THE JOINT STATEMENT of the Leaders of the Religious Denominations in Azerbaijan
In the name of the One Creator!
We, the Leaders of the Muslim, Christian Orthodox, Albanian-Udi and Jewish communities in Azerbaijan, voicing the wish and will of the believers, have issued the present Joint Statement in regard to the Anti-Azerbaijani resolution adopted by the European Parliament on March 10, 2022, as we express our deep concern that the said document reflects a position subjected to double standards and Islamophobic tendencies, and defends a pro-Armenian policy. We unequivocally state that the statements contained in the text of the Resolution are false, defamatory and completely unacceptable.
Not only representatives of the European Parliament, but the whole world should know that unlike Armenia, in Azerbaijan, its capital Baku and the regions, representatives of different nationalities and religions live in peace and tranquility, including thousands of citizens of Armenian origin, the Armenian Church and its library in the center of Baku are preserved in proper condition and protected by the state as a historical and religious monument. With that, for almost 30 years, mosques, temples, cemeteries, historical monuments, museums and libraries have been destroyed and looted in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, ancient Caucasian Albanian Christian churches and Russian Orthodox churches were usurped, mosques were turned into barns, and animals considered banned in Islam were kept there, so the entire Islamic world was insulted.
We, representatives of different ethnic and religious communities of Azerbaijan, during our visit to the liberated territories of Karabakh became alive witnesses of the policy of vandalism pursued by Armenia against historical and cultural monuments, especially Muslim mosques and existing infrastructure, as well as the policy of Gregorianization of the ancient Albanian Christian and Orthodox churches.
You are well aware that for almost 30 years Armenia had militarily occupied 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan recognized by the International Community, grossly violating the certain provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions, the Geneva Convention and the Helsinki Final Act; more than a million Azerbaijani were kicked out from their homes in Armenia and Karabakh and forced to experience the fate of refugees and internally displaced persons.
Armenia completely destroyed the historical Azerbaijani religious monuments in Yerevan, namely, “Shah Abbas”, “Sardar”, “Haji Novruz Ali” mosques as well as the other cultural and spiritual heritage and unique architectural monuments, while the architectural features of the only survived “Blue Mosque” in the center of Yerevan was intentionally changed after the “occurred” fire. Along with the destruction of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Azerbaijanis, Armenia usurped the Orthodox Church “John the Baptist" in the city of Shusha, as well as the ancient Albanian churches in other regions, and changed their origin to Gregorian, and completely destroyed the Orthodox Church in the city of Khojavend.
After Azerbaijan restored its territorial integrity in accordance with the International Law, now the Armenian party is trying to convince the whole world that they were allegedly invaded by Azerbaijan. In fact, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of the past was initiated by Armenia with the aim of occupying the territory of the neighboring country, but they present themselves as an oppressed people, spreading false lies about the conflict as a Muslim-Christian confrontation, thereby trying to win Christendom over to their side. Unfortunately, the Armenian propaganda is actively using various means, including the religious factor, to cover up its aggressive intentions and territorial claims to foreign lands.
Therefore, we have appealed to His Holiness Pope Francis, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and other Religious Leaders and International bodies to visit Azerbaijan and to see by their own eyes the terrible consequences of Armenian vandalism on our liberated lands.
As a result of the Armenian occupation, thousands of historical and cultural monuments, libraries, cultural centers, residential buildings, schools, museums, art galleries and theaters, places of worship and cemeteries were destroyed and looted. The 64 of the 67 mosques officially registered in the Azerbaijani lands occupied by Armenia, were completely destroyed, and 3 became in a deplorable condition. The once developed administrative centers of Azerbaijan have turned into ruins. Now, foreign observers who visit our liberated territories call those sites as "ghost towns" or "Azerbaijani Hiroshima."
The main goal of the acts of vandalism conducted by the invader state of Armenia with the illusion of "Great Armenia" was to erase both our historical past and spiritual memory in the ancestral lands of Azerbaijanis.
Armenia must be held accountable for crimes against humanity and property, destruction of the cultural heritage in the territory of present-day Armenia and the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, and must be punished, as expressed in the biased resolution of the European Parliament. Destruction by Armenia of monuments belonging to our people contradicts to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 1954, European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, 1992 and the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of The World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972. These actions of the Armenian party, aimed at destruction and falsification of the cultural heritage of the people of Azerbaijan, and estimated in international documents as a crime against humanity, are considered as aggression against all Human culture and must be strongly condemned by the European Parliament.
It is unfortunate that the European Parliamentarians do not think about giving a legal assessment to the genocide committed by Armenia in 1992 in the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly, where 613 innocent people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elderly people, were brutally killed and 8 families totally destroyed and the town was completely demolished, while the perpetrators of this genocide have not yet been tried, and some of them, even those in senior positions in Armenia, say they are proud of their involvement in this heinous crime. Therefore, while the Armenian military-political leadership dragged its people into the occupation, announcing the slogans of "new wars for new lands", and "Karabakh is Armenia", the European Parliament did not raise its voice when a monument to Nzhdeh-Garegin Ter Harutyunyan, who had founded the ideology of "Tseghakron", the Armenian racist movement, and closely collaborated with the German Nazis during the Second World War, was erected in Yerevan, perpetuating his memory, so the Armenian regime obtained support for its aggression, and now continues its provocations against Azerbaijan under the slogans of revanchism.
In 1982, the term of "Armenian terrorism" was officially mentioned for the first time in the monthly bulletin of the US State Department. Armenian terrorist organizations such as Armenakan, GNCHAK, Dashnaktsutyun, ASOA, ASALA and others, totally based on Nazi terrorist morality, organized themselves in various parts of the world, including some European countries, do not abandon their policies of commitment of insidious violence against Azerbaijan and Turkey.
The historical and religious monuments existing in Azerbaijan, regardless of their affiliation, are sacred places that embody the national identity, spiritual and moral values and traditions of the peoples living in this country. These samples of the heritage are always carefully protected by the State of Azerbaijan; our mosques, churches and synagogues are being repaired and new ones are being built. Committed to multicultural traditions, the Azerbaijani state considers this policy a priority and has made an invaluable contribution not only for Azerbaijan, but also for the restoration of the catacombs in the Vatican, Roman churches in France, ancient stained-glass windows in Strasbourg, and historical monuments, mosques and churches in Serbia.
In return, the European Parliament, the international body that follows the Armenian lie, adopts a biased anti-Azerbaijani resolution and calls to punish our country, accusing it of "destroying the Armenian cultural heritage".
We, the Leaders of the religious denominations of Azerbaijan, express our displeasure to the 635 parliamentarians who voted for the biased resolution of the European Parliament "On the destruction of cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh" and regret for this event. Such approaches lead to the conclusion that the European Parliament takes a unilateral pro-Armenian position based on double standards. We call for a political and legal assessment of the atrocities committed for over a hundred years by the Armenian invaders and terrorists against Azerbaijanis and other nationalities living in Azerbaijan, of the destruction of our cultural and spiritual heritage, to distinguish truth from lies and stand on the side of justice.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur PASHAZADEH
Chairman of Caucasus Muslims` Board
Secretary of Baku and Azerbaijan Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church
Head of the Community of Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan
Head of the Albanian-Udi Christian Community
Head of the Community of European Jews in Baku
Baku, March 29, 2022.
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