From Baku to Strasbourg: 40,000-euro-worth idiosyncrasies

According to Azeri Press Agency, Heydar Aliyev Foundation, named after a former KGB strongman and communist party chief turned president, and which operates in and from the Republic of Azerbaijan, a secular Shia state, has donated €40,000 to Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. The foundation is headed by the First Lady of Azerbaijan who is also a Goodwill Ambassador of both UNESCO and ISESCO – Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. So many idiosyncrasies, you think?

This could be a very perfect news piece otherwise – embroiled in infamous clashes of civilizations and suffering from religious and cultural intolerance, the world could be relieved by this generous act, as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg was relieved from ongoing global economic crisis maybe. However, back at home, things are not so comforting.

Since the start of 2009, the secular Shia state of Azerbaijan has demolished three mosques (all Shiite ones), while closed Baku’s main Sunni mosque. Another Sunni mosque remains closed since the summer of last year, when a grenade exploded inside killing two worshippers and wounding the imam.

Now, people in the streets ask a legitimate question – what is the logic behind the closure and demolition of mosques at home and a lavish donation to a church abroad?

Ironically, Baku is declared the Capital of Islamic Culture of 2009 by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

To read more about closed and demolished Baku mosques visit these: