The Los Angeles-based Beth Jacob Synagogue, which is the largest Orthodox synagogue in the Western U.S., hosted on Jan. 16, 2016 a talk dedicated to Azerbaijan’s exemplary model of multiculturalism and tolerance. At the invitation of the Synagogue, Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev addressed the entire Congregation.
Opening the event, the Synagogue’s Senior Rabbi Kalman Topp expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to get to know Azerbaijan, which he called “a beacon of hope and inspiration for multifaith peace”. He expressed his hope that many more nations would follow Azerbaijan’s example of positive multiculturalism.
Then the floor was given to Consul General Aghayev. In his remarks, the Consul General informed the audience about Azerbaijan’s tumultuous history, its steady modernization and incredible transformation from a poor war-torn country into a regional economic powerhouse and an island of stability in an otherwise unstable region.
Highlighting Azerbaijan’s long-standing traditions of interfaith tolerance and positive multiculturalism, Nasimi Aghayev said: “The principle of interfaith tolerance and harmony has always been an important part of our culture. But following the restoration of our independence, Azerbaijan, under our National Leader Heydar Aliyev, has elevated this principle into a strong Government policy. This policy and the environment of interreligious tolerance and inclusion constantly nurtured by President Ilham Aliyev, enables all different religions to enjoy the full freedom of religion, practice their faith freely and live in harmony with representatives of other religions. It is not a coincidence that the Government of Azerbaijan is financing the building and rebuilding of places of worship and religious cultural centers, as well as provides annual funds for the maintenance of religious communities... Moreover Azerbaijan provides free natural gas to all mosques, churches and synagogues not only in Azerbaijan, but also in neighboring Georgia. So all these measures are directed at making sure that this model of interfaith harmony becomes stronger and stronger every day.”
Speaking of the wider implications of this model for the world, the Consul General noted: “In light of the dangers we face today, we must push the world to embrace the concept of multi-faith and multicultural harmony, and with Azerbaijan’s example we are showing that this harmony is possible.”