Lezgi-Mosque Community complains of harassment

At today’s press conference  at the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety (IRFS) members of the community Lezgi Mosque stated facts  of harassment  of Sunnis in the country lately. As an example, they called unreasonable closing of Sunni mosques "Shahidlyar", "Abubakr" and "Mushfigabad.” The initiative of these measures comes from the Caucasian Muslims Office and the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations , said members of the community. They expressed dissatisfaction that they are often called Wahhabis , the Khawarij, Tekfirchi though they are ordinary Sunnis.

Community members also stated  about discrimination of Sunni, the  communities of which, unlike Shiites,  do not register. This is done in order to "eliminate" the Sunnis in general, said community leader Faik Mustafa.

He said that the rules for performing namaz Sunnis and Shiites are different, so visiting the Shiite mosques by Shiites is impossible. "It's the same situation as Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox,"  he said.

The lawyer Elman  Osman believes that 35% of the population of Azerbaijan  are Sunnis, but the number of mosques reduced. Due to insufficient space the Sunnis  are forced to meet in homes and pray. However, police arrest they accusing of illegal gatherings.

He also said that the Sunnis do not have their leader in Azerbaijan, Mufti, and  they do not consider  a leader a deputy CMO, Salman Musayev.

Community rejects accusations that its members go to fight in Syria.

"We do not know what our parishioners  do leaving the mosque. And  among  fighting in Syria, there are more  Shiites than the Sunnis,"  said community leader Mustafa Faik. He also reported on the persecution of believers in Salyan  region for their religious beliefs.

"I do not Farsi, but  and Turkish  namaz, and for this we are not allowed in the mosque,"  said Faik Mustafa.

In conclusion,  community members say they appeal to the head of state with  request to hear their problems and help to solve them.

*Lezgi Mosque - one of the oldest in Baku, and dates from the 17th century. In the Soviet period this small mosque was closed and opened after the restoration of independence of Azerbaijan. -05C-      

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