Azerbaijan: A Christmastime Birthday
The president of Azerbaijan is Ilham Aliyev. He will be 51 years old on December 24, 2012. Aliyev is the son of the previous president. He speaks five languages, and he has three children.
More than 90% of the people in Azerbaijan say they are Muslim. But many do not take their faith seriously. Fewer than 10% are Christian. Zoroastrianism was a main religion in Azerbaijan before the Muslims came. Today the people still honor some traditions from Zoroastrianism. (See the “Beliefs” section for more information.)
Even though many people in Azerbaijan are not serious about their Muslim faith, many do not like it when a Muslim becomes a Christian. They think Islam is part of their culture. Friends and relatives discourage Muslims from following Christ. It is often difficult for young adult Christians to find someone to marry who also follows Christ. Since marriage is an important part of their culture, they are often urged to marry a Muslim.
Officials sometimes give churches and Christians a hard time.
Listen to an MP3 of Christians in Azerbaijan singing a Christmas song in the Azeri language. Do you know the name of the song in English?
Pray for President Aliyev on his birthday and pray that he will have a positive attitude toward Christians in his country. Pray that Christians will be able to celebrate Christmas peacefully.