BAKU, Azerbaijan

Religious leaders in Azerbaijan condemned recent attacks by Armenia on the country’s civilian settlements, as well as Yerevan’s occupation policy, voicing support Azerbaijani army’s operations in the region. 

Muslim Grand Mufti of the Caucasus Allahsukur Pashazadeh, Russian Orthodox Church Bishop Alexandr, Mountain Jewish Community leader Milikh Yevdayev, Baku European Jewish Community President Aleksandr Sharovsky and Christian Alban Udi leader Robert Mobili came together to condem Armenia’s strikes.

In the meeting, Pashazadeh said that for years, they had yearned for the liberation of the occupied lands of Nagorno Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh.

Pashazadeh said Armenia emphasized its national identity when it was strong, but reverted to underlining its Christianity when it was weak, asking for the help of their coreligionists.

He also thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ali Erbas, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate.

For his part, Russian Orthodox Bishop Alexandr said the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict did not have a religious characteristic, adding that the cease-fire agreed on Oct. 10 in Moscow gave hope but was violated by Armenia with its attack on civilians in Azerbaijan’s Ganja province.

Alexandr stressed that members of all religions in Azerbaijan could freely fulfill their religious duties, noting that the Armenian Church in the capital Baku had been preserved.

Mountain Jewish leader Mobili, meanwhile, underlined that his community’s support for Azerbaijan’s operation, praying for its success.

Mobili noted that Armenia tried to frame the conflict as a “religious war,” but the world knows it is Azerbaijan’s “homeland war.”

The joint statement by the leaders said: “We, the religious leaders in Azerbaijan, declare that we are together with the people, the state and our president on this right path. We demand the implementation of the resolutions of the UNSC [UN Security Council], which stipulate the unconditional exit of the Armenian army from the occupied Azerbaijani territories.”

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