Bulletin N°47

février 2024

Understanding tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh through a religious prism: a look back at the war of 2020 – English version

Altay Goyushov

In September 2020 war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. It lasted approximately six weeks and resulted in Azerbaijan regaining control over the vast majority of the territories it lost during the previous war in the 1990s. Although in their appeals to the international community the secular Azerbaijani government and local Muslim leaders insisted that this war had no religious dimension[1]http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9565/prezident-ilham-eliyev-bizim-hedeflerimiz-arasinda-hech-bir-tarixi-ve-  , accessed 9 December 2023, during the hostilities Islamic religious symbols and rituals were nevertheless routinely used by the authorities. At first glance it would seem that this was done in order to reignite Azerbaijanis’ religious sentiments as a part of a broader strategy to mobilize public opinion behind the government’s war efforts. However, that is not the whole story. First of all, the majority of the Azerbaijani population is secular and religious slogans can hardly be said to possess significant mobilization power for them. Moreover, virtually every segment of Azerbaijani society with few exceptions supported the war regardless of the appeals to their religious sentiments. Most importantly, an appeal to Islamic slogans was not even necessary to rally local Islamists to the war cause. Independent and informal Islamists[2]In Azerbaijan, it is against the law for clerics and Muslim religious communities to operate without state registration. And in order to receive the state registration, all Muslim communities in the … Continue reading have always been proponents of war. In 2014, the informal leader of Azerbaijani Sunni-Salafis Gamet Suleimanov declared that “all Armenians are infidels and the war in Karabakh is a jihad and any Azerbaijanis killed in this conflict should be considered Islamic martyrs[3]https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=kLN0HS12XcE, accessed 9 December 2023. Informal Shi’i activists went even further by fiercely criticizing the government for not resuming war in Karabakh.

So, the question is: what were the rationales behind such intensive references to Islam by the government during the six-week war?


First of all, it should be noted that Azerbaijan is a secular country. The Constitution explicitly stipulates that religion is separate from the state and all religions are equal before the law and there is no mention of any religion or religious institution. Even so, over 90% of the population is culturally Muslim[4]Bayram Balci, “Le renouveau islamique en Azerbaïdjan entre dynamiques internes et influences extérieures,” Les Etudes du CERI, 138, 2007, pp. 1–37, at 3.. And the collapse of the communist USSR has resulted in a significant revival process for Islam in Azerbaijan. Muslim believer groups with different nominations have become active in the country's public life[5]See Rufat Sattarov, Islam, State, and Society in Independent Azerbaijan: Between Historical Legacy and Post-Soviet Reality, Kohlheck, Dr Ludwig Reichert, 2009..

It also should be mentioned that for decades preceding the war in 2020 in Karabakh Azerbaijani authorities have worked hard to boost the country’s image as a hub of multiculturalism and tolerance. In his public speeches, President Aliyev has consistently stated that the multiculturalism policy and promotion of tolerance are crucial elements of the state policy of Azerbaijan. The year 2016 was declared as the 'Year of Multiculturalism' in the country. Capital Baku has been the host of numerous international events that dealt with religions, cultures, and civilization, such as Summits of World Religious Leaders[6]https://www.unaoc.org/2019/11/remarks-baku-summit-of-world-religious-leaders/, accessed 9 December 2023 and Forums on Intercultural Dialogue[7]https://fr.unesco.org/silkroad/node/10387, accessed 9 December 2023.. However, as researcher Benoit Filout argues “There is no real multicultural policy in Azerbaijan [...] Azerbaijani multiculturalism as a state policy is above all a discursive reality, a fabric of statements and representations intended to produce a particular self-image…[8]Benoit Filout, “Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan”, Baku Research institute, 2021.  https://bakuresearchinstitute.org/en/multiculturalism-in-azerbaijan/, accessed 9 December 2023

In contrast, traditionally, since the early 1990s, independent and oppositional Shi’i religious clerics and organizations have been zealous proponents of war with Armenia and used the Karabakh issue to criticize Azerbaijani authorities. Many of them, including the Islamic Party[9]https://qafqaz.ir/az/qarabagin-azadligi-islam-umm%C9%99tinin-v%C9%99hd%C9%99tind%C9%99n-kecir-haci-ilham-%C9%99liyev/, accessed 9 December 2023 or the famous head of the Juma Mosque community Haji Ilgar Ibrahimoghlu[10] … Continue reading, regularly compared Karabakh and Palestine in their speeches and at public events. Iranian circles patronizing informal Shi’i organizations in Azerbaijan have also been active in promoting the resumption of war. Seyyid Hasan Amili, for instance, a famous figure in the Azerbaijani Imam-Juma in the Iranian city of Ardabil, vowed to come and fight in Karabakh[11]https://olke.az/siyaset/52518/seyid-hesen-amili-qarabag-ugrunda-doyusmeye-haziriq-52518/test , accessed 9 December 2023 and frequently raised the issue of Karabakh in his sermons. Iranian religious circles organized multiple conferences and exhibitions with such titles as “The İmportance of Nagorno-Karabakh in Islamic Resistance Literature and Poetry[12] … Continue reading.”

In the past, however, preachers — especially Shi’is — who were more loyal to the government usually tried to avoid the topic of Karabakh, or when they spoke about it, they employed a more conciliatory tone and portrayed the role of religion as the ultimate peacebuilder, furiously denying that there is any religious dimension to the conflict.

Yet the situation has changed since 2019 when even Shi’i circles aligned with the Azerbaijani government started using a more belligerent tone in regard to the conflict with Armenia. In its fatwa on the occasion of the Muharram commemorations, which are sacrosanct for Shi’is worldwide, the Caucasus Muslim Board urged believers to “remember our martyrs in sermons and pray for the liberation of our lands from occupation[13]http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9026/qafqaz-muselmanlari-idaresinin-qazilar-shurasinin-ve-elmi-dini-shuranin-fetvasi , accessed 9 December 2023.” Unlike the first summit of world religious leaders held in Baku in 2016[14]https://www.azadliq.org/a/2026248.html , accessed 9 December 2023, no invitation was extended to the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church Karekin II to attend the second summit held in 2019[15]https://ona.az/az/sosial/allahsukur-pasazade-dini-liderlerin-seylerinin-birlesdirilmesi-munaqise-ocaqlarinin-sondurulmesini-temin-ede-biler-16248 , accessed 9 December 2023. Usually scrupulously careful in his wording, late Haji Shahin Hasanli, “one of the most popular Shia preachers in contemporary Azerbaijan[16]Ansgar Jödicke “Shia groups and Iranian religious influence in Azerbaijan: the impact of transboundary religious ties on national religious policy,” Eurasian Geography and Economics, 58 (5), … Continue reading” and loyal to the government Shi’i preacher, spoke explicitly about the “importance of revenge” and the inevitability of a future war with Armenia in a speech at an event commemorating the victims of the Khojali massacre of 1992[17]https://news.day.az/azerinews/1096612.html , accessed 9 December 2023. Articles penned by pro-government activists appeared in the local media describing Muharram commemorations as an instrument “to instill determination and irreconcilability against the enemy” and as “the most effective part of the military-patriotic propaganda to regain Karabakh[18]http://ahlibeyt.az/news/a-9785.html , accessed 9 December 2023..” This trend continued in early 2020 with rising intensity. During the yearly commemorations of the tragic events of January 20, 1990, when Soviet troops entered Baku to quell anti-government protests which resulted in the death of more than one hundred civilians[19]https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1990/01/27/soviets-say-troops-used-to-avert-coup-in-baku/fbd719ea-9242-4388-afc2-3a67d05d016d/ , accessed 9 December 2023, and the anniversary of the aforementioned Khojaly massacre of 1992[20]https://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/03/world/massacre-by-armenians-being-reported.html , accessed 9 December 2023, the State Committee for work with Religious Associations (SCWRA) organized multiple events called “Love of Motherland and Martyrdom[21]http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9321/kurdemirde-veten-sevgisi-ve-shehidlik-movzusunda-tedbir-kechirilib ; … Continue reading.

Hijacking the Discourse from Informal Activists

In late September 2020, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive to regain territories in Karabakh lost in the 1990s. On September 29, 2020, the semi-official leader of Azerbaijani Muslims Sheikh al-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade appealed to the public, urging everyone to unite behind the president during the ongoing “patriotic war and to end the thirty-year occupation of our lands[22]https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2474  , accessed 9 December 2023.” Throughout the war the use of Islamic identity became one of the most visible features of the government’s discourse. Islamic rituals were symbolically used to seal the military’s victories and the re-taking of cities from Armenian troops. One of the first news stories distributed by pro-government media from Jabrail, the first city liberated by the Azerbaijani army, was that “the first adhan (Muslim call for prayer) had been delivered in Jabrail after 27 years of occupation.[23]http://pia.az/cebrayilda-ilk-defe-azan-seslendi-video-368054-xeber.html, accessed 9 December 2023” The trend continued in other cities retaken from Armenia, such as mountainous Shusha. The president’s appeal proved that this symbolic gesture was a calculated government policy[24]https://azertag.az/xeber/Azerbaycan_Prezidenti_28_ilden_sonra_Susada_yene_de_azan_sesi_esidilecek_VIDEO-1636825  , accessed 9 December 2023. During trips to recaptured territories after the end of hostilities, the president and his wife — the first vice-president of the country — visited several mosques and the speeches made by the president there were widely shared by the state media[25] https://president.az/az/articles/view/47685, accessed 9 December 2023.

As outlined above, informal Islamic activism — especially Shi’i — has always been in opposition to the secular government[26]More on islamic opposition in: Sofie Bedford, "L'opposition islamique en Azerbaïdjan. Discursive Conflicts and beyond", in Greg Simons & David Westerlund (eds.), Religion, Politics and … Continue reading. And for some time the authoritarian Azeri regime — which by nature does not tolerate independent activity and aims to control and steer every kind of public conversation in the country — has been pursuing a policy to seize dominance in Islamic discourse from informal activists[27]See: Kamal Gasimov, “The Bureaucratization of Islam in Azerbaijan: State as the Principal Regulator and Interpreter of Religion,” Central Asian Affairs, 7, 2020, pp. 1–37.. The war provided a chance to weigh in more heavily in this discourse and capture dominance in religious rhetoric from informal Islamists. We assume that it was this this intention, rather than an attempt to galvanize the religious sentiments of the wider public, that was the primary rationale behind the ruling elite’s focus on Islamic rhetoric. That is why one of the president’s most “Islamic” speeches happened not during the military clashes in the autumn of 2020, but afterwards when the hostilities ended. In this speech delivered in the ruins of the recently recovered city of Agdam, the president made the following remarks:

Today, in front of the mosque destroyed by vandals, I am saying that I am a happy man. I thank Allah again for hearing my prayers and giving me this strength… I am happy to have visited Mecca four times, once with my late father and three times as president. I am happy that I prayed with my family inside the Holy Kaaba. I have the same feelings in my heart as everyone else. My first prayer was for the liberation of our lands from occupation. I asked God to give me the strength to liberate our lands from the occupiers, to give us this happiness and to return to the land of our ancestors[28] https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/azerbaijani-leader-slams-western-pro-armenian-states/2054905 , accessed 9 December 2023.

The fact that Azerbaijani authorities used the opportunity provided by the war to accelerate their policy of domesticating Islam is seen in another development as well. During the war the state media widely reported “the first joint Juma prayer of both Sunni and Shi’i soldiers at the historic Govhar Agha Mosque since its liberation” in Shusha city[29]https://report.az/qarabag/28-ilden-sonra-susada-cume-namazi-qilinib/, accessed 9 December 2023.

According to the semi-official head of Azerbaijani Muslims, the head  of the Caucasus Muslim Board, Sheikh al-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade Shi’is make up approximately 65% of the Muslim population, while Sunnis compose roughly 35%. However, it should be noted that the vast majority of Azerbaijanis are secular and they are only culturally affiliated with Islam and the country is frequently listed among the most secular nations in the world. On the other hand, the proportion between Sunnis and Shi’s among regular observants of Islamic rites are roughly equal and there are no any noticeable differences between them on the perception of the conflict with Armenia.

Traditionally Azerbaijani Shi’is and Sunnis perform their prayers separately at different times according to their respective theology. Yet, some time ago the Azerbaijani government’s religious policy started prioritizing a so-called “united Azerbaijani Islam” discourse which presumes and actually imposes on religious groups loyal to the government the obligation to perform this kind of joint prayer between Sunnis and Shi’is. However, this relative novelty along with other practices imposed to “standardize Islam” are not well-received by informal activists. They have resisted the multiple measures aiming to unify Islamic rituals, which are politically motivated and dictated by secular authorities. Yet, for a variety of reasons, including fear of government reprisals, they do not resist this government policy openly. Most importantly, these procedures implemented by the government are appreciated and supported by the nominally Muslim secular majority of the society, making it difficult for devoted believers to challenge this government policy outspokenly. In addition, an imagined Islamic unity is a concept promoted by informal activists themselves and vocal objection would not be easy to explain to the wider Azerbaijani public with limited knowledge of Sharia. Nevertheless, believers held separate religious events in the retaken cities as well[30]http://arannews.com/News/60654/A%C5%9Fura-m%C9%99kt%C9%99binin-%C5%9Fagirdi-olmaq--Az%C9%99rbaycan-cavanlar%C4%B1n%C4%B1n-Qaraba%C4%9Fda-u%C4%9Fur-r%C9%99mzi.html ; … Continue reading. The military success was so resounding that even relentless critics of the government, such as currently jailed Shi’i activist and preacher Haji Tale Baghirzadeh, congratulated the Azerbaijani state and people on the occasion of victory[31]https://qafqaz.ir/az/tale-bagirzad%C9%99-az%C9%99rbaycan-xalqini-t%C9%99brik-etdi/, accessed 9 December 2023. Yet, unlike leaders of the secular-nationalist opposition[32]https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2020/11/free/politics%20news/en/129697.htm , accessed 9 December 2023, in his congratulatory letter sent from prison, Baghirzadeh fell short of mentioning president Aliyev personally.

İt should also be added that one of the novelties of the war in 2020 was the gradual embracement of the word qazi  (Arabic form: غازي( - used in Ottoman times to label warriors participating in the wars of conquest in Christian lands and war veterans in general in the current Turkish official language – by Azerbaijani officials to describe war veterans. Both words qazi and şəhid (Arabic form: شَهِيد - a martyr to the Islamic faith) have been ousted from the Azerbaijani vocabulary as, correspondingly, descriptions of war veterans and those died in the wars, during the Soviet times. The latter reentered Azerbaijani since aforementioned January 1990 events and subsequently received an official recognition as a description of those who died in the Karabakh wars against Armenians as well. The qazi in its turn until the war in 2020 was mainly used by veterans and their organizations to describe themselves, however the last war stimulated the popularization of the word in public discourse and (although, not in official documentation yet) started being used by officials[33]https://dost.gov.az/news/345, accessed 9 December 2023  and state institutions[34]https://sosial.gov.az/media/xeberler/post_419639, accessed 9 December 2023 in their public speeches and statements.

Blame the West

Criticizing the West has always been one of the main rallying points of Islamic activism. And some time ago the Azerbaijani ruling elite in its struggle to win over the hearts and minds of Muslim believers started to compete with informal activists in this discourse as well. Frequent attacks on Europe for its alleged Islamophobia were a part of this policy[35]https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-27/-anti-islam-europe-is-no-place-for-azerbaijan-president-says , accessed 9 December 2023. This style of attacks by the government particularly intensifies when the West raises objections against human rights abuses, pressure on independent media, and crackdowns on the opposition and civil society in Azerbaijan[36]https://www.rferl.org/a/azerbaijan-aliyev-zeman-eu-values-human-rights/27251531.html, accessed 9 December 2023.

During the 2020 war such accusations were made again by the Azerbaijani authorities, primarily when representatives of Western countries expressed their concerns over the fate of Christian monuments in war zones and territories recaptured by the Azerbaijani side. In fact, during the war both sides of the conflict traded accusations over the destruction and alteration of their religious and cultural heritage by their adversary. Already in 2019, the head of the SCWRA Mubariz Gurbanli, in an interview where he accused Armenians of altering and damaging the historic Govher-Agha (Gövhər-Ağa) mosque in Shusha under the pretext of renovation, claimed that hundreds of historic-religious sites had been destroyed by the Armenian side in Karabakh[37]http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9107/mubariz-qurbanli-ermenilerin-temir-behanesi-ile-yuxari-govher-aga-mescidine , accessed 9 December 2023. When hostilities started in September these accusations intensified from both sides, attracting the attention of the domestic and international public. Azerbaijan interpreted the issue as a deliberate Armenian anti-Islamic policy. In his interview in late October 2020 the deputy head of the SCWRA Gunduz Ismayilov claimed that “the complete destruction of the Turkic-Islamic heritage was part of a calculated Armenian religious policy in occupied Karabakh[38]http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9578/gunduz-ismayilov-ermenistan-ishgal-altinda-qalan-tarixi-dini-abidelerimizle-bagli-fealiyyeti- , accessed 9 December 2023.” During the war Azerbaijani side released multiple photos and videos accusing Armenians of desecrating mosques[39]https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/mosque-turned-into-pigsty-under-armenias-occupation/2034748, accessed 9 December 2023. The Azerbaijani president claimed that the “destruction of our historic and religious heritage is a crime against the whole Muslim world[40]http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9525/prezident-ilham-eliyev-tarixi-dini-abidelerimizin-ermenistan-terefinden-dagidilmasi-butun-muselman- , accessed 9 December 2023.” Following suit, Azerbaijan’s state media aired a TV discussion called “Vandalism against mosques is a crime against the whole Muslim world[41]http://www.aztv.az/az/news/8921/mescidlere-qarsi-toredilen-vandalliq-butun-muselman-dunyasina-edilen-cinayetdir-markmuzakiremark , accessed 9 December 2023.” According to Azerbaijani media, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued a statement condemning the desecration of mosques in Nagorno-Karabakh  and the surrounding territories[42]http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9600/iet-dagliq-qarabagda-ermeniler-terefinden-islama-aid-tarixi-ziyaretgahlarin-dagidilmasindan- , accessed 9 December 2023.

The Azerbaijani president used this discourse to reiterate his criticism of Western countries as well. In the following speech he was particularly furious:

The leaders of Western countries which ignite Islamophobic sentiments, those who have turned a blind eye to the insults of Islam and even justified those who are insulting it… have no right to talk about it… Why didn’t certain Western leaders express their concern? Does this mean that Muslim mosques can be insulted, cows and pigs can be kept [there] and [the mosques can] be destroyed? If so, let them say so, let them deal with the problems in their countries and not interfere in our work. Let no one interfere in our work. We have come here ourselves. We have come here in spite of the efforts of all those countries. We have come in spite of all the provocations. We have shed blood and we are standing on our land. Let everyone mind their own business.[43] https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/azerbaijani-leader-slams-western-pro-armenian-states/2054905 , accessed 9 December 2023

During the war when the public’s nationalistic fervor reached its highest point, this populist speech resonated well with Azerbaijanis, who were angry at the West for allegedly not supporting their righteous cause, as they see it, and earned the president approval from across the aisle domestically.

Seeking support from Muslims all over the World

During the war, Azerbaijani authorities also used country’s Islamic heritage in an attempt to secure international backing from Muslim countries. The main activity of Azerbaijani Islamic institutions was to attract international support for the Azerbaijani cause from Muslim world. The Shi’i believer community was under particular pressure due to the widely accepted perception of the general Azerbaijani public that Iran is an ally of Armenia[44]https://demokrat.az/az/news/53461/iranin-ikuzlu-siyaseti-islam-dovleti-muselman-xalqinin-yoxsa-isgalci-xristian-olkesinin-yanindadir-video , accessed 9 December 2023. The Caucasus Muslim Board’s leadership and other Muslim organizations worked hard to obtain supportive statements from Muslim clerics and institutions. The website of the CMB and other religious sites regularly informed the public of multiple declarations supportive of Azerbaijan in the war, among them statements and letters from Iranians like Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shriazi[45]https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2501 , accessed 9 December 2023 and Qom Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Alireza Arafi[46]https://azertag.az/xeber/ayetullah_erafi_butun_beynelxalq_senedlerde_dagliq_qarabag_azerbaycanin_ayrilmaz_erazisi_kimi_taninir-1606351 , accessed 9 December 2023. According to the CMB’s website, these kinds of letters were received from religious leaders and organizations from around the world, including the Qatar-backed International Union for Muslim Scholars[47]http://iumsonline.org/en/ContentDetails.aspx?ID=12536 , accessed 9 December 2023, the Higher Islamic Council of Algeria[48]https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2506 , accessed 9 December 2023, the Al-Khoei Foundation in the USA[49]https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2505 , accessed 9 December 2023, and many others[50]https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2481 , accessed 9 December 2023. A statement of support for the Azerbaijani cause (according to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs) from the Supreme leader of Iran Grand Ayatollah Khamenei was met with a particularly warm response from Azerbaijani officials[51]https://report.az/xarici-siyaset/xin-xameneinin-aciqlamasini-ve-azerbaycanin-erazi-butovluyune-verilen-desteyi-yuksek-qiymetlendiririk/ , accessed 9 December 2023.


As we have seen Islamic discourse was widely used by the Azerbaijani authorities during the recent war with Armenia. It was used to garner domestic support for the war, to earn allies in the Islamic world, and to discredit Armenia in the eyes of Muslim world.

More significantly authorities exploited the opportunities provided by the war to advance the policies of the government in the realm of Islam. This policy aims to domesticate Islam, lessen the dependency of Azerbaijani Muslims on foreign influence, and put it in the service of the ruling elite. To gather support as the caretaker of Islam, the government works hard to promote itself as its most zealous champion in the eyes of the local Muslim community.

Following the 2020 war, the government continued to enforce its control over religion. The Law on Religious Freedom has been further modified to give the state complete control over the lives of religious communities. Furthermore, Azerbaijani authorities used the deteriorating relations with Iran as an excuse to intensify the persecution of independent Shi'i clerics and believers[52]For more on this see: Samim Akgönül, Jørgen S. Nielsen, Ahmet Alibašić Stephanie Müssig, Egdunas Racius (eds.), Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, 14, Leiden, Brill, 2023, pp. 60–77. Worsening situation regarding the religious freedoms along with the international concerns over the fate of Armenian cultural heritage in Karabakh resulted on 4 January 2024 in inclusion of Azerbaijan in Special Watch List countries designated by the US Secretary of  State Antony Blinken for the countries engaging in severe violations of religious freedom[53]https://www.state.gov/religious-freedom-designations/, accessed 9 January 2024.



1 http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9565/prezident-ilham-eliyev-bizim-hedeflerimiz-arasinda-hech-bir-tarixi-ve-  , accessed 9 December 2023
2 In Azerbaijan, it is against the law for clerics and Muslim religious communities to operate without state registration. And in order to receive the state registration, all Muslim communities in the country must accept spiritual and organizational authority of the semi-official Caucasus Board of Muslims (CMB) and its Shi’i head. However, many influential Muslim groups reject the spiritual authority of the CMB. In addition, Azerbaijani law does not allow clerics who received their religious education abroad to operate legally in the country. So, the laws have caused many influential religious groups and clerics to operate informally, and independently from CMB.
3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=kLN0HS12XcE, accessed 9 December 2023
4 Bayram Balci, “Le renouveau islamique en Azerbaïdjan entre dynamiques internes et influences extérieures,” Les Etudes du CERI, 138, 2007, pp. 1–37, at 3.
5 See Rufat Sattarov, Islam, State, and Society in Independent Azerbaijan: Between Historical Legacy and Post-Soviet Reality, Kohlheck, Dr Ludwig Reichert, 2009.
6 https://www.unaoc.org/2019/11/remarks-baku-summit-of-world-religious-leaders/, accessed 9 December 2023
7 https://fr.unesco.org/silkroad/node/10387, accessed 9 December 2023.
8 Benoit Filout, “Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan”, Baku Research institute, 2021.  https://bakuresearchinstitute.org/en/multiculturalism-in-azerbaijan/, accessed 9 December 2023
9 https://qafqaz.ir/az/qarabagin-azadligi-islam-umm%C9%99tinin-v%C9%99hd%C9%99tind%C9%99n-kecir-haci-ilham-%C9%99liyev/, accessed 9 December 2023
10 https://www.islamtimes.org/az/interview/657595/q%C3%BCds-v%C9%99-qaraba%C4%9F-f%C9%99rqli-co%C4%9Frafiyalarda-apar%C4%B1lan-mahiyy%C9%99ti-eyni-olan-i%C5%9F%C4%9Fallard%C4%B1r-hac%C4%B1-ilqar-ibrahimo%C4%9Flu-m%C3%BCsahib%C9%99 , accessed 9 December 2023
11 https://olke.az/siyaset/52518/seyid-hesen-amili-qarabag-ugrunda-doyusmeye-haziriq-52518/test , accessed 9 December 2023
12 http://arannews.com/News/58583/Z%C9%99ncanda-%E2%80%9C%C4%B0slami-M%C3%BCqavim%C9%99t-%C5%9Eer-v%C9%99-%C6%8Fd%C9%99biyyat%C4%B1nda-Qaraba%C4%9F%C4%B1n-%C6%8Fh%C9%99miyy%C9%99ti%E2%80%9D-konfrans%C4%B1-ke%C3%A7irilib.html, accessed  9 December 2023
13 http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9026/qafqaz-muselmanlari-idaresinin-qazilar-shurasinin-ve-elmi-dini-shuranin-fetvasi , accessed 9 December 2023
14 https://www.azadliq.org/a/2026248.html , accessed 9 December 2023
15 https://ona.az/az/sosial/allahsukur-pasazade-dini-liderlerin-seylerinin-birlesdirilmesi-munaqise-ocaqlarinin-sondurulmesini-temin-ede-biler-16248 , accessed 9 December 2023
16 Ansgar Jödicke “Shia groups and Iranian religious influence in Azerbaijan: the impact of transboundary religious ties on national religious policy,” Eurasian Geography and Economics, 58 (5), 2017, p. 548.
17 https://news.day.az/azerinews/1096612.html , accessed 9 December 2023
18 http://ahlibeyt.az/news/a-9785.html , accessed 9 December 2023.
19 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1990/01/27/soviets-say-troops-used-to-avert-coup-in-baku/fbd719ea-9242-4388-afc2-3a67d05d016d/ , accessed 9 December 2023
20 https://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/03/world/massacre-by-armenians-being-reported.html , accessed 9 December 2023
21 http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9321/kurdemirde-veten-sevgisi-ve-shehidlik-movzusunda-tedbir-kechirilib ; http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9329/saatlida-veten-sevgisi-shehidlik-zirvesi-movzusunda-tedbir-bash-tutub ; http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9331/zaqatalada-20-yanvar-shehidleri-anilib, accessed 9 December 2023” in various regions of Azerbaijan.
22 https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2474  , accessed 9 December 2023
23 http://pia.az/cebrayilda-ilk-defe-azan-seslendi-video-368054-xeber.html, accessed 9 December 2023
24 https://azertag.az/xeber/Azerbaycan_Prezidenti_28_ilden_sonra_Susada_yene_de_azan_sesi_esidilecek_VIDEO-1636825  , accessed 9 December 2023
25 https://president.az/az/articles/view/47685, accessed 9 December 2023
26 More on islamic opposition in: Sofie Bedford, "L'opposition islamique en Azerbaïdjan. Discursive Conflicts and beyond", in Greg Simons & David Westerlund (eds.), Religion, Politics and Nation-building in Post-communist Countries, Farnham, Ashgate, 2015, pp. 117-142.
27 See: Kamal Gasimov, “The Bureaucratization of Islam in Azerbaijan: State as the Principal Regulator and Interpreter of Religion,” Central Asian Affairs, 7, 2020, pp. 1–37.
28 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/azerbaijani-leader-slams-western-pro-armenian-states/2054905 , accessed 9 December 2023
29 https://report.az/qarabag/28-ilden-sonra-susada-cume-namazi-qilinib/, accessed 9 December 2023
30 http://arannews.com/News/60654/A%C5%9Fura-m%C9%99kt%C9%99binin-%C5%9Fagirdi-olmaq--Az%C9%99rbaycan-cavanlar%C4%B1n%C4%B1n-Qaraba%C4%9Fda-u%C4%9Fur-r%C9%99mzi.html ; https://www.facebook.com/106435920855697/photos/a.170258921140063/204733617692593/ , accessed 9 December 2023
31 https://qafqaz.ir/az/tale-bagirzad%C9%99-az%C9%99rbaycan-xalqini-t%C9%99brik-etdi/, accessed 9 December 2023
32 https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2020/11/free/politics%20news/en/129697.htm , accessed 9 December 2023
33 https://dost.gov.az/news/345, accessed 9 December 2023
34 https://sosial.gov.az/media/xeberler/post_419639, accessed 9 December 2023
35 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-27/-anti-islam-europe-is-no-place-for-azerbaijan-president-says , accessed 9 December 2023
36 https://www.rferl.org/a/azerbaijan-aliyev-zeman-eu-values-human-rights/27251531.html, accessed 9 December 2023
37 http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9107/mubariz-qurbanli-ermenilerin-temir-behanesi-ile-yuxari-govher-aga-mescidine , accessed 9 December 2023
38 http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9578/gunduz-ismayilov-ermenistan-ishgal-altinda-qalan-tarixi-dini-abidelerimizle-bagli-fealiyyeti- , accessed 9 December 2023
39 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/mosque-turned-into-pigsty-under-armenias-occupation/2034748, accessed 9 December 2023
40 http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9525/prezident-ilham-eliyev-tarixi-dini-abidelerimizin-ermenistan-terefinden-dagidilmasi-butun-muselman- , accessed 9 December 2023
41 http://www.aztv.az/az/news/8921/mescidlere-qarsi-toredilen-vandalliq-butun-muselman-dunyasina-edilen-cinayetdir-markmuzakiremark , accessed 9 December 2023
42 http://www.dqdk.gov.az/az/view/news/9600/iet-dagliq-qarabagda-ermeniler-terefinden-islama-aid-tarixi-ziyaretgahlarin-dagidilmasindan- , accessed 9 December 2023
43 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/azerbaijani-leader-slams-western-pro-armenian-states/2054905 , accessed 9 December 2023
44 https://demokrat.az/az/news/53461/iranin-ikuzlu-siyaseti-islam-dovleti-muselman-xalqinin-yoxsa-isgalci-xristian-olkesinin-yanindadir-video , accessed 9 December 2023
45 https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2501 , accessed 9 December 2023
46 https://azertag.az/xeber/ayetullah_erafi_butun_beynelxalq_senedlerde_dagliq_qarabag_azerbaycanin_ayrilmaz_erazisi_kimi_taninir-1606351 , accessed 9 December 2023
47 http://iumsonline.org/en/ContentDetails.aspx?ID=12536 , accessed 9 December 2023
48 https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2506 , accessed 9 December 2023
49 https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2505 , accessed 9 December 2023
50 https://www.qafqazislam.com/index.php?lang=az&sectionid=news&id=2481 , accessed 9 December 2023
51 https://report.az/xarici-siyaset/xin-xameneinin-aciqlamasini-ve-azerbaycanin-erazi-butovluyune-verilen-desteyi-yuksek-qiymetlendiririk/ , accessed 9 December 2023
52 For more on this see: Samim Akgönül, Jørgen S. Nielsen, Ahmet Alibašić Stephanie Müssig, Egdunas Racius (eds.), Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, 14, Leiden, Brill, 2023, pp. 60–77
53 https://www.state.gov/religious-freedom-designations/, accessed 9 January 2024
Pour citer ce document :
Altay Goyushov, "Understanding tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh through a religious prism: a look back at the war of 2020 – English version". Bulletin de l'Observatoire international du religieux N°47 [en ligne], février 2024. https://obsreligion.cnrs.fr/bulletin/understanding-tensions-in-nagorno-karabakh-through-a-religious-prism-a-look-back-at-the-war-of-2020/
Numéro : 47
février 2024

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Altay Goyushov, Baku State University (Azerbaijan)

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