Sam Brownback: "Religious freedom for all must be protected, including in employment"

"The U.S. is concerned by reports that, after nearly 20 years of distinguished service, Rahim Akhundov was dismissed from the Parliament of Azerbaijan due to his faith," the U.S. religious freedom ambassador tweeted on Monday.

"Religious freedom for all must be protected, including in employment," Sam Brownback, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, noted without offering further details.

As TURAN's U.S. correspondent was informed by diplomatic sources, Washington's concerns comes amid reports that Christians might be disciplined or dismissed for practising their faith in Azerbaijan.

Akhundov, 50, who worked at Azerbaijani Parliament, has sued his former employers for unfair dismissal in 2018.

"Judge of the Baku Administrative Court Miminat Hajibeyova did not consider the case on its merits, because she ignored the facts of human rights violation and intimidation and pressure exerted on me by the Parliament," he recently noted on Facebook.

The local media claimed in 2018 that he was a victim of religious conversion, something that TURAN couldn't confirm independently. Akhundov himself was unable to comment on this report by Monday night.

In a 2018 Facebook post, Akhundov questioned, without hinting his own case, "to whom or which state agency the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan must address, if they are fired for their religious beliefs? If it occurs what should a citizen do? Should he/she remain silent or raise this issue?"

96 percent of the Azerbajani population is Muslim. Groups that together constitute the remaining 4 percent of the population include the Russian Orthodox Church; Georgian Orthodox Church; Armenian Apostolic Church; Seventh-day Adventists; Molokans; Roman Catholic Church; other Christians, including evangelical Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses; Jews; and Baha’is.

Christians mainly live mainly in capital Baku, and other urban areas.

Alex Raufoglu

Washington D.C.


Leave a review


Follow us on social networks

News Line