By Rashid Shirinov
The number of religious communities registered in the country reached 749 in 2016, Head of Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Mubariz Gurbanli said at a press conference on December 27.
Some 721 of them are Islamic, while 28 are non-Islamic communities. The latter include 17 Christian, eight Jewish, two Baha'i and one Krishna community.
There is no official Salafi, Nursi or other non-traditional religious communities among the religious communities operating in Azerbaijan, Gurbanli said.
He stressed that the Committee verifies the religious communities that apply for registration to comply with the principles of traditional Islam. Only after that a religious community passes the registration process.
"Azerbaijan is a multicultural state, and representatives of different religions and confessions peacefully coexist in the country. We must preserve this tradition,” he said, adding that different countries want to learn Azerbaijan's experience in this field.
He further noted that it is planned to open about eight new madrasas in Baku and regions of the country
“They will be opened one by one. The founder of the madrasas will be the Caucasian Muslims Office. The curriculum will be developed jointly with the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations,” he added.
The official further emphasized that today the primary task is the struggle against religious radicalism. “This fight must be conducted by society and all government agencies. Media also plays crucial role in the fight against radicalism,” Gurbanli said.
He noted that the struggle against religious radicalism must be consistent and long lasting.
The head of Committee noted that about 60,000 terrorist attacks were committed in the world in recent years, which killed hundreds of thousands of people. "Religious factor is used in these events. It is necessary to conduct propaganda and education work for their prevention,” he added.
Gurbanli noted that joint struggle of all countries is very important in the fight against religious radicalism.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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