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Sunnis and Shias Pray Together In This Azerbaijani Mosque

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This may not be common elsewhere, but at the Heydar Mosque in Azerbaijan, both Sunni and Shia Muslims come together every Friday for prayers. This mosque is the largest in Azerbaijan and in the entire Caucasus, was built just 5 years ago in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, but it has already become a symbol of peace, tolerance and unity.
“Our mosque the Heydar Mosque is unique, everyone here is equal there is no difference Sunni or Shia,” Arif Novruzov, a Sunni Muslim who prays at the Heydar Mosque says. Rufar Garayev, a Shia Muslim who also attends the Heydar Mosque agrees. “I am a Shia Muslim. That’s my choice. But we also have Sunni Muslims in Azerbaijan and we see them as our brothers. This is our lifestyle, it’s always been and always will be. Unlike other countries, there’s stability in our country,” he says.
Azerbaijan is an overwhelmingly Muslim country where Shia Muslims make up the majority. Less than 15 percent are Sunnis. Members of both sects have lived together in harmony for centuries in Baku.