Chapter I. General Provisions

Article 1. Freedom of religious belief

Everyone shall determine his/her attitude to religion independently and shall have the right to confess any religion individually or together with others, and express or spread his/her belief dealing with his/her attitude to religion.

It is not allowed to prevent anyone from expressing his/her religious belief, taking part in liturgies, and studying religion. Nobody is obliged to express his/her belief, make religious rites or take part in liturgies. It is prohibited to propagandize religions with the appliance of religious violence or sowing discord among the people with the aim of changing their religious way of life or forcing to confessing religion. Propaganda and dissemination of religions (religious trends) humiliating human dignity and contradicting with humanity principles is prohibited.

Freedom of religious belief can be restrained only in accordance with law and necessity in democratic society for the interests of public security, guarantee of public rules, protection of freedoms and rights of other peoples or health or morality.

With the exception of cases provided for by part four of Article 21 of this Law, religious propaganda by foreigners and stateless persons on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is prohibited.

Parents or persons replacing them have the right to bring up their children in accordance with their own religious beliefs and religious belief upon mutual consent. It is forbidden to force children to believe in any religion. The religious upbringing of children should not adversely affect their physical and mental health.

With the exception of the cases provided for by paragraph four of Article 21 of this Law, the coverage of the fundamentals of religious teaching during the performance of mass religious services, rites and ceremonies can be carried out only by religious figures appointed in accordance with this Law.

Activities aimed at promoting religious extremism, as well as the use of inter-religious and inter-confessional differences for political purposes, are prohibited.

Article 2. Legislation on freedom of religious belief

Legislation on Freedom of Religious Belief consists of this Law, Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, international agreements adopted by the Republic of Azerbaijan and other legislative documents of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Article 4. Legal equality or persons irrespective of their religious beliefs

Everybody is equal before the court and law regardless his/her religious attitude. Indication of citizens’ attitude to religion in official documents shall be allowed upon his/her wish only.

No one shall have the right to refuse or, decline to fulfill obligations determined by the law for his/her religious beliefs. Changing performing one duty by another for religious motives is permitted only in cases stipulated by the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Article 4-1. Professional religious activity and religious figure

4-1.1. Professional religious activity is activity aimed at religious education, religious training, meeting religious needs of devout, dissemination of religions, making religious rites, preaching, administrative and organizational management of religious associations.

4-1.2. Religious figure is a person with secondary and high religious education engaged in religious activity.

4-1.3. In case of being appointed or elected to work at state authorities, the professional religious activity of religious figures shall be suspended for the duration of their tenure.

4-1.4. Spiritual titles (ranks) are assigned to the clergy only by religious centers (departments).

Article 5. State and religious organizations

In the Republic of Azerbaijan religion and religious associations are separated from the state.

The state shall not instruct religious associations to fulfill any state’s affair and doesn’t interfere with their activities.

All religions and religious associations are equal in relation to the law. Establishing any superiority or limitations for one religion or religious associations in comparison to another shall not be allowed.

Religious associations shall have the right to take part in public life and along with public associations use mass media.

Religious associations shall not partake in the activity of political parties and help them financially.

Religious associations fulfill requirements of the existing law of the Republic of Azerbaijan and hear responsibility to them.

Religious associations shall implement measures defined by relevant legislation with the aim to prevent financing of terrorism, legalization of illegally obtained funds and other properties.

Article 6. Religious education

6.1. In accordance with Part III of Article 18 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the state education system in the Republic of Azerbaijan is secular.

6.2. Citizens have the right to study theology and receive religious education in any language, individually and (or) together with others.

6.3. Religious educational institutions are created by a religious center (department) in agreement with the body (institution) determined by the relevant executive authority. A religious center (department) can create only one higher religious educational institution.

6.4. Courses (groups) for the study of holy books are created by religious organizations in accordance with the charters of these religious organizations with the consent of the religious centers (departments) to which they are subordinate, and the body (institution) determined by the relevant executive authority is informed about this.

6.5. Institutions of higher religious education and religious secondary specialized education operate on the basis of licenses issued in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Licenses and Permits”.

6.6. Students of religious educational institutions enjoy the rights and privileges established for students of state educational institutions.

Article 6-1. Mass worship, rituals and ceremonies

6-1.1. In places of worship and shrines, mass worship, rituals and ceremonies are held (except for funerals, mourning, iftar, kabinkasma, maulid and ehsan).

6-1.2. Mass religious services, rituals and ceremonies (with the exception of funerals, mourning, iftar, kabinkasma, maulid and ehsan) are organized outside places of worship and shrines only with the consent of the body (institution) determined by the relevant executive authority.

6-1.3. Organized visits by believers to places of worship located in foreign countries and considered sacred for the respective religion are carried out by the relevant religious centers (departments) and the body (institution) determined by the relevant executive authority is informed about this.