By Sara Rajabova
Muslim solidarity must be strengthened and Muslim countries should provide each other with even more support.
President Ilham Aliyev made the remark during his traditional meeting with ambassadors of the Muslim countries to Azerbaijan on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan on June 22.
Welcoming the meeting participants, President Aliyev said Azerbaijan has very close ties with the countries, whose representatives were present at the meeting.
Noting that Azerbaijan extensively cooperates with Muslim countries in the bilateral format, he added that this cooperation is deepening with each passing day. “We are interested in further developing our political, economic and cultural relations with Muslim countries.”
Azerbaijan has very prominent place in Muslim world. The country enjoys a profound respect among Muslim states. The government spares no effort to consolidate Islamic unity, not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the Muslim world.
In this regard, prestigious events are held within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
President Aliyev said Azerbaijan and Muslim countries successfully cooperate and support each other within international organizations. He, in particular, highlighted the cooperation in the UN and the OIC.
“In recent years, our relations with the OIC have developed even more. In April and May, I had meetings with the Secretary General of the organization in Jeddah and Baku. The OIC notes the successful development of Azerbaijan and acknowledges the work carried out by our country. And we, as an active member of the organization, are trying to further strengthen the solidarity among our countries,” President Aliyev said.
He noted that support from Muslim countries is particularly high on issues of concern to these countries.
“We are seeing this support. In particular, Muslim countries support the position of Azerbaijan in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In the UN too, the vast majority of countries support our position. And the OIC has repeatedly adopted resolutions in connection with the conflict. They reflect reality, justice, international law and the position of Azerbaijan. I would like to once again express my gratitude to the countries-members of the organization for their support,” the president said.
The OIC always kept the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in focus. Its member states expressed concern over the occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories by Armenia as well as the looting and destruction of archeological, cultural, and religious monuments in those areas. Of particular concern are those Islamic monuments included in the resolution adopted by the organization during the OIC summit in Dakar, Senegal in 2008.
President Aliyev also stressed that the unresolved status of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict represents the biggest threat to the region.
“As you know, the territorial integrity of our country has been violated by Armenia for many years. Over a million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and IDPs on their native lands. The Khojaly genocide has been perpetrated against our people. All buildings on the occupied lands have been razed to the ground. Armenian vandals have destroyed our mosques, razed them to the ground. But when we return to these lands, we will restore our historical and religious monuments,” the president said.
He noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved on the basis of norms and principles of the international law and in line with UN Security Council resolutions.
The president went on to say that Armenia flagrantly violates the norms of international law and does not comply with the UN Security Council resolutions.
“However, truth and justice, including historical justice, as well as international law, support our position. Justice will be restored and Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity,” he said.
President Aliyev further discussed a very significant event in the country since last Ramadan holiday, noting that the largest mosque in the country, the Heydar mosque, has been built and commissioned in Baku.
He stressed that the Azerbaijani state treats its historical past and historical monuments with great care and attention.
“All our historic mosques are being refurbished and restored. Our ancient and modern religious monuments are the heritage of the entire Muslim world. One of the oldest mosques in the world, the Shamakhi mosque, is located in Azerbaijan. It was built in 743. It is an architectural masterpiece. One of the newest mosques in the world, the Heydar mosque, was built in Baku in 2014. This mosque is also a work of art and beautiful architecture. In other words, this once again reflects the respect of our country for the past and our people’s attitude to their religion,” President Aliyev said.
He noted that Azerbaijan continues to try to strengthen solidarity among Muslim countries, adding that two years later Baku will host the Islamic Solidarity Games.
“I am sure that these Games will further bring all Muslim countries together,” President Aliyev said.
Heydar Shiya Gubeyshi Al-Barrak, Iraqi ambassador to Azerbaijan also addressed the meeting.
The holy month of Ramadan commenced on June 18.
Ramadan, also known as the “Sultan of Eleven Months,” brings worshippers closer together around one table, and teaches them love for God, love for life as presented by God to each being, and to share both material and moral wealth.