Yunus: religious incidents as if controlled

Despite the declarations of tolerance in Azerbaijan, in fact, the situation is different, said in an interview with Objective TV the Head of the Conflicts Department of the Institute of Peace and Democracy, Arif Yunus.

"Tolerance means tolerance of ideas, languages​​, cultures, religions, people or nations. But there is no such atmosphere," said Yunus.

Problems are everywhere, and their solutions have two ways - violence and the path of peace, tolerance and compromise.

Problems exist in America and in Europe. In these societies, to address them people gather round the table and find a solution through dialogue.

"Azerbaijan has no dialogue in the political, religious or other areas.

There is no dialogue of the government, the parties and civil society. There is no dialogue between believers and non-believers," continued Yunus.

"For example, take the word Wahhabi is used although they call themselves Salafis and perceive the word Wahhabi as an insult. The media also use the term Wahhabi. Even religious leaders do not refrain from such forms of treatment.

Same is with Nursism. Of the 150 print materials about Nursism, only 20 are informative, others are in a violent manner. "Sites close to the Sunnis and Shiites publish insults against each other. In parliament deputies are accused of Nursism. All of this is no tolerance," said Yunus.

In his view, religious radicalism in Azerbaijan is only now beginning.

96% of Azerbaijan's population is Muslims. Of these, only 22% are believers.

Lately there were clashes between the currents. In various parts of the country there were incidents on this ground. If someone says that in the religious sphere everything is good, it is not so, the problem exists and is just in its infancy.

"The country faces a sort of forced radicalization. Religious leaders act on elections with political statements and violate the law.

The government claims that it monitors the religious situation, but police record incidents religiously motivated and always lag to stop them.

Promptly suppressing opposition rallies, the police do not do the same thing during religious incidents. It seems the processes are managed," said Yunus.

He drew attention to another pattern: religious incidents occur when criticism from the West is amplified.

"It seems the authorities demonstrate the presence of a religious threat to the West. At the same time, such incidents reinforce religious radicalism.

Believers are subjected to pressure and turn into radicals," continued Yunus.

According to Yunus, 400-450 Azerbaijani citizens are fighting now in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria. They will return with military thinking, radical religious views and their impact on others may have negative consequences, said Yunus. -03B06-

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