By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Throughout long history of Azerbaijan, many nationalities and different ethnic groups with various religious beliefs have lived together in peace and harmony. So, the country can proudly be called a land of religious tolerance.
The main reason of this success achieved by the country is the traditions which come through centuries. There are many progressive European countries which still fail to organize comfortable coexistence of nations, primarily due to that ethnic diversity of these territories caused by mass immigration. In this case, allowing immigration without demanding enough integration leads to social problems which cannot be easily resolved and veiled by the term of multiculturalism.
Modern Azerbaijan has achieved great success in regulating ethnic-cultural diversity through the policy of multiculturalism. It is evidenced by the absence of any conflict or disorder in ethnic, religious and racial grounds in Azerbaijan.
The First International Youth Forum “Baku Intercultural Youth Forum: From Interfaith Dialogue to Activities” was held on July 17 within the framework of the project of the IX International Summer School of Multiculturalism of the Baku International Center of Multiculturalism.
Irina Kunina, moderator of the first session on the topic “Multicultural policy and the Azerbaijani model of multiculturalism”, noted that in the modern period multiculturalism has a number of models. These models differ from each other in their features. Despite some differences between different models of multiculturalism, the state takes a leading role in the formation of a multicultural society and the support of a multicultural environment.
The moderator stressed that multiculturalism has become a lifestyle in Azerbaijan.
Addressing the session, Abbas Ismayilov, the Head of Project Department of the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism spoke about the model of Azerbaijani multiculturalism. He said the purpose of the model of Azerbaijani multiculturalism is a harmony of coexistence between religions, peoples and nations. Currently, this model is an example of the world and is being studied at the same time.
Brian J. Adams, Director, Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue of Griffith University, spoke about the contribution that the atmosphere of religious and national tolerance contributes to the healthy development of interethnic relations. He noted the importance of joint participation of young people of different nations in discussions related to intercultural and interreligious dialogue. He also pointed out the importance of more active involvement of young people in such initiatives as interreligious and intercultural dialogue, development of their leading skills.
Despite being a Muslim-majority country, Azerbaijan is a secular state which managed to build strong relations with all religious communities. This is why safety and stability were easily achieved here. State policy on religions reflects the will of the people and the atmosphere created by its help allows representatives of various ethnic minorities to feel comfortable within the Azerbaijani territory.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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