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War crimes - Armenia loots Azerbaijan cultural heritage

7 April 2015 17:05 (UTC+04:00)
War crimes - Armenia loots Azerbaijan cultural heritage

By Mushvig Mehdiyev

Armenia's ethnic hatred based on aggression against Azerbaijan resulted in the annihilation of not only tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis, but also numerous precious examples of arts and monuments of great historical and spiritual value.

For over two long decades, Armenia has pillaged Azerbaijan’s occupied territories - 20 percent of Azerbaijan's historical land - it burned, looted and destroyed Azerbaijani monuments, manuscripts and other pieces of its heritage in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven adjacent regions.

Several international organizations including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have repeatedly slammed Armenia most severely for the destruction of Islamic artifacts in the invaded lands. The issue will supposedly be included in the agenda of the next OIC summit due in Turkey in 2016.

An investigation by the Working Group on Assessment of Losses Caused to Azerbaijan revealed that about 50 mausoleums, 67 mosques, 92 places of pilgrimage, 106 tombs, as well as 262 historical monuments, 253 archaeological sites, 39 castles and 32 bridges belonging to Azerbaijan history remain under Armenian occupation. An estimated 67 mosques in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding provinces were destroyed completely in the wake of Armenia's cultural terror.

In defiance of the UN Security Council resolutions and decisions made by other international organizations, Armenians are still supporting the destruction of religious monuments in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including mosques - using them for domestic purposes, proving of their inhumane nature.

There is no denying that nearly 152 sacred monuments, 62 mosques, 4.6 million copies of books in 927 libraries, including copies of the Holy Koran and other rare Islamic manuscripts disappeared as a result of Armenia vandalism in the occupied lands.

Such deliberate destruction of Azerbaijani cultural heritage is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Armenia’s barbarism against Azerbaijani heritage has not been limited to only destructive moves. Armenians are now using many mosques in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as warehouses and animal shelters. Such actions have been carried to humiliate and disrespect the sanctity of Islam.

The recent cultural vandalism launched by the terrorist Islamic State in the Middle East can be put on the same shelf as Armenian barbarism.

And yet Armenian Foreign Minister, Edward Nalbandyan made several "heart touching" remarks regarding intolerance against the IS actions vis as vis Iraq's intangible heritage, calling for the preservation of the world's cultural treasures.

Azerbaijan’s investigation into Armenia’s crimes against its cultural and religious historic legacy should stand a testimony to Armenian official's hypocrisy and insincerity towards what he called cultural vandalism.

In 2005 and 2010, the OSCE fact-finding missions confirmed Armenia's vandalism against Azerbaijan Islamic heritage in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Since the inhuman treatment of a nation's cultural heritage is seen as a war crime, Armenia should therefore stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Armenia should learn tolerance from Azerbaijan, where an old Armenian church in the center of Baku has been preserved and protected against any kind of atrocity even in time of great political turmoil.

The whole Muslim world needs to reprimand Armenia's unprecedented intolerance in view of its religious discrimination against Islam.

Calling for the restoration of mosques and other Islamic monuments in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan could at least act as a tool to break Armenia-triggered barbaric treatment of spiritual values.

Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations and Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences announced earlier last month that they would implement a series of projects in the country this year. Key goals include exposing Armenia’s vandalism against Azerbaijan's historical and cultural monuments.

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Follow Mushvig Mehdiyev on Twitter: @Mushviggo

Follow us on Twitter: @Azernews

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