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Azerbaijan’s exemplary model of interfaith peace highlighted in Los Angeles

The University Synagogue of Los Angeles, one of the most influential Jewish centers of religion in the U.S., hosted an event on Azerbaijan on September 16, 2016. At the invitation of the Synagogue, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev delivered a keynote speech at the event.

Opening the event, the Synagogue’s Chief Rabbi Morley Feinstein praised Azerbaijan’s model of multi-faith and multicultural harmony and tolerance. Citing the example of Abdol-Hossein Sardari, a diplomat of Azerbaijani descent in Paris, who saved thousands of Jews during Holocaust, Rabbi Feinstein noted that the traditions of religious and ethnic tolerance have always been an integral part of Azerbaijani identity and culture.

Speaking afterwards, the Synagogue’s Past President Michael Tuchin said that in times of bloody interreligious and sectarian violence taking place in various parts of the world, there is much need to study and learn the model of peaceful interfaith coexistence and harmony Azerbaijan offers.

Then the floor was given to Consul General Nasimi Aghayev. In his remarks, the Consul General informed the audience about Azerbaijan’s tumultuous history, its steady modernization and incredible transformation from a war-torn poor and unstable country into a regional economic powerhouse and an island of stability in an otherwise unstable region. He also talked about the history and current situation of Azerbaijan’s relations of friendship with the State of Israel.

Highlighting the historical and cultural roots of Azerbaijan’s strong traditions of tolerance and multiculturalism, Consul General Aghayev elaborated on the current atmosphere of brotherhood reigning between various religions and ethnicities in the country. Aghayev mentioned that despite all the challenges Azerbaijan has faced and continues to face, being located in a complicated geography, the country has been able to build a successful model, which allows not only for Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as for Shiites and Sunnis to live in peace, harmony and dignity. The Consul General noted that thanks to the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, this environment of multi-faith and multicultural harmony is becoming stronger and stronger every day.

Speaking about the illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan’s lands by Armenia, Consul General Aghayev stressed the significance of Israel’s constant support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. In this regard, Aghayev also expressed the gratitude and appreciation for Israeli President Rivlin’s reference to the 1992 Khojaly Massacre – committed by Armenia against Azerbaijani civilians – in his U.N. General Assembly speech on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day last year.

At the end of his remarks, Aghayev said: “In light of the dangers our world faces today, we must push the humankind to embrace the concept of multi-faith and multicultural harmony more vigorously, and with Azerbaijan’s example we are showing that this harmony is possible.”

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