Azerbaijan’s Heydar Mosque: where Sunni, Shia pray together

Baku: Heydar Mosque in Azerbaijan defies the divide between the two major denominations in Islam, Sunni and Shia, which is prevalent especially in the Middle East.

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Both Sunni and Shia Muslims come together every Friday for prayers in Heydar Mosque, which is the largest mosque not only in Azerbaijan and in the entire Caucasus.

The mosque which was built just 5 years ago in Baku, has already become a symbol of peace, tolerance and unity.

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Arif Novruzov, a Sunni Muslim who prays at the Heydar Mosque says that the mosque is unique, as everyone here is equal and there is no difference between Sunni or Shia.

Rufar Garayev, a Shia Muslim who also attends the Heydar Mosque echoes Arif’s thoughts saying, “I am a Shia Muslim. That’s my choice. But we also have Sunni Muslims in Azerbaijan and we see them as our brothers.”

Azerbaijan is a Muslim majority country where Shia Muslims are in majority, while less than 15 percent are Sunni. However, members of both sects have lived together in harmony for centuries in Baku.

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Rasia Hashmi

Rasia Hashmi, a resident of Hyderabad, holds a Masters of Communication and Journalism, an MPhil in Social Exculsion and Inclusive Policy and PhD in Women Studies. She has 23 years of experience in the field of journalism.
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