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Baku gives land for Jewish cultural center, kosher restaurant

(JTA) — The city of Baku in Azerbaijan has allocated land for the construction of a Jewish cultural center and the Azeri capital’s first kosher restaurant. The municipality has given the Mountain Jews, one of the country’s three Jewish communities, approximately 600 square yards for the restaurant, which will be part of a three-story cultural […]

With eyes on neighbors, Azerbaijan and Israel intensify ties

BAKU, Azerbaijan (JTA) — With less than a month to go until presidential elections, the moustachioed smile of Ilham Aliyev stares down at his countrymen from giant posters scattered around this bustling metropolis on the Caspian Sea. The Azerbaijani president has been in office since 2003 and is widely expected to be re-elected, extending the […]

Jewish shtetl in Azerbaijan survives amidst Muslim majority

(JTA) — Even at 70, Yedidia Yehuda can negotiate a narrow mountain path in northern Azerbaijan with a confidence easily mistaken for carelessness. “You take care not to fall yourself and don’t worry about me,” he tells a visitor following him toward a small town on the northern bank of the Kudyal river, where 2,000 […]

Report: Estimated Jewish Population in the former Soviet Union (FSU)

Researcher Allan Miller has compiled numbers from reports and news articles over the past several years to determine the estimated current Jewish population throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU).  The breakdown within each country may not equal the total for the country because populations for some cities are missing.   Estimated Present […]

Azerbaijan criminalizes free speech online ahead of elections (Amnesty International Press Release)

May 15 2013 The Azerbaijani authorities must not use the upcoming presidential election as a pretext to silence critical voices and meaningful debate, Amnesty International said following a move to extend criminal defamation laws to the internet. On 14 May, the Azerbaijani Parliament approved an amendment to the country’s defamation law to impose hefty fines […]

Azarbaijan: A Partnership Between Jews and Muslims

By Nasimi Aghayev From The Washington Times– With Syria mired in open revolt, several other Middle Eastern and North African countries still reeling from the Arab Spring, and Iran at loggerheads with the United States over its nuclear program, it was astounding to hear Israel’s president refer to a Muslim country this week not as […]

Mosque in Azerbaijan Loses 8-Year Religious Freedom Case

–The Becket Fund For Immediate Release Media Contact: Emily Hardman, ehardman@becketfund.org, 202.349.7224 WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, 8 February 2013, the European Court of Human Rights announced its rejection of the Juma Mosque Congregation’s appeal against the government of Azerbaijan. The ruling came more than eight years after the mosque first sought relief from the Court when the mosque’s building […]

Opposition Leader in Azerbaijan Ambushed During Pre-election Campaign

Amnesty International– A thorough, independent investigation is needed into what appears to have been an orchestrated attack on Azerbaijani opposition presidential candidate Isa Gambar on the campaign trail, Amnesty International said. According to Gambar’s Musavat Party, he was on his way to campaign in the southern coastal city of Lenkoran on Sunday when 10 vehicles […]