The Chairman of the CMB addressed a letter to the World Council of Churches
In the name of the Almighty Creator!
Your Excellency General Secretary, Your Excellency Moderator! First of all, I would like to express my greetings to you on the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and completion of the latest meeting of the Council's Central Committee. I appreciate your meaningful remarks during the opening of the Central Committee meeting, your call for peace and justice, as well as the role of your organization in promoting the idea of ecumenism in general, wishing you success in your activities. Regretfully, we have to state that, just as at the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held on August 31 - September 8, 2022, the WCC once again adopted in the final document of the last meeting of the Central Committee a paragraph, which is unilateral in nature and serves interests of the Armenian side. We know quite clearly that such anti-Azerbaijani documents used to be adopted on the grounds of appeals by the Armenian churches of Etchmiadzin and Cilicia, based on biased and unreliable information. It can be concluded that the World Council of Churches, which made in 1993 its contributions to the case of a peaceful solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, now, in contrary to its previous position that the conflict is not of a religious nature, is acting from a one-sided and biased position of Armenian bigotry. Meanwhile, WCC harms in recent times its reputation by bringing political processes taking place in the world to the religious level. We believe that when the acts of violence, hate speech, cases of religious and racial discrimination, as well as vandalism, especially offending religious attributes, have become more frequent in the modern world, the Organization that bears the name of the Church should pay more attention to such dangerous trends and to make not one-sided political statements, but calls for reconciliation to ensure peace and promote coexistence. The international world is well aware that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began on the basis of Armenia's groundless territorial claims, and 20% of our territories recognized by the world community remained under occupation for almost 30 years. As a result of the aggression of the neighboring country, the policy of ethnic cleansing carried out in Armenia and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, more than 1 million of our compatriots experienced the hard destiny of refugees and internally displaced persons. In 2020, under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani people and the victorious army liberated the lands of their ancestors from occupation in accordance with international law, the UN Charter and its well-known resolutions. Only after that, the whole world witnessed the unimaginable scale of terrible acts of vandalism committed by Armenians in Karabakh for decades. 65 out of 67 officially registered mosques in the territories of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia were destroyed, temples, cemeteries, historical monuments, museums, and libraries № 229/en 11 / 07 / 2023 were looted, 2 mosques were turned into cattle stalls, where animals forbidden in Islam were kept, so it was an insult to the entire Islamic world. The once developed administrative centers, cities, towns, and villages of Azerbaijan were completely destroyed with incredible cruelty, a policy of "scorched earth" was carried out in our occupied territories. It is no coincidence that many foreign observers who visited the region after the 44-day Patriotic War were struck by this heartbreaking scene and called the places they saw “a city of ghosts” and “Azerbaijani Hiroshima”. The historical, cultural and religious monuments belonging to Azerbaijan and situated in the territory of modern Armenia, including "Shah Abbas", "Sardar", "Haji Novruz Ali" and other ancient mosques in Yerevan, were completely destroyed along the decades, while the architectural features of the only surviving “Blue Mosque” there were changed after the "fire" that allegedly occurred there. Not just destruction of the Muslim mosques in Armenia and Karabakh, - the historical territory of Azerbaijan, moreover, the Armenian invaders falsified and Gregorianized the Orthodox Church of "John the Baptist" in Shusha, as well as the temples of ancient Caucasian Albania in other regions, this is in addition to total destroy of the Khojavend Orthodox Church. However, unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan, in its capital Baku and other regions, representatives of different nations and religions live in peace and tranquility, among them thousands of citizens of Armenian origin, and in the center of Baku, under the protection of the state, the Armenian Church and her library is safe in proper conditions. In particular, I would like to draw your attention to that fact that there is no administrative unit called "Artsakh" on the 86.6 thousand square meters territory of Azerbaijan, officially recognized by the Prime Minister of Armenia N. Pashinyan, alongside with the entire world community. Meanwhile, peaceful rallies of eco-activists on the Lachin-Khankendi road, which is the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, took place at the beginning of this year against the facts of plundering of the natural resources of our country, pollution of the environment, as well as the transportation of land mines and military ammunition produced in Armenia in 2021 to the liberated territories, after the statement of November 10, 2020, signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia. Neither then, nor today there are no any restriction on humanitarian movement and transportation of civilian cargo. We unequivocally state that false information spread by the Armenian Church and its patrons, statements about the humanitarian crisis and the "policy of ethnic cleansing" in Karabakh are slanderous and designed to cover up the provocative terrorist activity of illegal Armenian armed groups on the territory of Azerbaijan. Today, in our territories, liberated from occupation, hundreds of civilians die or become disabled because of the land mines laid by Armenians, and the Armenian Church is using the religious stage to speak with warlike rhetoric and to support revanchism. With this letter, we call on Your Organization to advocate the truth and to make objective statements, not to take a one-sided position while pace is so fragile, to defend justice and not to support the inciting activities of the Armenian side. Because clergy, religious organizations, and especially religious leaders who serve the One Creator and the Truth, have to promote the ideas of humanism, peace, coexistence and mutual understanding, but not conflict and confrontation. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Gospel of Matthew, 5:9)
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur PASHAZADEH
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