Chapter II. Religious organizations in the Republic of Azerbaijan

Article 7. Religious organization

Religious centers and departments, religious education institutions and religious communes, their associations shall be religious organizations. Religious organizations are represented by their center (departments).

Religious organizations shall act in accordance with this Law and their approved charters (provisions).

Islamic religious organizations acting in the Republic of Azerbaijan must present reports on their activity to the Caucasian Muslims Board.

Article 8. Religious community

Religious community is a local religious association of religious persons of mature age, who have united voluntarily for the purpose of conducting joint liturgies and satisfying other religious needs. A religious community is created by at least 50 (fifty) citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan who have reached the age of maturity.

Islamic religious communities in the Republic of Azerbaijan are subordinated by Caucasian Muslims Board, in terms of organizational matters, whereas non-Islamic religious associations have the right to be subordinated and to change their respective subordination to religious centers (departments) operational in Azerbaijan and outside it.

Religious figures leading places of divine services related to Islam religion are appointed by the body (institution) determined by the relevant executive authority, are notified of this by the Caucasian Muslims Board and are attested every five years. Certification is carried out with the participation of representatives of the Caucasian Muslims Board and specialists.

The appointment of religious figures to non-Islamic religious communities operating in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is carried out by the religious center (department) to which they are subordinated, on the basis of the representation of the religious community with the consent of the body (institution).

In the absence of a religious center (department) subordinated to a non-Islamic religious community operating on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the appointment of religious figures is carried out by the religious community with the consent of the body (institution) determined by the relevant executive authority.

Religious figures can be appointed by religious centers (departments) to places of worship and shrines where no religious community has been established in accordance with this Law.

Upon dismissal of a clergyman appointed to a place of worship or shrine, the religious community of the place of worship and shrine shall suspend its religious activities until a new cleric is appointed to this position.

Article 9. Religious centers and departments

In the Republic of Azerbaijan Islamic religious communes are united in their historical center – the Caucasian Muslims Board.

Non-Islamic religious communities, centers of which are outside of the Republic of Azerbaijan can follow, in carrying out activities, charters of their respective centers in cases, which don’t contradict the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Relations not regulated by legislation between government and religious centers and departments, including those ones situated outside of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be regulated between themselves and in accordance with arrangements with state authorities.

Religious centers and departments may establish praying houses and religious educational institutions in accordance with their charter.

A religious center (institution) may establish its branches and (or) representative offices both on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and abroad.

Article 9-1. Name and area of activity of the religious organization

9-1.1. The name of a religious organization must reflect its organizational and legal form, the nature of its activities and the religion to which it belongs. The names of state bodies of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as the names of prominent figures of Azerbaijan, cannot be used in the name of a religious organization.

9-1.2. The activities of a religious organization (with the exception of a religious center (department)) outside its registered legal address are not allowed.

9-1.3. The territory of a religious center (department) in the Republic of Azerbaijan is not limited.

9-1.4. In the event of a change in the legal address of a religious organization, it informs the body (organization) determined by the relevant executive authority within 10 (ten) days about this.

Article-11. Charters of religious organizations

11.1. The charter of a religious organization is adopted by its founders at the constituent assembly.

11.2. Charter of religious organization shall indicate the following:

11.2.1.  name, type, confessional belonging and place of religious organization;

11.2.2. goals and objectives of religious associations, as well as main forms of activity;

11.2.3. structure, management bodies and the rule of their organization, as well as competence of those authorities;

11.2.4. conditions and procedure for accepting and withdrawing from the founders of a religious organization;

11.2.5. sources of formation of the property of a religious organization;

11.2.6. the order of making amendments and additions to the charter of the religious organization;

11.2.7. the procedure for the liquidation of a religious organization and the procedure for the use of its property in the event of liquidation.

11.4. Documents defining the religious activities of a religious organization and resolving other internal issues are not registered with state bodies.

Article 12. State registration of religious organizations

All religious associations can operate after state registration by relevant executive authority and registration in state registry of religious  organizations.  Religious communities have the right to operate only after the submission of relevant documents, which will indicate the legal address of the places of worship and the appointment of priests.

Religious organizations (religious communities) shall apply to the relevant body determined by the executive power for registration, submitting the founding protocol, charter and application attached to other documents provided for by the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On State Registration and State Registry of Legal Entities”, taking into account the documents specified in 3rd part of this article.

For state registration of religious community at least 50 {fifty) persons at mature age or their representatives in charge shall address application with enclosed protocol of constitutive assembly and Charter of commune to religious center or department. The list of constitutors of the religious association with data on their nationality, birth place and temporary residence, copy of their identification card, principles of religious teaching, as well as establishment history of religious community, forms and methods of its activity,  traditions,  attitude to family,  marriage and education; information about restrictions on rights and duties of members of that community.

The relevant executive authority carries out the state registration of religious communities within the period of time specified by law.

In the event of changes in the documents of any data required in the process of registration of religious communities, it is obliged to warn about this (taking into account Article 9-1.4 of this Law) the relevant executive authority and, accordingly, submit documents testifying to these changes in the same way.

Taking into account the third part of Article 1 of this Law, state registration of a religious organization may be denied in the following cases:

1) if the activities or goals of a religious organization or the essence and basic principles of the religious teachings propagated by it contradict the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan;

2) if the created body is not recognized as a religious organization;

3) if the presented charter (regulation) and other documents contradict the requirements of the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic or the information reflected in them is unreliable.

A religious organization shall be notified of a denial of state registration indicating the norms of legislation that served as the basis for the denial.

Apart from the grounds for the registration of a religious community provided for by the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, other conditions are not grounds for refusal.

12-1. Abolition of religious organization

Religious organization can be abolished under further circumstances:

1) by decision of founders or body authorized for this purpose in accordance with charter;

2) by decision of the court in accordance with application of the relevant executive body.

In accordance with paragraph 3 article 1 of this Law Religious Association can be abolished by court decision in accordance with reasons mentioned below:

1) implementation of activities contradicting with establishment goals or violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, this Law and other Laws by religious association;

2) promotion of religious belief and religious life style by force, or threat of force, as well as with the aim of causing racial, religious, national, social hostility or enmity, forcing to express (demonstrate) religious belief, to fulfill religious  ceremonies  or  forcing to  take part  at  religious  ceremonies, dissemination and promotion of religions contradicting with humanity principles and humiliating human dignity;

3) violation of public security and public order;

3-1) engaging in religious extremist activities;

4) implementation  of activities  towards  terrorism,  financing of terrorism, diversion and violent crime actions;

5) prevent getting secularized education;

6) incitement or forcing members of religious association and other persons to resign their property in favor of religious association;

7) preventing person from leaving the religious association by force or other illegal activities

8) incitement of persons to refuse execution of activities defined by legislation and implementation of other illegal activities;

8-1) failure to eliminate violations of the law within the period specified in the written request of the body (institution) determined by the relevant executive authority to eliminate the violation identified in the activities of a religious organization;

9) repeatedly refuse carrying  out request of presenting information  about changes in documents and reports required for state registration to relevant executive authority;

Religious centers and departments having information considered in paragraph two of this agreement on religious associations can apply to relevant executive authority for change of founders’ composition of those religious associations and abolishment of religious association.

The activities of religious organizations engaged in religious extremist activities are prohibited. In case of abolition of a religious organization, information (documents) on the resolution of property issues of the abolished religious organization in accordance with the Civil Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be included in the state register of legal entities in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.