Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the chairman of the Office of the Caucasian Muslims Sheikhulislam Haji Allahshukur Pasha-zadeh on the occasion of Ramadan - Presidential residence, January 30, 1998

Distinguished sheikh!

First, I congratulate you once more on the occasion of Ramadan. I have disclosed my congratulation to the Azerbaijani people and all the Muslims in our republic. I wish happiness, peace and prosperity to all the citizen of our republic on this day of holiday. I am sure that solid socio-political situation established in Azerbaijan and our steps will improve the welfare of our people further and we shall be able to protect peace and stability.

Ramadan is one of the great holidays of our people. Our people are happy that this holiday came back to them. Now everybody, at the same time all the country and the state celebrate this holiday. I congratulate you once more.

Your attitude and opinions connected with my orders and decrees are very worthy for me. As you know, I have always struggled for protection of the morality of our people and I have fought against everything that is against our morality. With all my life, works, steps the head of the state, I have made efforts to strengthen the morality in our country more and establish our national values and ensure fidelity to our national customs and traditions. All the citizens of our republic and you are aware of my works in this sphere so far.

My last resolution is not accidental. I was observing some negative events and tendencies connected with the recent positive changes in our republic. I was worrying much. For example I am concerned with the spread of the use of alcohol, increase of its production or use of drugs. Besides, casinos, night clubs function legally or illegally. They are contradicting to the morality of our people and destructive for the education of our young people, especially the upbringing our young women. It worried me much.

I not once ordered education bodies, youth organizations, public and law enforcement bodies to prevent it and strengthen the struggle against such events. After feeling the inefficiency of the measures taken so far, I was obliged to bring this issue to the discussion of the Security Council of the republic. Several hours this issue was discussed at the meeting of the Security Council. I stated my ideas, concerns and position quit openly. As a result, I issued the decree which you all are aware of.

I am pleased that our people and public approve and meet my actions with respect and sympathy. Undoubtedly, attitude of our clergymen and pious people to this issue is very worthy for me. You informed me about it and all these have been reflected in the letter which I received from you.

I am very grateful. I am very pleased that our ideas concerning it, our understanding of our historic, religious and moral values and our relations with the world and ongoing processes in the society coincide and are the same.

There is no doubt that we establish a secular state in Azerbaijan. We never call our people to be inspired by any extremist aspirations and we shall not let it. We respect the religion and common human values as well. We must cultivate in our people long-tested common human values and educate our people on this ground. But we must not ignore our national-moral values, too. We cannot allow the spread of immorality in this process.

Casinos, night clubs and alcohol addiction are undoubtedly against our morality. That is why I think that the decision which I took and my decree and all these steps must be implemented into life and a long-term work must be done for this.

Thank you for your approval and supporting me in this work. But I would like you actively participate in the implementation of my decisions in practice for the elimination of cases against our morality. But elimination of it is not the only case. We must always protect our morality. Because, it is possible that we can exterminate it for some time, but they can penetrate into our society again. That is natural. That is why this is a constant work for us, not a campaign. We must do this work forever.

I am confident that you will be an active participant in the implementation of these works and steps in your sphere, in the society and among people.

Heydar Aliyev: "Our independence is forever" (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, appeals, decrees) - Azernashr, Baku-1998, vol.XIV, pp. 193-197.