On February 17, 2016 the Utah State Legislature issued a proclamation (citation) commending the “long-standing traditions of interfaith tolerance, inclusion and harmony in Azerbaijan,” and applauding the efforts by Azerbaijan’s Government to foster these traditions.
Signed by the Utah State Senate and House leadership, the proclamation was presented to the Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev. In his address to the Utah State Senate, Consul General Aghayev noted that the Azerbaijani model of interfaith harmony has vividly proved the possibility for Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together in peace, dignity and mutual respect. He also thanked the Utah Legislature for this important proclamation, and for their support and friendship.
The proclamation, which was presented by Senator Gene Davis on the Senate floor and Representative Lynn Hemingway on the House floor, commends Azerbaijan’s example of interreligious tolerance and harmony.
Stressing the important contribution of Azerbaijan’s Government, the proclamation notes: “Azerbaijan has created an environment that nurtures and promotes the ancient traditions of religious tolerance, and rejects extremism and hatred… The three major religions have prospered because of the respect and tolerance of the Azerbaijani people, and because of the role the government has played in fostering the environment of interfaith tolerance and mutual acceptance in the country”. The proclamation further notes: “Azerbaijan has repeatedly, over the course of the last decade, brought together religious leaders from the region and around the world to promote greatly needed interfaith dialogue.
The year 2016 has been proclaimed a Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan. In April 2016, Azerbaijan will host the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Forum.” The document ends by stressing that “given the rising levels of intolerance, hate, terrorism and xenophobia in the world, it is important for the United States of America to support its tolerant and secular allies and consider the Azerbaijani model of interfaith acceptance and community engagement as a functioning example, and encourage this policy around the globe”.
During his visit to Utah, Consul General Aghayev also met Lieutenant-Governor Spencer Cox, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and House Speaker Gregory Hughes. Short videos of the Senate and House floor presentations of the proclamation can be watched here:
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