is a desecration of religious values, carrying out works on falsification by Armenia, as well as the fact that unfounded claims are put forward in the document, is regrettable. Gurbanli stressed the need for members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to visit Azerbaijan to get acquainted with the real situation and prepare more objective and honest reports.
Expressing gratitude for the warm welcome, Johnny Moore said that he had witnessed the dire consequences of Armenian vandalism and destruction. He welcomed the restoration work carried out in the liberated territories. Stressing that during his visits to Azerbaijan he witnessed great tolerance and a multicultural environment, a general atmosphere of friendship between representatives of different religions in society, the guest said that he had met with members of the Christian community "Azerbaijan Bible Society" in Baku, which expressed satisfaction with the attention and care shown to religious confessions.
Johnny Moore noted that, being the Commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, he always tried to include in his reports the realities and facts that he witnessed in our country, and, disagreeing with the conclusion on the violation of religious freedoms in Azerbaijan, he made his official disclaimer on this matter.
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