Being closely linked through historical, religious and cultural roots with Islamic Ummah, the Republic of Azerbaijan has always paid particular importance to the development of relations in the political, economic, cultural and other fields with Islamic countries, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at the 40th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation entitled "Dialogue of Civilizations: Factor of Peace and Sustainable Development", the Azerbaijani foreign ministry reported on Tuesday.
"Due to its geographical location - at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan has been a bridge between civilizations for centuries. Azerbaijan always promoted Islamic cultural and spiritual values all over the world," Mammadyarov said.
"The organization and hosting of international events aimed to promote the inter-civilizational contacts such as the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, International Humanitarian Forum as well as the 8th session of UNESCO intergovernmental committee for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage are among the vivid examples of this mission," Mammadyarov said.
"In this regard, I would like to stress the importance of the dialogue among civilizations in the modern world," Mammadyarov said. "The topic of "Dialogue of civilizations, factor for peace and sustainable development" once again demonstrates that peace is indivisible from dialogue. Dialogue between civilizations has the potential to become an engine for bolstering peace and security, conciliating conflicts, reinforcing cultural diversity and advancing sustainable development."
"Fostering dialogue among civilizations is crucially important to build tolerance and deepen mutual understanding between people and countries, particularly during the existing certain misperceptions among them," he said.
"Azerbaijan has always called for toughened combat against defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred," he said.
"Today, it is very important to consolidate our efforts within the OIC to prevent existing trends of Islamophobia," Mammadyarov said. "The Islamophobia-affected approach towards Muslims is not just unacceptable, it also makes necessary to reinforce dialogue and solidarity among the Muslim countries to counter Islamophobia."