“Azerbaijan’s end game is clear: to rid its borders of Christianity either by forcing the Armenian people and their faith out of Azerbaijan or destroying the people and historical sites”
The predominantly Muslim nation of Azerbaijan has made its way to the list of countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian over its policies toward neighboring Armenia.
The 2023 Persecutors of the Year report released this week by the United States-based International Christian Concern (ICC), which tracks the persecution of Christians worldwide, lists Azerbaijan among the top 10 nations hostile toward the Christian faith. The list includes Nigeria, North Korea, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, Eritrea, Algeria and Indonesia.
Azerbaijan has warred with Armenia for decades over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which consists of as much as a 98% majority Christian population, most of whom identify as Armenian Apostolic, according to ICC, according to The Christian Post.
The two countries have over the last century, entered into conflict at least twice, but following a monthslong blockade earlier this year, Azerbaijani forces commandeered Nagorno-Karabakh, a self-known to Armenians as Artsakh, in September.
Nagorno-Karabakh had been under varying degrees of blockade since December 2022 and was completely cut off from Armenian supplies in mid-June before the September offensive.
ICC highlights the language employed toward Armenians by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, who “uses derogatory rhetoric, such as barbarians, rats, and vandals, to describe and dehumanize the Armenian people.”
“Azerbaijan’s end game is clear: to rid its borders of Christianity either by forcing the Armenian people and their faith out of Azerbaijan or destroying the people and historical sites,” the report states.
In 2012, Aliyev tweeted, “Our main enemy is the Armenian lobby.”
“Armenia as a country is of no value,” he tweeted “It is actually a colony, an outpost run from abroad, a territory artificially created on ancient Azerbaijani lands.”