The Federation of Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Organizations, which includes 6 famous human rights organizations, on Thursday expressed dismay over the authorities’ forcible evection of the Juma mosque congregation from the mosque of the same name. (13-JULY-04)
A statement by the Federation said as religion is separate from the state in line with Azerbaijan’s Constitution, there can be no justification for the intervention of the authorities into activities of the Juma religious congregation. The statement said as a matter of fact, the Juma mosque has been taken out from one congregation and given to another, warning that some “European structures will be notified [by the federation] about the happenings.”
Police on June 30 evicted the management of the Juma mosque congregation from the premises adjacent to the mosque, enforcing a court ruling that was given on March 1. Baku’s Sabayil District court convicted the congregation of illegal occupation of the mosque in 1992. However, the Juma congregants dismissed the charge, saying that the court ruling has came as a punishment for human rights activities of the mosque’s imam, Ilgar Ibrahimoglu.
Police arrested and later released several Juma congregants, among them female ones as well, for refusing to do namaz (Islamic pray) together with the mosque’s newly appointed imam, Surkhay Mammadov.
Following the arrests, Ibrahimoglu ,who also heads the Baku branch of the International Religious Liberty Association and a local religious rights group called DEVAMM, urged the congregants not to come to the mosque for pray in order to avoid provocations.