By Ayya Lmahamad
As part of the visit to Azerbaijan’s liberated territories, a delegation headed by the Director General of the Islamic Education, Science and Culture Organization (ICESCO) Salim bin Mohammed al-Malik, visited the liberated Aghdam region, Culture Ministry has reported.
The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the results of the destruction of the historical, cultural and religious heritage of Azerbaijan during the occupation by the Armenian armed forces.
Members of delegation witnessed the traces of Armenian war crimes and the consequences of the committed vandalism in the Aghdam city.
During the first visit to Aghdam Mosque, delegation members were briefed that, like other monuments, this mosque of 19th century was plundered and partially destroyed by the Armenian armed forces after the occupation.
Afterwards, the delegation examined the ruins of the Aghdam Drama Theater and the Bread Museum and got acquainted with images of the area before the occupation and photographs of historical monuments.
“The picture we saw in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan is a real tragedy. Destruction of religious temples is unacceptable,” director general told Trend.
Touching upon an issue of all destroyed settlements, historical, religious monuments as well as destruction and desecration of mosques and religious temples, Director General underlined that such vandalism is unacceptable, noting that all religious sites must be treated with respect and be protected.
“I am sure that all religious and cultural monuments destroyed in these territories will be restored. Of course, the religious beliefs of people should not be discriminated against, and the temples of each religion should be respected not only at the state and regional level but also at the global level,” he added.
He stressed that firstly, Azerbaijani government should send certain requests, which will then be evaluated by a committee of independent experts.
“The inclusion of monuments of the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan in the List of World Islamic Heritage also means that these cultural sites and religious monuments will be protected by ISESCO. Our main goal is to protect cultural and religious monuments. At the same time, we want to emphasize that we protect the religious monuments of all religions,” he said.
Earlier, members of the organization visited Fuzuli region to witness the consequences of destructions. They saw traces of Armenian vandalism in the city cemetery. Armenians had removed marble tombstones and destroyed some graves.
During the inspection of the remains of the destroyed Juma Mosque Fuzuli, it was revealed that Armenians kept cattle and pigs there, as in other mosques. The delegation members said that such insults and destruction of Islamic religious monuments are incompatible with humanity.
The ICESCO delegation inspected the ancient caravansarais and the remains of a 17th-century mosque in the village of Gargabazari, as well as the ruins of a destroyed mosque in the village of Gochahmadli, and witnessed the atrocities committed by the Armenians.
The delegation continues its visit to the liberated lands.
It should be noted that the visit of ICESCO Director General to Azerbaijan will last until January 15.
As a result of Armenian vandalism, hundreds of cultural institutions, including 927 libraries with 4.6 million books, 808 palaces of culture, clubs and other cultural institutions, 85 music and art schools were destroyed on the occupied Azerbaijani territories.
Over 700 historical and cultural monuments registered by the state before the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were looted, including the 11 and 15-span Khudaferin bridges in Jabrayil, Ganjasar and Khudavend sanctuaries in Kalbajar, the mausoleum in Aghdam's Khachin Turbetli village, Azykh cave in Fuzuli as well as Shusha state historical and architectural reserve.
ICESCO is an international non-profit organization emanating from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, specializing in the fields of education, science and culture. Azerbaijan has been a member of ICESCO since 1991.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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