Azerbaijani Newspaper Azernews publishes interview with ISESCO Director General
In its today’s issue, the Azerbaijani Newspaper Azernews published an interview with Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), which focused on four main issues: Azerbaijan’s efforts in promoting intercultural dialogue and preserving Islamic culture and architecture; the threats faced by the Islamic world and ways to address them; requirements of fostering Islamic solidarity; and ISESCO’s Action Plan for reducing religion-based conflicts and promoting mutual understanding between followers of religions and cultures.
In his reply to the questions of journalist Kamila Aliyeva, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Azernews, ISESCO Director General said that the Republic of Azerbaijan deploys great efforts in promoting intercultural dialogue and interfaith coexistence through civilizational initiatives including the annual organization of the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, the establishment of the National Center for Tolerance, which translates the principles of tolerance and coexistence into real-life practices and executive measures which all embody the fruitful cooperation and active partnership between the Ministry of Culture and the National Commission in charge of relations with the religious institutions in the Republic of Azerbaijan, UNESCO and ISESCO. Likewise, Dr Altwaijri reiterated his great appreciation of the efforts of the Government of Azerbaijan under the leadership of His Excellency Mr Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic.
In addition, ISESCO Director General pointed out that the civilizational and cultural heritage of the Republic of Azerbaijan is known for its richness and diversity thanks to its openness and interaction with multi-source human cultures and the outreach of heritage’s schools and cultural and scientific institutions and their abundant production in all fields of knowledge, architecture and various forms of artistic expression. The interplay of various cultures, successive civilizations, multi-source arts and literature, Dr Altwaijri emphasized, have turned the country into an abode of tolerant coexistence and true civilizational and cultural dialogue in its deepest sense and made it one of ISESCO Member States that pay close attention to its cultural and civilizational heritage. “For these considerations, two of Azerbaijan’s cities were selected as Asian region’s capitals of Islamic culture: the first is Baku in 2009 and the second Nakhchivan in 2018”, he said.
In another vein, ISESCO Director General stated that the Islamic world is facing many challenges and that amid the numerous crises it faces, any keen and attentive observer may understand that the challenges besieging the Islamic world at this critical period may not be addressed from a narrow perspective with such limited efforts and means that fail to fully comprehend the developmental dimensions of the battle. He then stressed that illiteracy is by far the most serious of all the challenges that besiege the Islamic world and undermine its capabilities alongside sectarian conflicts. “By embracing again the teachings of our noble religion, sticking to the Islamic brotherhood, rejecting all forms of bigotry, intellectual and behavioral aberration, and entrenching Islamic solidarity in the Islamic world that it is possible to eliminate sectarian strife”, Dr Altwaijri maintained.
Furthermore, he explained that ISESCO is concerned with fostering the values of dialogue among followers of religions, cultures and civilizations, both in Islamic countries and in the world. He clarified that ISESCO is an active player in the international action in the field of intercultural dialogue by participating in international conferences on dialogue issues and publicizing the vision of the Islamic civilization to the issues addressed at such international events.
In conclusion, ISESCO Director General highlighted that the proclamation of 2019 as a year of Islamic cultural heritage concurs with the 50th Anniversary of the Arson Attack against Al-Aqsa Mosque. He considered this event as a call to governmental and non-governmental bodies inside and outside the Islamic world to seize this sorrowful occasion to contribute to the publicizing, protection and development of Al-Quds heritage, and celebrate Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the Arab region’s Capital of Islamic Culture for 2019 and a Permanent Capital of Islamic Culture.
To read the full interview, see: