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Characteristics of the concept of national minorities and multiculturalism

Characteristics of the concept of national minorities and multiculturalism
Part XIX

On February 16, 2012,  during  his visit to the northern regions Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated once more that living of all nations in Azerbaijan in equal rights is one of main priorities of our state. He stressed that any discrimination never be allowed: " The guarantee of it is me- the President of Azerbaijan. All nations live in Azerbaijan as a family. It is our advantage. We should appreciate and strengthen it. It is, probably, our  greatest wealth. Through the centuries, people living in Azerbaijan have had equal rights. These traditions have continued so far. Each citizen is a dear citizen of Azerbaijan regardless of his religious belief, language and nationality.  National confrontation has never been in Azerbaijan. On the contrary, our experience is being studied by world community. With our lifestyle and policy we prove that people with different religious beliefs and languages may live friendly in peace  as a whole family. Sometimes statements like "multiculturalism has failed” "people with different nationalities can never live together”  e.g  are made in some European countries. They need to visit Azerbaijan and witness that it is possible. (http://president.az/articles/11095) .

One of the facts confirming  that  the noted policy  is being carried out steadily in our country is creation of State Council on multiculturalism issues  according to the order signed by President of Azerbaijan,  on February 28, 2014. The order, should be assessed as continuation of events aimed at strengthening of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Thus, consistent policy led in our country demonstrates once more that indeed Azerbaijan  is a tolerant country and attaches special importance to the tolerance. The analysis of accomplished works shows that interracial relations and religious tolerance  seriously need scientific research. In this regard, taken steps have got great significance. 

Attraction of NGOs to the global projects had a positive impact on development of relations among nations. Today, NGOs, civil societies do lots of works in this direction. The positive outcomes may be noted in two directions. Firstly, with the initiative of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev the Council of State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan was created. Secondly, their more systematic activity started being regulated. Numerous projects have been realized and financed by the state for protection of cultures, languages and religions of people living in Azerbaijan. 

As a result of  efforts made by  the Council, close relations with European nations and people were established and reached integration of culture. 
On April 15, 2014 conference titled "Ethnic and national consciousness” were held at International Press Center. The event was organized in frame of the indefinite  project  "Ethnicity as one of the main factors of Azerbaijanism”. The objective of the project is to study of ethnic and national consciousness in the society, delivery of research in the field of ethnography to the public and identifying  the negative aspects found as a result of researching of ethnic and national issues. 
Today, the processes observed in the world prove that it is important to be open to the society for protecting "people” and participate in integration  and globalization processes. The current processes and ongoing policy led in  Azerbaijan show it. Azerbaijan  has its unique style on development of relations among ethnics  and is devoted to these traditions.  

As a result of political will of Azerbaijani national leader Heydar Aliyev Azerbaijan  managed to restore its tolerance and multiculturalism traditions that had historically  at the legal and political level. 
The national leader chose accurate ideological targets for future successful development of Azerbaijan. Currently President Ilham Aliyev has been continuing  these traditions: " There is not an alternative of multiculturalism in the modern world. As majority of countries are multinational. If multiculturalism fails, then what can be the alternative model for it ? It is fairly clear. It will be discrimination, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism.”  President Ilham Aliyev  told  at IV International Humanitarian Forum. Like the Azerbaijani state there are great contributions of Heydar Aliyev Foundation in promotion and presentation  of multicultural values of Azerbaijan in international community. The Foundation has been realizing  a lot of significant projects  due to protection of multicultural traditions and their promotion. 

On July 17, 2014,  the Chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Office Sheikhulislam Allahshukur Pashazade organized traditional Iftar ceremony. President Ilham Aliyev attended the ceremony. During the speech given by him, the President stressed that  religion-state relations were established on strong basis in Azerbaijan and these relations took significant place in growth of our country: " These relations are exemplary. Of course, personal friendship between the national leader and Sheikhulislam played  a role too. 

The head of state also noted that holding international forums on inter-religious dialogue  is not random: "The forums are initiated  by us. I do not have any doubt that Azerbaijan will have greater positions in future too. Anyway we have quite strong position in international community. We are members of the European Council, Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Next year 1st European Games, in 2017 Islam Solidarity Games will be held in Baku. Azerbaijan plays a bridge role between civilizations, moreover our policy gives impetus to the strengthening of positive trends. Regretfully, this tradition is not followed in everywhere. Religious discrimination is observed . This is a disaster and a way to the abyss. We should try and do our best to rise positive trends in the world”.
IV International Humanitarian Forum held at Heydar Aliyev Center, on October 2, 2014 is a good example of it. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and his spouse attended the Forum. The forum is an internationally prestigious scientific and political platform for holding discussions and exchange of views on humanitarian collaboration. 

Speaking at the forum President Ilham Aliyev touched upon interesting issues due to religious and ethnic minorities living in the country: " Through the centuries multi-religious, multi-ethnic society was formed in Azerbaijan and these traditions have been strengthened even more during the years of independence. All the people in Azerbaijan live 
friendly and sincere atmosphere, like a family. Any religious or national confrontation has never occurred in Azerbaijan that this fact is our greatest  wealth.” The results arising from the President’s speech allow us to say that Azerbaijan is an example of tolerance for the world at a time when the world is shaped in an atmosphere of mistrust. Representatives of different religion and cultures live and operate in Azerbaijan on the basis of  mutual understanding and respect. 

Niyaz Niftiyev 


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