Gender-selective abortions addressed with the assistance of TEAS and Prince Charles’ Mosaic charity

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Javid Shahmaliyev – a young and dynamic Azerbaijani social worker – has reported to HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, on his quest to change attitudes in his homeland towards gender-selective abortions. His work has been supported by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) and the Mosaic charity, founded by The Prince of Wales.

Javid Shahmaliyev's quest to end gender-selective abortions in his homeland – which are against any religion – has been praised by HRH The Prince of Wales

It was fantastic for Azerbaijan to be presented to the Prince, and I am honoured that I had chance to present on behalf of my country and to show the positive role of Islam.

HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, has been briefed about the success of an inspired young Azerbaijani man’s attempts to curb gender-selective abortions in his country during an event at Clarence House on 2 February. The young man’s work has been sponsored by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS).

The Mosaic International Leaders’ Forum was established by the Prince of Wales to develop the talents and potential of young people in 18 Muslim-majority countries, focusing on their leadership ability, aspirations to become a catalyst of change, and active participation in their communities. This year-long programme began with an intense fortnight of inspirational lectures, field days and mentoring sessions during the International Summit in Amman, Jordan.

TEAS is amongst the global partners for Mosaic, and has sponsored the work of trained social worker Javid Shahmaliyev. Javid decided to focus on one of the most controversial issues in the Islamic world – gender-selective abortions – from a religious perspective, working with Imams and religious leaders in the regions of Azerbaijan. Substantiating his views with religious doctrine, he has travelled the length and breadth of his country to impress on congregations the importance of women in an inclusive and developing society.

According to Javid, his work fascinated The Prince of Wales: “Yesterday was a ‘report back’ event, and mine was one of the successful case studies. I provided the Prince with brief information on my project, and he showed great interest in the number of mosques I covered and my methodology. We had an excellent meeting, and I appreciate his support and that of Mosaic. It was fantastic for Azerbaijan to be presented to the Prince, and I am honoured that I had chance to present on behalf of my country and to show the positive role of Islam. I felt he was inspired by my case study.”

Also attending the event, Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS, had the opportunity to brief HRH The Prince of Wales on the background to Azerbaijan’s involvement in the project. He spoke of the difficult early days of the nation’s birth, when no sooner had it succeeded in its bloody struggle to cast off Soviet rule than neighbouring Armenia invaded Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts, creating around 875,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. Fortunately, Azerbaijan’s bountiful supplies of oil and gas has enabled the country to care for these dispossessed people, and to create a stable society where people of all faiths can happily coexist in an atmosphere of tolerance.

The declining oil price has meant that an even greater emphasis is now placed on the country’s most valuable asset of all – the enterprise and energy of its young people.

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