Baku/08.02.22/ Changes to the law “On freedom of religion” come from the need to bring it into line with international agreements to which Azerbaijan has joined. Vice Speaker of the Milli Majlis Fazail Ibrahimli told Turan commenting on the amendments to the law adopted in the first reading. According to him, significant changes to this law have already been made in 2021, and now five more changes are being proposed.
An important change is that the Caucasus Muslim Board (CMO) is no longer authorized to make representations for the appointment of leaders of religious communities. “Appointments are already made by the Committee for Work with Religious Institutions, so there is no need for an introduction,” the vice speaker noted. Ibrahimli does not agree with the opinion that this change will limit the powers of the CMD.
On January 27, the head of the CMC, Sheikh Pashazade, made an appeal to citizens, where he called the proposed changes “reforms in the religious sphere,” the vice speaker said.
An expert in the field of religion Kanan Rovshanoglu, in turn, noted that the executive branch has been strengthening its influence and presence in the religious sphere for the 6th year in a row. This is due to the fact that the CMC cannot fully control the situation in this area. Apparently, Azerbaijan is adopting Turkey’s experience in this area.
“Azerbaijan is creating a model that is close in its essence to the relationship between the state and religion in Turkey,” Rovshanoglu said.
Previously, issues of religious education, funding of religious communities were resolved through the CMD, then these powers were transferred to state bodies.
In 2018, the University of Theology was established, and the Islamic University, which is subordinate to the UMK, was closed. The current changes to the law will deprive the WMC of the right to appoint an imam in a mosque.
“From now on, the UMK will only be able to issue fatwas on the occasion of religious holidays, it will have no other powers,” he said. At the same time, the fate of the Qadi Council, which has its own offices in the regions, remains unclear. It is not yet clear who will appoint the members of this council, Rovshanoglu said.
On February 1, the Milli Majlis adopted in the first reading amendments to the law “On freedom of religion.” -05B-