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Azerbaijan toughens fight against illicit religious propaganda

CCTV cameras installed in mosques throughout the country

A total of 142 Azerbaijani nationals were held legally liable last year for carrying out illicit religious propaganda – reads a report issued by the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers.

The detainees were found with 14 rounds of ammunition, 3 firearms, 145 CDs, 356 leaflets, 5 185 units of religious literature, with the production and sales thereof not being sanctioned by a relevant executive government agency.

As is pointed out in the report, 230 CCTV cameras have already been installed at 53 mosques in the country’s urban and rural areas. The installation process continues.

The most recent case was reported in Buzovna settlement in the outskirts of Baku. At the end of February, law-enforcers shut down an unregistered prayer house known as Imam Zeynalabdin. Farhad Ahmedov, the head of the prayer house, is facing administrative charges. His case has been submitted to court.

The Spiritual Board of the Caucasus Muslims is in charge of state registrations of the religious organizations in Azerbaijan. According to the Board’s data, a total of 793 religious organizations have been registered in Azerbaijan, including 765 Islamic organizations, 17 Christian,  8 Judaist, 2 Bahaist and 1 Krishnaite.

A total of 2 250 mosques are currently operating in Azerbaijan, of which 136 are located in the capital. There are also 14 Christian churches and 7 synagogues in the country. Interestingly, 748 ‘pyrs’ (sanctuaries) and places of worship are registered in Azerbaijan.

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