Protesting the reconstruction of Sovetsky locality in Baku is not the best example of religious devotion, Azerbaijani President’s Aide for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov wrote on his Facebookpage.
“Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is concerned about the situation around the demolition of Haji Javad Mosque, located at 79 Abdulla Shaig Street, Yasamal district. The head of state gave necessary instructions to create a special commission in order to halt the demolition of the mosque, comprehensively investigate the situation, evaluate the technical conditions of the building and submit relevant proposals. The commission will analyze the situation, make a decision as to whether the mosque remain intact or a new place be allocated for the construction of a new mosque. The commission will then report to the president about its decision,” he said.
Hasanov also expressed his own personal opinion about the problem.
“What’s even worse is that there were some religious people joining the rally organized by those who are trying to put religious people and the government against each other. That wasn’t good at all,” he said.
The presidential aide explained the reasons for the reconstruction of Sovetsky.
“Mr President has come up with many initiatives for Baku, all of which have been successfully realized. The improvement of Baku’s ecological situation, landscaping work in Baku Boulevard that has made it one of the best in the world, renewal of transportation system, new bridges, removal of squatters, construction of a Winter Boulevard complex, introduction of the world’s leading hotel brands to our capital, etc. have all resulted in the revitalization of the early 20th-century Baku, turning the capital city into one of the world’s most beautiful cities and international humanitarian centers,” he said.
Hasanov continued: “Baku needs to be modernized. Squatters like Sovetsky have to be removed from downtown Baku. This is a contemporary demand. The Azerbaijani state does not want its citizens to live in the capital in the conditions of the destroyed roads, airless, smelly quarters left from the beginning of the 20th century. Instead, it offers a clean city, convenient roads, green parks contributing to the improvement of ecology, spacious apartments, the most modern architectural pearls of the world, large educational and prayer complexes.
He stressed that over the past years more than 250 schools, dozens of kindergartens, and houses of culture have been built, reconstructed and overhauled in Baku.
“The restoration and reconstruction of mosques continues in Azerbaijan under the instructions of Mr. President. Tezepir Mosque, Juma Mosque and the Prophet Muhammad Mosque in Icheri Sheher, Ajdarbey Mosque, Juma Mosque in Shamaki, Imamzadeh complex in Ganja and dozens of other religious monuments and mosques have been renovated and reconstructed by the state up to now,” said Hasanov.
“If there were only 17 mosques in Azerbaijan during the Soviet period, their number reached 2166 at the beginning of 2017. 306 mosques are currently under state protection as historic monuments,” he added.
He said that President Ilham Aliyev celebrates Muslim holidays together with believers and ambassadors of Muslim countries to Azerbaijan, recalling that the president and his family members visited the sacred Kaaba.
Hasanov pointed out that the construction of hundreds of new mosques and the reconstruction of old ones in Azerbaijan is a manifestation of President Ilham Aliyev’s care to the country’s religious majority.
"Does the state that has carried out all this work deserve high praise or the curses that were voiced by some people yesterday? Turning to some religious, social, cultural figures and opposition politicians who are voicing radical appeals, I want to say: instead of giving correct explanations, one should not confuse people with vague statements, try to tarnish the actions of the state that deserve approval. In the centers of Islamic culture—Mecca, Madina, Mashhad, and Karbala—many old buildings are destroyed every year, and new buildings are built in their place. Let those who, 30 years ago, visited the Prophet's in Medina and Mecca say what changes have occurred out there and how many places of worship have replaced with new ones. Is it worthy of approval or condemnation?” he added.