Letter of Congratulation the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the 11th Congress of the Caucasian Muslims - July 29, 2003

Distinguished representatives of the congress!

I warmly greet You, the representatives of the 11th Congress of the Caucasian Muslims held in Baku, and wish successes to the work of the Congress.

The Caucasus is one of the rare regions of the world due to the traditions and rich morality created by the peoples settled here since the ancient times. The Caucasian people gave very precious and solid contributions to the world. A new phase began in the history of the peoples of the region with the spread of Islam, and the divine orders of the Holy Quran laid the ground of the lifestyle of the people and moral traditions of the people. Beginning from this period, the Islamic civilization gave a strong impetus to the socio-economic, scientific and cultural development of the Caucasian peoples, and the prominent figures of the region contributed greatly to enrichment of this civilization.

Islam is the religion of peace, brotherhood and cooperation. Tragic events in the United States of America on September 2001, 11, were denounced by the religious figures of the Muslim as well as all by peaceful forces, and efforts of imposing religious aspects to the terrorism were also decisively rejected. Indeed, Islam, which is the religion of kindness and compassion, cannot bear any relation to violence and terrorism.

Tolerances in regard to other religions, pacific co-existence are the noble features of Islam. It has been always practiced in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan. We can proudly say that there were no confrontations on religious basis in our region. Such a case obviously demonstrates that the Caucasian Muslims were always faithful to the Islamic values which call for peace. The conflicts instigated by some ill-intentioned political forces, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in our region have no religious or ethnic grounds. This is a result of the policy conducted by the separatist forces who are the enemies of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our countries. The efforts of the Office of the Caucasian Muslims, religious figures are praiseworthy in the way of establishment of religious tolerance and elimination of the conflicts from the point of view of establishment of stability and peace in the region. After restoring its independence, Azerbaijan took the way of establishment of democratic, secular and legal state and moves on this way. Azerbaijan considers provision of all freedoms, including freedom of conscience provided in its Constitution as a part of his policy. A state-religion relation established in Azerbaijan is taken as an efficient and useful model in the international arena. Cultivation of magnificent moral values of Islam to the Azerbaijani citizens and their education on this ground exert a positive impact on the healthy morality in the society. The Azerbaijani government highly appreciates the work of the Muslim religious figures in this sphere.

Esteemed representatives of the Congress!

The 11th Congress of the Caucasian Muslims is the first in the third millennium. The new century puts new tasks and demands for all sections of the society, including the religious figures. I am confident that in this Congress you will discuss the issues of the building of activities of the Caucasian Muslims based on those tasks, solution of the common Caucasian issues and closer cooperation for propagation of the values of Islam and take appropriate decisions.

I wish great success in your noble activity which serves the high ideals and happiness and health.

Heydar Aliyev,

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, July 30, 2003.