ANKARA: Azerbaijan To Shut Down Turkish-Funded Mosque, Facing More C


Anadolu Agency
May 21 2009

Azerbaijan is continuing to shut down mosques in a practice Muslims
had suffered in Soviet era.

Azerbaijan is continuing to shut down mosques in a practice Muslims
had suffered in Soviet era. Muslims in Baku will gather to perform
Friday prayer at the mosque that is to be closed.

After the closure of Sehitlik and Diyanet Mosques, now Baku State
University Divinity School Mosque will be closed. Azeris fear other
27 mosques that have survived during the Soviet period will face the
same end.

Hidayet Orucov, who is responsible for Religious Institutions in
Azerbaijan, claimed 27 mosques out of 32 are "illegal" in Old Baku,
and implied these mosques were going to be closed.

Hovewer, Azerbaijani Muslims insist performing Friday prayer in this
mosque despite the ban. Earlier, two mosques that most people gather
for Friday prayer in Baku already closed. According to local sources,
at least ten thousand people come to the school mosque and most of
them are students.

Students once closed one of the central streets and performed afternoon
prayers in the middle of the road when azan (call to prayer) had been
banned in the country.

Faculty and Mosque began their activities in 1992. Both faculty and
the mosque’s costs are covered by the Turkish Religious Foundation.

However, since the faculty opened, problems have never been
finished. The faculty can accept "only 50 students per year". Although
It is the only Divinity School in the country, the faculty still can
not have permission to open postgraduate, doctoral programs after
17 years.

Azerbaijan had destroyed a mosque that named after Prophet Muhammed
(PBUH) as well as another one in Petrol island, and shut down Sehitlik
Mosque, which was built by Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs.

A mosque was built on 28 June, 1995 beside the Martyrdom cemetery
erected in Baku in honour of 1130 Turkish soldiers died fighting
withing "Caucasian Islam Army" against Armenian and Russian soldiers
that occupied Azerbaijan in 1918.

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