07 December 2015, 10:19
Islamic rituals can only be performed by Azeris in Azerbaijan
Baku, December 7, Interfax - Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has approved changes to the law On Freedom of Religion.
In accordance with the amendments, Islamic rituals in Azerbaijan an only be conducted by citizens of Azerbaijan. The changes to Article 21 of the law prohibit citizens who received religious education outside of Azerbaijan from conducting services and rituals related to Islam.
The document also prohibits the declaration of religious slogans and demonstration of other religious attributes (with the exception of religious attributes worn by citizens) outside of places of religious worship. Religious flags can only be put in places of worship, religious centers and directorates.
The president has also approved amendments to the Criminal Code.
Specifically, changes have been made to Article 168.1 Religious Propaganda, Violation of the Requirements Governing Religious Rituals and Ceremonies.
In accordance with the amendments to Article 168.1.1, citizens who have receive a religious education abroad can be fined from 2,000 to 5,000 manates or sentenced to one year in prison for conducting religious events related to Islam.
The changes to Article 168.1.2 envisage a jail term ranging from one to two years for foreigners and stateless persons who engage in religious propaganda in Azerbaijan.
In the event of repeat offences, and also their commission by a group of persons or an organized group, the other provisions of the article envisage jail sentences ranging from two to five years.
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