Azerbaijan’s Consul General in Los Angeles hosted a special gathering with Hispanic and Asian American Christian faith leaders. Held at the Consulate General jointly with Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD), the event was attended by leaders and active members of churches belonging to primarily Korean, Chinese and Hispanic communities of Los Angeles, as well as representatives of various Christian organizations, universities and mass media.
In his remarks, Azerbaijan’s Consul General Nasimi Aghayev spoke about the historical and cultural roots of his country’s strong traditions of multi-faith tolerance and multiculturalism, the ancient history of Christianity in Azerbaijan, as well as elaborated on the current atmosphere of brotherhood reigning between various religions and ethnicities in the country. Aghayev mentioned that despite all the challenges Azerbaijan has faced and continues to face, being located in a complicated geography, the country has been able to build a successful model of tolerance and positive multiculturalism, which allows for Muslims, Christians, Jews and representatives of other faiths to live in peace, harmony and dignity. He also mentioned the unique Shia-Sunni Muslim harmony existing in Azerbaijan, which is even more relevant today considering the recent tragic developments in some other parts of the wider region.
The Consul General noted that thanks to the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, this environment of multi-faith and multicultural harmony and tolerance is becoming stronger and stronger every day in the country. He stressed in this regard that the year 2016 had been proclaimed by the President to be the “Year of Multiculturalism” in Azerbaijan.
The diplomat highlighted the many projects undertaken by Azerbaijan both in the country and beyond to promote interfaith tolerance and understanding, from building and rebuilding mosques, churches and synagogues in Azerbaijan to financially supporting the country’s faith communities to the restoration of catacombs in Vatican by Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Foundation led by First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.
Speaking afterwards, the KCCD President Hyepin Im - one of the leading figures of the Korean/Asian American community - said: "Azerbaijan is an amazing country with 2,000 year history of religious tolerance and acceptance. This is even more amazing being a country that is 95% Muslim. It is a country that has the key to the world peace. On behalf of KCCD and our host committee pastors, we are grateful for the opportunity to bring Hispanic and Asian American pastors and leaders together today for great fellowship and opportunity to learn of Azerbaijan's rich history and leadership in the world and to pray for peace. We were inspired and amazed.”
Speaking on behalf of the Hispanic faith community, Rev. Walter Contreras, Rev. Jose Pepe Cabelleros and Rev. Carlos Rincon expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to get to know a country that has created a space for all religions. They stated the need to widely study the progressive model Azerbaijan is offering, not only in Los Angeles and the U.S., but also in other parts of the globe.
At the end, prayers for Azerbaijan and its continued success were read by faith leaders of both communities.