Types of religious institutions and rules of their establishment
This article defines the types of religious organizations, the terms and rules of their registration. Keywords: freedom of religion, religious organizations; religious centers and departments, religious educational institutions and religious communities, their associations; registration and liquidation of religious organizations.
- I. Introduction
- 2. Types Of Religious Organizations
- 3. State registration of religious organizations
- 4. Liquidation of a religious institution
- 5. Conclusion
Freedom of religion is one of the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. In religion itself and in international law, this freedom is a right exercised both individually and in association with others. On the other hand, religious freedom is a right regulated by both religion and the state. According to Article 18 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, although religion is separate from the state, due to its application to political society, the state also regulates religious freedom. All religious beliefs are equal before the law. It also prohibits the spread and propagation of religions that degrade human dignity or contradict the principles of humanity.
According to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Freedom of Religion", which regulates this right in our country, everyone has the right to practice any religion alone or in association with others, to express and disseminate religious beliefs. The legal basis of the Azerbaijani state and the education system are secular. For this reason, the state's attitude towards religion is to regulate religion to a certain extent in order to maintain public order. Propagation of religious beliefs and religious practices by force or threat of use of force, as well as for the purpose of creating racial, national, religious, social hatred and enmity are not allowed. Although there are various religious denominations in the Republic of Azerbaijan, Islam holds a dominant position. More than 95 percent of the population is Muslim.
It is possible to observe that the exercise of religious freedom has its own traditions in each country. From this point of view, we can see the existence of historical, practical and sometimes necessary religious institutions. For example, temples, such as churches and mosques, also emerge as religious institutions to manage other issues of the believers. Legislation in our country regulates religious groups as "institutions".
According to international human rights conventions to which our country is a party, freedom of religion may be restricted only in the interests of public safety, public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, if provided by law and necessary in a democratic society. Religious organizations can be both regulated and restricted for similar reasons. One of the regulatory tools is the registration of religious organizations.
According to the country's legislation, religious organizations, which are called "religious institutions" and include religious centres, communities or their individual associations, must be registered by the State Committee for Religious Affairs (hereinafter - SCWRA) following existing legislation. The SCWRA oversees the registration process, registers religious organizations, and has the right to apply to a court to liquidate the activities of any religious organization. The registration of a religious community is restricted to the physical area indicated and located in its application. The organization must be re-registered in the future if it changes its location or expands to other areas.
It should also be noted that the establishment and operation of all non-profit organizations in Azerbaijan is subject to registration, which is in fact a "permit". This system is also applied in terms of religious organizations. The activities of an unregistered religious organization are prohibited by the SCWRA.
The law also stipulates the circumstances in which the religious organizations may be liquidated. This includes activities carried out by religious organizations that run counter to the purpose of its establishment, propaganda to create racial, national, religious or social hatred, "degrading human dignity" or the propagation of a religion that contradicts the principles of humanity, such as "the love of humanity, philanthropy and kindness." Obstruction of secular education or incitement or coercion of members of a religious organization and other persons to give up their property in favour of a religious organization may also be grounds for the liquidation of this religious institution. We will touch on these points again later.
2. Types Of Religious Organizations
Religious centres and administrations, religious educational institutions, religious communities and their associations are considered religious institutions. Religious institutions are represented by their centres (departments).
Types of religious organizations are reflected in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Freedom of Religion”. Religious organizations shall operate within the authorities specified in this Law and their approved charters.
There are the following types of religious organizations provided by law:
- Religious centres and administrations;
- Religious educational institutions;
- Religious communities;
- Their associations.
There are religious organizations belonging to different religions in the country. According to Article 5 of the Law on Freedom of Religion, religious organizations perform their functions only within the powers specified in their charters, because the state cannot entrust religious organizations with the duties of the state due to the principle of the secular state. The legislation directly reflects the participation of religious institutions in the activities of political parties and prohibition on religious institutions to provide political parties with any financial assistance. If religious figures are elected or appointed to public bodies, they must suspend their professional religious activity during the performance of their professional duties. Also, the leaders of religious organizations cannot hold a public position. The law prohibits the use of religious objects for political purposes. On the other hand, political parties, public associations, as well as non-governmental organizations are prohibited by law from engaging in religious activities.
Article 5 para.7 of the Law on Freedom of Religion states that religious organizations must take "measures defined by the relevant legislation to prevent the legalization of criminally obtained money or other property and the financing of terrorism" provided for in the Criminal Code.
2.1 Religious centres and administrations
The legislation did not specify what the religious centre and administration meant; whereas Article 8 of the Law on Freedom of Religion, which regulates religious communities, explains what a religious community is. At the same time, when we take the law as a whole, the religious centre and administration is an institution engaged in professional religious activities, uniting religious figures and subordinating different religious communities of the same religion.
According to Article 9 of the law, Islamic religious organizations in the Republic of Azerbaijan unite in their historical Islamic religious centre - the Caucasian Muslims Office.
Non-Islamic religious organizations with organizational centres abroad may be guided by the charters of these centres, provided that their activities do not contradict the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to Article 9 of the Law on Freedom of Religion, in cases not regulated by law, the state carries out relations on a contractual basis with religious centres and institutions located both within the country and outside the country. It should be noted that even in such cases, these relations should not go beyond the principles of public law.
The law allows religious centres and institutions to establish religious places of worship and educational institutions, provided that this is stated in its charter. Religious centres are also free to establish their own branches and representatives, both inside and outside the country. It should be noted that the centre of non-Muslim religious communities must be established at meetings, congresses, conferences of 5 religious communities of the same religion registered and operating in accordance with the requirements of the “Law on Freedom of Religion”, “On State Registration and State Register of Legal Entities” of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
2.2 Religious educational institutions
As stated in Article 10 of the LFoRB, repealed in the 2021 edition, a religious educational institution is a religious educational institution established for the training of clergy and other personnel in religious specialities. Article 6 of the LFoRB lists the types of religious educational institutions as a) higher religious education and b) secondary religious education. 
The law states that religious educational institutions may be established only by religious centers and institutions. Communities are prohibited from establishing such enterprises. Religious centers and departments were allowed to establish one higher religious education institution with a limit on the number of religious educational institutions. If religious centers and institutions wish to establish a religious educational institution, they must obtain a special permit, ie a license, from the State Committee for Religious Affairs in accordance with paragraphs 5.6 and 5.7 of Annex 1 to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Licenses and Permits.. Religious centres and institutions interested in obtaining a license can apply to "ASAN 5" located in Baku, "Regional Centers of ASAN SERVICE CENTER" or directly to the SCWRA. Relevant documents are required to obtain a license, which religious centres and institutions must submit to service centres. The following documents must be submitted to establish a religious educational institution.
1) A copy of the document confirming the right of use (ownership, lease, use, etc. on each of the bases); (Extract from the State Register of Real Estate issued by the State Committee for Property Issues or a notarized copy of the contract on the use or lease of the property);
2) Information on pedagogical, scientific-pedagogical employees of the educational institution; (Information is compiled by the applicant himself)
3) Material and technical base of the educational institution (total and educational area of the building, education, practice, group, number of bedrooms, laboratory, library, sports, music hall, doctor's office and insulator, kitchen, methodical office, sanitary unit, etc. ) and detailed information on the provision of the educational process (technical support, software, methodological support, provision of didactic materials, etc.); (Information is compiled by the applicant himself)
4) Evaluation of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the implementation of relevant activities by religious educational institutions (This document is required when a license for activities of religious secondary special educational institutions and higher religious educational institutions is issued);
5) Document confirming the payment of the state fee for obtaining a license (provided by the applicant, if the license is not refused). (After the relevant decision on the issuance of a license is made and the applicant is informed about it, the applicant pays the relevant fee and submits to the employee a document confirming the payment of the fee upon receipt of the license form).
The religious center and the administration must obtain an opinion from the SCWRA regarding the establishment of a religious educational institution. If the result of the opinion is not positive, then the establishment of the enterprise is not allowed. The arbitrariness of government agencies in obtaining licenses is observed not only in connection with the establishment of religious educational institutions in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan but also in other areas. Government agencies often issue an opinion on the refusal to issue a license. According to Article 19.9 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Licenses and Permits”, unless otherwise provided by law, the licensing authority shall issue a permit or issue an administrative act on the refusal to issue a permit no later than 7 working days on the results of consideration of the submitted application and documents.
If the opinion on the establishment of a religious educational institution is positive, in accordance with Articles 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 of the Law on State Duty, AZN 2,000 for religious secondary special education institutions; for higher religious education institutions, a state fee of 13,750 manats must be paid.
The main condition for issuing a license to religious educational institutions is compliance with the criteria in the required documents.
Citizens wishing to receive religious education may receive religious education both individually and in groups. The purpose of establishing a religious educational institution may be to create only religious figures and personnel for religious specialities. Religious organizations may establish courses and groups for the purpose of teaching religious books, which must be approved by informing the centre to which they are subordinated, and after obtaining consent, they must inform the SCWRA.
Relations between religious educational institutions and religious centres or institutions shall be determined on the basis of constituent documents. Students studying in religious educational institutions can enjoy the rights and privileges established by law for students studying in public educational institutions, which shows that the state has the same attitude to religious and secular education.
Baku Islamic University is the only higher religious education institution in Azerbaijan. Baku Islamic University has been operating for more than 20 years under the Caucasus Muslims Office. Baku State University`s (BSU) Faculty of Theology was established on the basis of an agreement between the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku State University and the Turkish Religious Foundation in 1992-1993. Currently, the study period at the faculty is five years. Graduates of the faculty are given two specialities - theologian-Islamic scholar and Arabic language teacher.
Sending citizens to religious educational institutions abroad for the purpose of education is carried out by the religious centre in coordination with the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations for the exchange of teachers, students, as well as religious figures and specialists working in religious educational institutions.
2.3. Religious communities
The relevant law defines a religious community as a local body of adult religious persons united on a voluntary basis within the same administrative-territorial unit in order to worship together and meet other religious needs. In other words, a religious community is a community of citizens formed as a stable group to perform their worship, rites, and other behaviours arising from religious beliefs together. Among religious organizations, the largest number is religious communities. Religious communities are organizations that bring together people of the same religion. These are unofficial, non-public bodies. It is possible for people of any religion to unite in a religious community, regardless of their religion. Members of a religious community must be citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The number of members of a religious community should not be less than 50.
In organizational matters, Islamic religious communities in the Republic of Azerbaijan are subordinated to the Caucasus Muslims Office (CMO), other religious communities have the right to subordinate and change their subordination to religious centres (departments) operating in the Republic of Azerbaijan and abroad.
The legislation allows the establishment of Islamic religious communities in mosques only by citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan. As can be seen, foreigners do not have the right to establish a religious community but may be members of the community.
According to Article 8, The Caucasus Muslim Office appoints clerics in charge of Islamic places of worship and shrines to “the State Committee for Religious Affairs”. Islamic religious communities may be established in mosques only by citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to the law, religious figures are attested every five years in the presence of a representative of the body determined by the relevant executive authority. Islamic religious communities may be established only in places of worship and shrines belonging to the religion they represent.
The appointment of religious figures in non-Islamic religious communities operating in the territory of the country is carried out with the consent of the State Center for Religious Organizations, the religious centre (department) to which they are subordinated by the religious community. If there is no religious centre or department in our country to which the non-Islamic religious community is subordinated, the appointment of clerics is carried out with the consent of the State Committee for Religious Affairs. If a cleric is dismissed prematurely, the religious community of the place of worship shall be suspended until a new cleric is appointed to that position.
Islamic religious organizations registered and operating in the Republic of Azerbaijan periodically submit a report on their activities to the Caucasian Muslims Office. The Caucasus Muslim Office, or CMO for short, is the highest "Islamic institution" in the Caucasus. It was located in Tbilisi (Georgia) between 1823 and 1917. Currently, the centre is located in the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku - Tazapir Mosque. Sheikh-ul-Islam Haji Allahshukur Pashazade has been its chairman since 1980. The Caucasus Muslim Office (CMO) oversees the activities of registered Islamic organizations, as well as trains and appoints Islamic clerics to lead Islamic worship, periodically monitors sermons, and organizes the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslim communities must obtain a letter of consent from the CMO before submitting an application to the SCWRA. Thus, if a religious organization wants to register, it must first obtain a certificate from the executive authority located in the area where the religious organization will be located. This "agreement", which is not provided by law, is an indication that the religious organization does not pose a "threat." On the basis of this certificate issued by the executive power, a religious organization may operate freely in the area after registration. The religious organization shall apply to the CMO together with the relevant reference, application form, state tax, constituent documents. After conducting a relevant investigation, the CMB submits the documents to the SCWRA for execution if there are no problems with the registration of the religious organization. The SCWRA registers the religious organization within 15 days of receiving the documents. It should be noted that a sample application for a religious organization can be obtained by applying to the SCWRA. Documents are not available online.
3. State registration of religious organizations
According to paragraphs 6-1.4 and 7.3 of the "Regulations on the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan" approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan No. 544 dated July 20, 2001, government registration of religious organizations is carried out in accordance with the legislation. The State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations (SCWRA) is responsible for maintaining the government registration of religious organizations, publishing information on the state registration of religious organizations in the media, and assisting in the legal organization of the work of religious organizations.
3.1. Relevant legislation
The following laws serve as the legal basis for the registration of religious organizations:
- Article 12 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Freedom of Religion”;
- Articles 4, 5, 8 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Registration and State Register of Legal Entities”;
- Articles 20.3, 20.4 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On State Duty”;
- Paragraphs 6-1.4 and 7.3 of the “Regulations on the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan” approved by the Decree No. 544 of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated July 20, 2001;
- “Administrative regulation on acceptance of applications and documents for state registration of religious organizations” approved by decision No. 05 of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated April 2, 2014.
Registration of religious organizations is carried out on a paid basis. Thus, according to Articles 20.3 and 20.4 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On State Duty", a state fee of 11 manats is paid for state registration and 5,50 manats for re-registration.
3.2. Required documents
For the government registration of a religious community, the following documents shall be submitted by the religious centre together with its submission:
- notarized application for state registration of a religious community, signed by at least 50 founders (application form is attached to the regulations);
- charter approved by the founders of the religious community or their authorized representative;
- decision on the establishment of a religious community, approval of its charter and formation of administering bodies (founding protocol);
- document on payment of state duty (duty is paid in the name of SCWRA);
- a document confirming the legal address of the religious community (information on the location of the permanent body);
- Copies of documents confirming the identities of the founders of the religious community;
- information on the basics of religious education, including the history of the religion and the community, the forms and methods of its activities, traditions, attitudes to the family, marriage and education, restrictions on the rights and responsibilities of members of the community (Appendix 1 to the application).
Different documents must be submitted for state registration of religious centres, religious institutions and religious-educational institutions. These are:
- notarized application for government registration of a religious organization signed by the founder (if there are several founders, all founders) or a person authorized by him (them) (attached to the regulations);
- decision on the establishment of a religious community, approval of its charter and formation of administering bodies (founding protocol);
- charter approved by the founders of the religious organization or their authorized representative;
- a document confirming the legal address of the religious organization (information on the location of the permanent organization);
- document on payment of the official fee.
Religious organizations have legal capacity after being registered and registered in the state register in accordance with the legislation. Religious organizations have constituent documents and charters that determine their legal capacity in accordance with civil law. The charter of a religious organization must be adopted after discussion at a general meeting of a group of religious people or at religious congresses and conferences. A religious organization is allowed to operate only after registration. The activity of an unregistered religious organization is prohibited by law.
3.3. Terms to be specified in the charter
- name, legal address, type and religion of the religious organization;
- aims and objectives of the religious organization, as well as the main forms of activity;
- structure of a religious organization, rules of management, administering bodies and rules of their organization, as well as powers of those bodies;
- conditions and procedure for admission to the establishment of a religious organization and withdrawal from the organization;
- sources of formation of the property of the religious organization;
- adoption of the charter, the procedure for making amendments in it;
- Procedure for liquidation of a religious organization and use of its property in case of liquidation.
When determining the name of a religious organization, it must be indicated to which religion it belongs, the nature of its activity and the organizational and legal form. The use of the name of the state bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the names of prominent personalities of Azerbaijan in determining the name is prohibited by law. Another issue that needs to be addressed regarding registration is the issue of legal address. Religious organizations, with the exception of religious centres and institutions, must choose their address when registering so that there are no problems in their activities. Because a religious organization cannot operate outside the address where it is registered. Religious centres and institutions can operate freely in the country, as their territory is not limited. If a religious organization decides to change its address, it must inform the religious centre to which it is subordinated to and the department to which it reports in writing within 7 (seven) days. The religious centre and department, in turn, must inform the State Committee for the Affairs of Religious Organizations about the change of address of the religious organization within 10 (ten) days. This rule also applies if the religious centre and the administration change their legal address, ie they must inform about the changes within 10 (ten) days.
The charter of a religious organization may also cover other issues related to the specifics of the activities of that religious organization. Documents determining the religious activity of a religious organization and resolving other internal issues shall not be subject to registration with state bodies. A religious organization is considered a legal entity from the moment of its state registration. The charter of a religious organization must be in accordance with the charter of its religious centre (department).
All religious organizations can operate only after state registration with the relevant executive authority (SCWRA) and inclusion in the state register of religious organizations. Religious organizations may operate in places of worship indicated as legal addresses in the information submitted for state registration only after the appointment of a cleric by religious centres and institutions.
3.4. Documents to be submitted in the application
Constituent protocol, charter and application: At least 50 (fifty) adult citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan or their authorized representatives who created a religious community for state registration apply to a religious centre or department, not to the SCWRA, with a notarized application with the community's founding protocol and charter attached. The application, as well as the list of persons who founded the religious community, indicating citizenship, place of residence and date of birth, copies of identity documents, the basics of religious education, including the history of the religious community, forms and methods of its activity, information on traditions, attitudes towards family, marriage and education, restrictions on the rights and responsibilities of members of that community, as well as other documents provided for in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On government registration and government registration of legal entities”. The appeals are registered in accordance with the "It is registered after its adoption in accordance with the "Instruction on conducting clerical work in state bodies, state-owned and legal entities in which the majority of shares belong to the state and budget organizations" were approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan No. 935 dated September 27, 2003, and sent to the Legal and Registration Department of the State Committee for execution.
3.5. Time-related terms
The application for state registration of a religious organization and the documents to be attached to it shall be checked by the responsible department within 30 days for their compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Freedom of Religion and other legislative acts. This period may be extended to another 30 days if additional research is required.
The documents required for state registration of religious centres, religious institutions, religious educational institutions are similar. However, these bodies must apply directly to the SCWRA themselves.
If there are deficiencies in the documents: if the submitted documents contain deficiencies that do not lead to the refusal of state registration, the relevant executive authority of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SCWRA) shall return the documents to the applicant and set an additional 20 days to eliminate them.
In the absence of grounds for refusal, the religious body must be notified of the elimination of deficiencies in the documents. Not later than 10 days after the documents are checked, the relevant executive authority of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SCWRA) shall inform the applicant about the refusal to issue a state registration certificate or give written refusal of state registration (indicating and explaining the provisions of the legislation that led to the refusal).
If no refusal to register is made within that period, the organisation shall be deemed to have been registered. In this case, the relevant executive authority of the Republic of Azerbaijan must issue a certificate of state registration to the applicant no later than 10 days.
If a state-registered religious organization has any amendments in the information or documents required for its state registration it must inform the relevant executive authority (SCWRA) through religious centres and departments within 20 days and submit the documents confirming the relevant change in the same manner.
3.6. Refusal of government registration
According to Article 12 of the SCWRA, the registration of religious organizations may be refused in the following cases:
- if the activity or goals set by the religious organization, or the essence and basic principles of the religious discipline it propagates contradict the Constitution and laws of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- if the established institution is not recognized as a religious institution;
- if the submitted charter and other documents contradict the requirements of the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan or the information reflected in them is incorrect.
When informing a religious organization about the refusal of state registration, the information on the refusal shall be given in writing, indicating the provisions of the legislation on which the refusal was based. Refusal to register a religious organization on any grounds other than those provided for in the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan may not be allowed.
The applicant may appeal against the decisions on state registration and the actions of officials in an administrative manner and (or) to the court. The complaint must comply with Article 74 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Administrative Proceedings”, ie the name and address of the administrative body against which the complaint is filed; surname, name, patronymic, place of residence or location of the complainant, if he/she is a legal entity, name and legal address, procedural status in administrative proceedings; the administrative act or omission complained of; the claimant's claim and the grounds for the claim; the date of the complaint; signature of the complainant. If the complaint does not meet the requirements, the administrative body shall set additional time for its elimination. When a complaint is submitted to an administrative body, the complaint must be considered within the period specified in Article 78 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Administrative Proceedings”, within 1 month from the date of receipt of the complaint and a decision on its merits. If the decision is not made within the specified period or if he does not agree with the decision, the appellant may appeal to the court.
4. Liquidation of a religious institution
Along with the registration of religious organizations, the legislation also regulates the grounds and procedure for their liquidation. It should be noted that the abolition of religious organizations is also a means of controlling their existence and activities. The legislation provides for their abolition in the following cases:
- by the decision of the founders or the body authorized by the charter;
- by the decision of the court on the basis of the application of the relevant executive authority.
A religious organization may be liquidated in court on the following grounds:
- implementation of activities by a religious organization that contradict its goals of creation;
- Propagation of religious beliefs and lifestyles by force or threat of use of force, as well as for the purpose of inciting racial, national, religious, social hatred or enmity, to express (demonstrate) religious beliefs, to perform religious rites and or coercion to participate in religious ceremonies, dissemination and propagation of a religion (religious movement) that degrades human dignity or contradicts the principles of humanity;
- violation of public safety or public order;
- 3-1) engaging in religious extremist activities;
- committing acts aimed at terrorism, terrorist financing, provocation or violent crime;
- Obstruction of secular education;
- incitement or coercion of members of a religious organization and other persons to give up their property in favour of a religious organization;
- preventing a person from leaving a religious organization by using force or other illegal actions;
- inciting individuals to refuse to perform their statutory duties and to commit other illegal acts;
- non-compliance with two written requests of the relevant executive authority to submit information on changes in the information or documents required for state registration within one year.
If religious centres and institutions have information that could lead to the liquidation of religious communities, they must submit a petition to the relevant executive authority to change the composition of the founders of those religious communities or to liquidate the community. If a religious organization engages in extremist activities, its activities are prohibited and restricted. The issue of property, which is one of the main issues in the liquidation of a religious institution, must be resolved. According to Article 12-1 of the LFRB, if a religious organization has property on its balance sheet, relevant documents and information related to the property must be submitted to the State Committee for Religious Affairs in order to be resolved in accordance with the Law on State Registration and State Register of Legal Entities.
Freedom of conscience and free performance of religious rites by every citizen in our country are defined in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. However, in order to perform religious rites together, adults must unite as a group and be registered with the state. Only religious organizations registered by the State Committee for the Affairs of Religious Organizations are allowed to perform religious rites and worship in groups. The main condition for the registration of religious communities is the notarized written consent of 50 adults. In my opinion, the fact that there is a limit of 50 people during the registration of religious communities is one of the main obstacles to the establishment of a religious organization. In addition, manufactured barriers to the re-registration of religious organizations were in the public eye. The inability of 15 or 20 adults to worship in groups without government registration is a violation of constitutional and conventional freedom.
According to the latest statistics provided by the SCWRA, 969 religious communities have been operating since the start of the process of re-registration of religious organizations (01.09.2009). From the confessional point of view, 932 of them are Islamic and 37 are non-Islamic (Christian - 26; Jewish - 8; Krishna - 1; Baha'i - 2). Since the beginning of the process of state registration of religious educational institutions (colleges) in 2017, 11 religious educational institutions have been registered. There are 2,250 mosques in the country, 136 of which are located in Baku. There are 16 churches and 7 synagogues in the country. There are 748 shrines and sanctuaries in the country, 25 of which are in the Baku-Absheron region.
According to statistics released by the SCWRA in 2011, 96 per cent of the country's population is Muslim. 65% of them are Shiites and 35% are Sunnis. The remaining 4 per cent of the population is Russian-Orthodox, Georgian-Orthodox, Armenian-Apostolic Churches, Seventh-day Adventists, Molokans, Roman Catholics, other Christians, Jews, Baha'is, and non-believers. Since independence was obtained in 1991, many religious communities have appeared in the country: Pentecostal and other evangelical Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, and members of the International Krishna Consciousness Society (IKCS). Christians live mainly in Baku and other urban areas. Currently, about 15,000-20,000 Jews live in Baku. Small Jewish communities can be found throughout the country.
 The latest statistics of the SCWRA, see: http://www.dqdk.gov.az/en/view/pages/306?menu_id=83
 International report of the US Embassy for 2016 https://az.usembassy.gov/az/2016-ci-ild%C9%99-dini-azadligin-v%C9%99ziyy%C9%99tin%C9%99-dair-beyn%C9%99lxalq-hesabat/