By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenia has carried out genocide against Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage, such as the complete destruction of the City of Agdam or the desecration of Azerbaijani mosques and graveyards in occupied Azerbaijani territories, the head of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh region Tural Ganjaliyev has said.
Ganjaliyev made the remarks during an event titled "Stories of Survival and Hope from Azerbaijan: Embracing Peaceful Coexistence and Harmony". The event was held in Nessah Synagogue in Los Angeles, one of the largest and most influential synagogues in the U.S. on November 15.
The event featured a delegation of the Azerbaijani Community of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to the information posted on Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles’ website.
Ganjaliyev also informed the attendees about his happy childhood in Shusha, the historic capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, before it was invaded by Armenian troops in 1992 when he was 12 years old, forcing him and his family to flee the impending invasion and massacres.
Speaking afterwards, community member Gulmammad Mammadov and Khojaly massacre survivor Durdane Agayeva talked about the ordeals they went through as internally displaced people and shared their stories. All three speakers from the delegation expressed their hope and desire that after the resolution of the conflict and return of the displaced Azerbaijani people to their homeland, they will continue to live peacefully with the Armenian community in Nagorno-Karabakh.
At the same time, Consul General of Azerbaijan Nasimi Aghayev spoke about the illegal military occupation and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region by neighboring Armenia. Highlighting the history of the conflict, Aghayev mentioned that as a result of this military occupation of around 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory, over 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians were expelled from their ancestral lands in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.
Aghayev expressed his gratitude for hosting such an important gathering, which showcases Nessah’s strong commitment to peace and harmony among all religions.
Aghayev then extended a special acknowledgement to Joshua Kaufman, the Holocaust survivor, who was present at the event. He noted that after surviving Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps, Kaufman was liberated from a “death” train by the U.S. soldiers in 1945. He also mentioned that during his State of the Union address in 2019, President Trump honored Kaufman in Congress. Aghayev thanked the Holocaust survivor for meeting Azerbaijani delegation of refugees and survivors earlier that day in his home.
Aghayev said: “Azerbaijan is today a place where Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others live peacefully together, with everyone contributing to the strength of our society and free nation, making it a striking example of harmony for many others around the world.”
Aghayev spoke about Azerbaijan’s 2,000-year old Jewish community as well as the successful cooperation and partnership between Azerbaijan and Israel in various fields ranging from energy to defense to tourism.
Speaking at the event, Nessah Synagogue Rabbi David Shofet, Synagogue President Asher Eshaghpour, famous author Isaac Yomtovian, and IAJF President Susan Azizzadeh highlighted Azerbaijan’s strong and historic friendship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel, as well as Azerbaijan’s role as a model of interfaith harmony and peace.
Up to 400 people, including community leaders, activists, journalists, university professors, representatives of culture and art, entrepreneurs and others attended the event held jointly with the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles.
The event was opened with the performance of national anthems of Azerbaijan, Israel and the U.S.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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