By Kamila Aliyeva
A conference dedicated to the Year of Islamic Solidarity and Baku-2017 Islamic Solidarity Games was held in Baku on April 20 with organization of the Press Council.
Press Council Chairman, MP Aflatun Amashev, addressing the event, reminded that President Ilham Aliyev declared 2017 ‘the Year of Islamic Solidarity’, thereby expressing his personal position, as well as the position of the Azerbaijani state with regard to this issue.
Amashev said that this testifies a special importance President Aliyev attaches to the solidarity of the Islamic world.
“With this initiative, the head of the state, for the first time in history, addressed the political message to the entire Islamic world, stressed the importance of speaking from one position and achieving solidarity, while integrating into the world community,” according to Amashev.
"This is also a clear indication of the high assessment given by the President to the Islamic religion and solidarity of the Muslim world," he added.
Bahruz Hasanov, an official from the Public and Political Affairs Department of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, in his turn, underlined that Islamic values are widely venerated in Azerbaijan, noting that the forces which tried to separate the Islamic currents in Azerbaijan failed.
"In Azerbaijan, this is even impossible. Sometimes we can see the enmity between the different currents of one religion. But this does not happen in Azerbaijan, and our country is an example for the whole world in this area. The Islamic world needs this factor," he stressed.
Some forces, according to Hasanov, are trying to equate Islam with terrorism.
"Therefore, the Islamic world needs solidarity. After Azerbaijan became independent, the state attention to the religious sphere increased. During this time, many mosques were built and restored, that is, the state created all the necessary conditions. Azerbaijan is one of the countries, which keep Islamic traditions, and shares common positions with Islamic states," he stated.
In addition, Hasanov noted that the ties some Muslim states have with Armenia in several areas contradict the spirit of Islam.
A Muslim country doesn’t need to cooperate with an aggressor that destroyed mosques, ancient historical monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, he said, adding that cooperation with an aggressor country means violation of Islamic solidarity.
Addressing the event, Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev noted that more than 100 local and foreign newspapers, most of which have already been accredited, addressed the Ministry for the coverage of the Islamic Games in Baku.
All accredited persons will be able to come to the country without obtaining a visa.
Hajiyev recalled that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Muslim states.
"After gaining independence, Azerbaijan, while remaining committed to Islamic traditions, has joined several international organizations. During the election of our country as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the Arab countries unequivocally supported Azerbaijan. And this is also an indicator of existing good relations," he said.
Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Intigam Babayev, in his turn, stressed that the holding of the Islamic Games is in the focus of attention of President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.
Azerbaijan has experience in organizing such competitions, he said, adding that holding the first European Games was an exam which Azerbaijan successfully passed
“Azerbaijan is ready for the Islamic Games as well,” Babayev concluded.
The Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games is an exciting multi-sport event uniting the Islamic world, which will take place from 12 – 22 May 2017.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz