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Armenian diaspora in UAE is dead: head of Azerbaijani diaspora organization

07 August 2009 [10:59] - TODAY.AZ
Head of Azerbaijani diaspora organization in the United Aram Emirates Samir Iman spoke in an interview with Day.Az.
Day.Az: How many Azerbaijanis live in UAE at the moment?

Samir Iman: Azerbaijani diaspora of the United Arab Emirates comprises about 1,000 people including all family members. Most of Azerbaijanis live in Dubai and Sharjah as major cities are located in these two emirates.

As you know, the law of this country does not allow foreigners to obtain citizenship regardless of how many years they lived here. That is why the number of our compatriots are not so great. Talking about their employment, it is safe to note that they are represented in all areas including business and medicine and in half-governmental agencies. For example, an Azerbaijani works as chief engineer at Sharjah emirate TV channel. Our doctors work in public hospitals. Chief editor of Russian magazine Aviamost which is published here is Azerbaijani, too. Our countrywoman works for local newspaper Khaleej Times.

Lot of our young people are enrolled in high schools in UAE. I note that at the American University of Dubai has opened up Department of Journalism two years ago. It would be nice if our students would come to this department, but not only business, management or design departments. Indeed, in the future this will enable them to skilfully write about the culture and history of Azerbaijan and the Karabakh issue.

Q: How local population treats Azerbaijanis in the UAE?

A: Azerbaijanis in UAE live well. The attitude of local authorities and population to us is positive. The country respect the laws very well, so people who come to the UAE for the first time faced some problems due to lack of knowledge of laws but with time everything falls into place

Q: It is known there is large Armenian diaspora in the UAE. Please tell us how many people it comprises and in what it is engaged?

A:  Some 10,000 Armenians live in the Emirates. They are mostly from Lebanon, Syria and some from Palestine. In this regard, it is easy  for them to get adapted to life here because of knowledge of the Arabic language. Almost all of them have an Arab education. Armenians from Armenia is not so much.

They are also represented in all spheres of life: business and civil service. Despite a relatively large number, hey can not do anything.

Friday is a day-off in the Muslim world. In Sharjah there is Armenian church where they go on that day. Here, children learn their native language, culture, discuss their problems, including the issue of Karabakh.

But they can not do anything openly or stage any propaganda.  We can say that the Armenian diaspora in the UAE is dead and is hardly felt here.

Last year, Gulf News newspaper published an article about Turkish president’s visit  to Armenia. Only then Armenians, taking advantage of the opportunity, were able to print in a newspaper that allegedly with the support of Turkey Azerbaijan has imposed a blockade on Karabakh and wanted to occupy it. After reading this article, I decided to force the newspaper to correct the errors and punish them for their lies. I succeeded to do it in a month . It took a lot of efforts. All the authorities were informed in a written form that the paper was engaged in anti-Emirate propaganda.

As a result, after a great pressure from local authorities, the newspaper published a new article, which included the following: “Karabakh is historical Azerbaijani land occupied by Armenian extremists, thus killing thousands of innocent people.”  We must always be alert and monitor the press, both Arab and English speaking.

Over the past two years I have been signed and handed two books entitled “Armenian terrorism” and “Heydar Aliyev, National and Spiritual Values” by  writer Adel Abdullah Al-Fallahi, chairman of the State Committee for Religious Affairs of Kuwait, to all government institutions and other organizations.


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