By Nigar Orujova
The opening of Heydar Mosque is a truly historic event, as it shows the strength and dynamic development of Azerbaijan. “It shows how deeply we are attached to our national and religious traditions,” Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said at the opening of the largest mosque in Azerbaijan – the Heydar mosque.
Believers and public figures have come together from all parts of the country to attend the ceremony showing the unity among Muslims of the Caucasus.
Construction of the mosque started in September 2012. The area has been expanded and new roads were laid. Roads have been built to the mosque from three directions, the area around it landscaped and a ceremonial hall built.
“This mosque is named after national leader Heydar Aliyev and this is natural. Heydar Aliyev was a great personality. He served the people of Azerbaijan with dignity at all times,” the president said.
Heydar Aliyev was always attached to his people, while his famous words "I am proud to be Azerbaijani" are the guiding light for every Azerbaijani today, President Aliyev said.
The head of state noted that under Heydar Aliyev’s leadership more than 500 mosques were built in Azerbaijan, hundreds of mosques were repaired.
President Aliyev went on to speak about economic stability, international authority and political situation of Azerbaijan.
“Over the past 11 years about 250 mosques have been built or repaired in Azerbaijan. These include the Bibi-Heybat mosque, the Tazapir and Ajdarbay mosques, the Shamakhi mosque built in 743. They are of great value for our people,” he stressed.
The temples of other religions are also built and repaired in Azerbaijan, including at the government’s expense.
“I should also note that this mosque was built with public funds, as was the case with the construction and repair of the Russian Orthodox, Catholic and Albanian churches. Synagogues are also built and repaired in Azerbaijan. In other words, Azerbaijan has accumulated a unique experience in this field. It is natural for us, as it is a normal way of life for our society. At the same time, this is our state policy. These two factors create a very positive atmosphere,” he highlighted.
“Representatives of all peoples, faiths and religions live and will live like one family in Azerbaijan. Our country has never had and never will have any standoffs on religious grounds. There shouldn’t be and there is no misunderstanding. We are going down this path and showing this to the world,” the president said.
He went on to add that, Azerbaijan is making a valuable contribution to the strengthening of inter-religious dialogue in the international arena.
Azerbaijan has become one of the world centers of multiculturalism. The international events, dialogues, the intercultural dialogue, the humanitarian forum, the summits of religious leaders of the world held in the country – all these are the realities of the present-day Azerbaijan.
“I hope that Azerbaijan, sharing its positive experiences with other countries, makes and will continue to make a huge contribution to universal human values,” he said.
The president also expressed confident that “the day will come when we will restore the Shusha mosque, the Agdam mosque and all other Azerbaijani mosques destroyed by Armenian vandals. We will do a joint prayer there. We will restore our territorial integrity.”
Then chairman of the Coordinating Council of Muslims of the North Caucasus, Mufti of Karachay-Cherkessia of the Russian Federation Ismayil Berdiyev, head of the Russian Orthodox Church`s Baku and Azerbaijan Eparchy Alexander, head of Baku Mountain Jews Religious Community Milikh Yevdayev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Caucasian Muslims Office in the Russian Federation Shafik Pshikhachev and chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Office Sheikhulislam Allahshukur Pashazade also made speeches at the event.
The building, which covers a total area of 12,000 square meters, has four 95m-height minarets. The mosque covers a total area of 4,200 square meters. It has 55m-height main and 35m-height second domes.