The Consulates General of Azerbaijan and Turkey hosted a joint Ramadan Iftar in Los Angeles on May 29, 2019. Held at the Turkish Consul General’s residence, the event was attended by around 170 guests, including many Consuls General and Honorary Consuls, U.S. State Department officials, representatives of the City and County of Los Angeles, LAPD officers, leaders of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha’i, Zoroastrian and other faith communities, as well as Azerbaijani, Turkish, Jewish, Pakistani, Iranian and other community leaders and journalists.
The event started with the recitation of the Holy Quran.
Opening the event, Consul General of Turkey Can Oguz welcomed the guests and informed them about Ramadan traditions in Turkey and stated that one of the main purposes of this holiday is to make the effort to better understand one another. Speaking of the recent heinous terrorist attacks against places of worship, Consul General Oguz said: “We reaffirm our joint commitment to the fight against the forces of evil that target our unity, harmony and will to live together in peace.” Highlighting the brotherly relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, the Turkish Consul General mentioned that the two countries are “one nation, two states” and both countries are culturally, linguistically and socially inseparable, enjoying a very robust and vital relationship. He further stressed that Turkey and Azerbaijan are home to different cultures and faiths and that both countries consider diversity and multiculturalism as their strong assets.
In his remarks, Consul General of Azerbaijan and Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps Nasimi Aghayev expressed his appreciation to see various faith and community leaders at this Iftar celebration. He highlighted the importance of constant interaction and engagement among faith communities for the common goal of achieving a higher level of mutual understanding and harmony, especially now when bigotry, xenophobia and racism is on the rise around the globe.
Aghayev said: “Therefore more genuine interaction among faith communities is of paramount importance. For knowing, accepting and appreciating one another. Getting outside of the bubbles and engaging with each other for the common goal and good of creating sustainably peaceful and harmonious societies where each and every person is seen first and foremost as a human being deserving to be treated with respect and dignity no matter the ethnic, religious or racial background.”
In this regard, the Consul General mentioned the positive experience of Azerbaijan, and said that the interfaith harmony and acceptance in Azerbaijan has very solid foundations and rich traditions. Consul General Aghayev stated that people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Muslims, Christians, Jews and representatives of other faiths have been living together in peace, brotherhood and mutual respect for many centuries in Azerbaijan.
In their speeches, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is one of the most influential Jewish organizations in the world; Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez, Chair of the Los Angeles Interfaith Council; Ismail Fenter, representative of the International Mevlana Foundation; and Dr. Amna Qazi, the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commissioner, thanked the Consuls General of Azerbaijan and Turkey for bringing together different faith communities and noted the importance of intercultural and interfaith dialogue.
Following the speeches, the guests were invited to Iftar dinner and were treated to authentic Azerbaijani and Turkish dishes and pastries. The event, which also featured the performance of Azerbaijani and Turkish songs, was received with much interest and admiration from the audience.
Short video of the event can be viewed here