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Azerbaijan

Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE for the Map Legend.

 

 

Corruption in Azerbaijan Just One Reason Christians Suffer Persecution

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

In Azerbaijan this week, the announcement for the winner of the presidential election was made…before the polls had even opened. Corruption like this is one of the reasons why the persecution of Christians happens so regularly in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan Allows Only Twelve Christian Communities While Allowing 555 Islamic Ones

Friday, July 26th, 2013

While we can rejoice that Azerbaijan recently registered 11 religious communities, concern remains as to the actual freedom enjoyed by Christians. Of the 570 registered, and therefore legal, religious communities in Azerbaijan 555 are Islamic and 12 are Christian. This leaves any Christians not attending the 12 legal faith communities to either forgo practicing their faith, or do so illegally. 

Persecuted Pastor Discusses Difficulties For Christians in Azerbaijan

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

After becoming a Christian in 2011, Elnur Jabiyev (now a Reverend) was fired from his job. In this article he discusses what life is like for believers from worship to Bibles to persecution. 

Baptists in Azerbaijan Win: Fines Violating Religious Freedom Overturned

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Two Baptists in Azerbaijan had been punished for exercising their right to religious freedom have had their fines overturned. They had violated Article 299.0.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences which punishes "clergy and religious associations holding special religious meetings for children and young people, as well as the holding by religious bodies of literature circles or other specialised groups.”  Though the fines are overturned, they are still not allowed to meet together for worship, as the country has refused them registration.

List of Banned Religious Books Soon to Be Released in Azerbaijan?

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Officials in Azerbaijan routinely confiscate religious books that are on a mysterious “banned list” that the public is yet to see. While they claim that the Bible and Quran are not on that list, a plethora of other religious materials are considered illegal. The list is apparently finally ready to be published. It remains to be seen if that will in fact happen. Religious books being on Azerbaijan’s “banned list” is an infringement on the religious minorities rights to freedom in that country.

Harsh Fines Against Christians Overturned in Azerbaijan

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Two Baptists, previously fined for holding an “unregistered religious meeting” in their home, are rejoicing as the fines have been overturned. Despite this victory, the government continues to refuse their application for registration and they still have no legal right to meet for worship.

Baptist Pastors Fined for Practicing Christian Faith in Azerbaijan

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Two Baptist pastors were fined a year’s average wage in Azerbaijan for “exercising their right to freedom of religion,” Forum 18 News Service reports. The pastors had previously served prison terms for their faith while their church has been denied legal status by the government for nearly two decades.

The Right to Freedom of Religion not Protected in Azerbaijan

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Despite the guarantee of freedom of religion in the constitution, Christians in Azerbaijan struggle to practice their faith.  It’s nearly impossible to gain a registration making a religious organization legal, forcing many believers to practice their faith illegally. It seems their constitutional rights are not well protected. Especially when police and other officials have warned pastors, “It’s illegal to spread the teachings of Jesus in Azerbaijan.”

Petty Dictatorship Cripples Christians’ Freedom in Azerbaijan

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

As Azerbaijan’s authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev seeks to secure his re-election to a third consecutive term, religious and civil liberties for Christians and others are likely to suffer even further at the hands of one of the world’s most corrupt and autonomous rulers.

Church Denied: No Legal Place of Worship for Town in Azerbaijan

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Greater Grace Protestant Church has run out of options to regain legal status in the Azerbaijani courts.  The church was approved for registration in 2003 by the Justice Ministry, but did not gain registration with the State Committee in the controversial “re-registration” requirement of all religious organizations in Azerbaijan in 2009. This means that any members of the Church who gather to worship will be doing so illegally. Christians are not the only ones being denied legal status. Recently, the only registered Muslim community nearby was stripped of its registration. This means that for the 40,000 residents near the capital, Baku, there is now NO legal place of worship for any faith or religion.

Baptist Homes Raided in Azerbaijan

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Bibles and other religious materials were confiscated from two Baptists homes in what appears to be a strategic raid by police, many of whom were in civilian clothes. Officers presented Christians in both homes with search warrants while telling them they had been meeting to worship illegally in their homes. The heads of both homes were men that had previously been “prisoners of conscience”, imprisoned for practicing their faith. It is unclear as to what prompted the raid or if any of the materials, including Bibles in various languages, will be returned.

Baptists in Azerbaijan Have Religious Freedoms Violated

Monday, October 29th, 2012

While claiming, “censorship has been abolished” in Azerbaijan, authorities confiscated 120 items of religious material, as well as a vehicle from three Baptists.  The event occurred after it was discovered that the three had shared their belief in a nearby village. Finally, five months later the vehicle has been returned. However, the case is still open against the three and their religious material has not been returned.

Family Has Religious Literature Seized at Azerbaijan Border

Monday, October 29th, 2012

At the end of September a family was stopped at the border of Azerbaijan when they were on their return from Russia. The family was held for more than six hours as secret police searched the car, questioned them and had them fill out paperwork. The family had their religious material and vehicle confiscated. This is the most recent incidence, but it caught the attention of the OSCE who has criticized Azerbaijan for their Religion Laws, which do not meet human rights standards.

Azerbaijani Implies Freedom of Religion is Why Ambassador Killed

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

This article is quite interesting to read. At first glance it seems that the Azerbaijani in this forum discussion would support Freedom of Religion. Look a little closer however, and you will see the underlying tone that implies Christians, and other religions should be “restrained.” He even went so far as to say, “It is something very difficult to accept when people insult my prophet or my religious values…When such things happen, he said, ‘there will be a backlash … and that’s why people attack ambassadors.’” He also implies that Muslims don’t cause problems to Christians, saying: “Have you ever heard of the Bible being burned in any Muslim countries?” Read to find out a Christian missionaries response to that one!

Azerbaijan Christians Appeal Closure Of Protestant Church

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Christians in Azerbaijan continue to fight the closure of their church.

Church Loses in Court: Ban Against Religious Activities Upheld

Friday, August 10th, 2012

A church that was legally registered by the state since 1993 was forced to re-register in 2009. They were denied their re-registration (getting a legal registration is nearly impossible) and told they would have to liquidate and cease all religious activities. They’ve been fighting it in court, but lost. The church plans to take this to Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court.

Is Personal Prejudice Involved in Azerbaijan Church Liquidation?

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Azerbaijan claims religious freedom, but forces people of religion to jump through ridiculous hoops in order to gather for worship, even if they are gathering in their own homes. In this case, a church was “liquidated” when they failed to “apply for compulsory re-registration following the changes to the Religion Law in 2009.” This article discusses the case the church is making to appeal the liquidation, saying, “State Committee's liquidation demand is based on the personal prejudicial attitude of its legal specialist, Sabina Allahverdieva."

Will Baptists in Azerbaijan Face Prosecution?

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

In two separate incidents Baptists in Azerbaijan were detained for sharing their faith and Christian literature. All six Baptists have been threatened with criminal charges. No action has been taken against them as of yet. In the mean time they are “continuing to pray and write appeals."   In both situations their rights to religious freedom were infringed upon.

Police Detain Baptists in Azerbaijan; Confiscate Passports, Car and Christian Literature

Friday, June 29th, 2012

In Azerbaijan you have to have permission from the government to distribute religious materials. They have “special stores” where those types of things can be purchased, and you have to jump through several hoops to even get materials approved. In this case, three Baptists were detained for sharing their faith and handing out religious material. They were interrogated at the police station and their passports, religious material and car were confiscated. Though they are now home, they are awaiting the final decision as to their fate. This is a blatant violation of their religious freedoms. Situations like this should not be happening.

Azerbaijan: Fate of Church Hangs in the Balance

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Churches in Azerbaijan are required to register with the government in order to meet, and only two have had their registrations approved. In what appears to be a technicality, a Christian congregation is now awaiting their appeal to a court order “order that banned its right to meet and “liquidated” the church.”  If the court does not rule in their favor, though they have been meeting for nearly 20 years, they will have no right to assemble and any continued meet-ups will be deemed illegal.

Unfair trials, no due process, baseless raids: Azerbaijan in a nutshell

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Raids on Religious Groups in Azerbaijan Increasing: Children and Foreigners Hunted

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Azerbaijan’s vague religious laws leave too much room for persecution. While the police deny doing raids at all, many have happened in recent months. Children and their parents are held for questioning while police demand that notarized, signed parental consent is necessary for the children to be at church. This article documents a few of the most recent cases.

Protestant Church liquidated in Azerbaijan

Friday, April 27th, 2012

“A court in the Azerbaijani capital Baku has ruled to liquidate the Greater Grace Protestant Church,” Forum 18 News Service reports.

Azerbaijan: State approval needed to sell Christian literature

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

“An official of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations – which operates Azerbaijan's harsh religious censorship system – admitted in mid-April that about 100 shops wishing to sell religious books are still waiting for the necessary licences,” Forum 18 News Service reports.

Azerbaijan: Court to decide church’s liquidation

Monday, April 16th, 2012

“A court in Azerbaijan's capital Baku is likely to decide on 19 April whether Greater Grace Protestant Church should be liquidated, a court official told Forum 18 News Service after the latest hearing on 12 April.”

Azerbaijan: Baku church may be “liquidated”

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

“Judge Tahira Asadova at Baku's Administrative Economic Court No. 1 will hand down her decision on 12 April whether Greater Grace Protestant Church in the Azerbaijani capital is to be liquidated,” Forum 18 News Service reports.

Azerbaijan: Church raids continue

Friday, March 16th, 2012

“Muslim and Christian meetings in Azerbaijan continue to face raids involving the ordinary police, NSM secret police, and officials of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations,” Forum 18 News Service reports.

Compulsorily closure of Greater Grace Church in Azerbaijan

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

“Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations has moved to close down Greater Grace Church in the capital Baku for failing to regain the compulsory re-registration,” Forum 18 News Service reports.

Muslim Persecution of Christians: January 2012

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Raymond Ibrahim reports in the algemeiner that “The beginning of the New Year saw only an increase in the oppression of Christians under Islam, from Nigeria, where an all-out jihad has been declared in an effort to eradicate the Muslim north of all Christians, to Europe, where Muslim converts to Christianity are still hounded and attacked as apostates.” Ibrahim’s series, titled ‘Muslim Persecution of Christians,’ is published each month to document cases of persecution – whether it be general discrimination, arrests, or murder – committed by Muslims in majority Islamic countries, Asia and the West.

Police Raid Baptist Church in Azerbaijan

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

“Following a police raid on Baptists meeting for worship in Neftechala in Azerbaijan, Pastor Telman Aliev, his wife (who was not present during the raid), and all the Church members have been summoned for police questioning on 23 December, after threats of criminal prosecution have been made against the pastor,” Forum 18 News Service reports.

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ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.