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Faith in Focus: How Azerbaijan’s Religious Freedom Legislation Fosters Diversity within Society
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Faith in Focus: How Azerbaijan’s Religious Freedom Legislation Fosters Diversity within Society

Jul 9, 2023

How will the Republic of Azerbaijan amend its Religion Law in 2021-2022? And what about their Administrative Code Amendments of 2021-2022? Aliyev’s autocratic government is determined to restrict Christianity through restrictions placed on free religion. These amendments 2021-2022 affect all religions technically, but Christians will feel their impact. The amendments resemble the restrictions on free religion in the Soviet Union and Turkey, and also the involvement of government officials to influence religious leaders.

Azerbaijan’s Religion Law Amendments

The Republic of Azerbaijan adopted an amendment to the Majlis in 2021 to prohibit religious leaders from appointing their leaders and leaders for religious places of worship. The State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations (SCRIO) and Justice Department must approve all faiths including Muslims. The Caucasian Muslim Board must re-certify Islamic leaders every five years. This board is controlled by the government. Forum 18 quoted Fr Konstantin Pominov as saying “We will need approval from State Committee and Justice Ministry”. In an article written by Forum 18, Fr Konstantin Pominov, spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Diocese is quoted as saying “We’ll need approval from the State Committee and the Justice Ministry,” he told Forum 18.

The Russian Orthodox Church must receive the blessing of the Russian government, but also the Azeri Sheikh and the Azeri government. Why would the Azerbaijani Religion Law amendments and Administrative Code require the approval of the Sheikh if they affect all religions? Why is the Grand Mufti for the Caucasus consulted? These amendments have the obvious purpose of persecuting Christians.

Azerbaijan’s Religion Law

Turanism in the Caucasus and Turkish Advancement

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been Prime Minister since 2003 and President of Turkey in 2014. Since he has been in office for nearly 20 years, he is credited with leading the Neo-Ottoman Movement and advancing military and political interests in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. His supporters and he have defeated Fethullah and his followers while consolidating power in Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.

We are interested in Christianity’s state in the Caucasus and have therefore followed the Turkish/Turanism advances in the area. The Republic of Georgia, a traditional Christian nation, has been helped by Azerbaijan and Turkey working together. The Autonomous Republic of Ajaria of Georgia, which is a traditionally Christian nation, has a large population of Turks and Azeris. Georgians are afraid of the Turks gaining total control of this area, particularly since Erdogan claimed in his address less than 100 miles from Georgia that he wanted to own Batumi.

In addition, Turkey has begun consolidating its power in Azerbaijan before 2020’s Artsakh War and exerting influence over Aliyev, his military, and the Azerbaijani government. Turkey’s presence in the conflict, both during the fighting and afterward, has been a constant reminder of its role as a monitor. Russia refused Turkey’s involvement and protested its presence around the Republic of Artsakh.

The Organization of Turkic States is also involved in political matters in Lebanon and various African countries. It has united and consolidated Central Asian nations under its banner and exercised control over them. The uprisings in Kazakhstan were said to be a collaboration between the MI6 and Turkey. The fact is that Turkey trains military officers for this alliance, and looks to recruit those who are loyal to Turanism.

Amendments to the Religion Law of Azerbaijan and Republic of Artsakh

Illuminating Faith, based on evidence, believes that regardless of the agreement reached between the Globalist regime of Armenia & Azerbaijan and what they decide, the Republic of Artsakh will be in danger. Military action could result in the conquest of the republic. Azerbaijan rejects legal action taken by the Autonomous Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh to split from Azerbaijan in 1991 because it does not recognize the principle of the Right to Self-Determination. After the fall of the Soviet Union the Christian Armenians in Artsakh (then Nagorno-Karabagh), who had grown tired of pogroms, persecutions, and programs of ethnic/cultural cleaning, declared their independence.

Azerbaijan may invade the small republic, which has 120,000 people in it, and occupy them illegally. Illuminating Faith thinks that with Azerbaijan’s occupation of Artsakh, 120,000 Christian Armenians (the body of Christ) will be restricted in their worship of God.

Outcome

Illuminating faith calls on the Churches to pray and to call their leaders to take action to stop Azerbaijani aggression and to prevent a possible repetition of the events in the late 1980s such as Sumgait and Maraga. The Armenian government, OSCE, UN, EU, and US are called upon to take a stand against Azeri atrocities that will be committed very shortly. Azerbaijan’s Religion Law does not intend to affect Islam. Therefore, we all must stand up to defend our Christian faith.

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