Accessibility links

Breaking News

New Synagogue Opens In Baku

Baku's new synagogue
Baku's new synagogue
BAKU -- Dignitaries, including several foreign ambassadors, have attended the opening ceremony for a new synagogue in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Today's opening was attended by U.S. Ambassador Matthew Bryza and envoys from Israel and Turkey, among others.

Hidayet Orujov, head of the State Committee for Work with Religious Groups, told the gathering that the opening of a new synagogue was a major event for Baku.

He said construction of the house of worship -- said to be the biggest synagogue in Baku -- was funded by the Azerbaijani government.

"Religious tolerance is one significant factor in Azerbaijan's policy. This policy will continue," Orujov said.

Semyon Ichiilov, head of Azerbaijan's Mountain Jews' Community, thanked the president of Azerbaijan, adding, "I want all nations to live in one family in Azerbaijan."

Michael Lavon Lotem, Israel's ambassador to Azerbaijan, said the synagogue would be a major source of support for the country's Jewish community.

There are five synagogues in Azerbaijan, three of them in Baku.

More than 30,000 Jews live in Muslim-majority Azerbaijan.

Read more in Azeri here