Azerbaijan’s ambassador invites “all British Eurovision fans” to Baku.

On Monday the Times of London published an article about the concerns gay Eurovision fans have over visiting Baku in 2012. This morning, in a letter to the editor published in the Times, Fakhradding Gurbanov—Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Britain—tells all the haters out there that they need to rethink their assumptions. Here is the letter in full. Unfortunately the Times is behind a paywall so I can’t link to the original article or today’s letter:

Sir, Azerbaijan is a young country and we are proud to have won the Eurovision contest. We celebrate the 20th anniversary of our independence this year, and it’s the best birthday present anyone could get. 2011 is a year of many anniversaries for Azerbaijan: the 10th anniversary of our membership of the Council of Europe, not to mention the centenary of Azerbaijani football—introduced by British oil workers in 1911—which we celebrate next month.

Azerbaijanis would hve been disappointed but not surprised to see your report (“Gay concern over the next Eurovision,” May 16). When we joined the Council of Europe we removed all legislation that discriminated against minorities (by nationality, gender, sexual orientation or religion) from our statute books, and we have never subsequently taken a negative position on these issues in the council’s debates and votes.

We are not an exclusively “Muslim country”—we are a multifaith country with strong Christian and Jewish communities, churches, synagoges, and schools alongside our majority Muslim population, in a state that is resolutely and constitutionaly secular.

I invite all British Eurovision fans to visit our beautiful country in 2012 and we look forward to the opportunity to strengthen the friendship between our countries.

FAKHRADDIN GURBANOV, Ambassador, Republic of Azerbaijan

In Dusseldorf, Wiwi and Vebooboo filmed two journalists asking Ell & Nikki their thoughts on this topic, and whether Baku can handle hosting Eurovision, which is frequently dubbed “the gay world cup.” Watch that footage here.

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Kellz
Guest
Kellz

YOU TELL HIM NIRGAL!!! “Move Like” — people like YOU are the ones who give Azerbaijan a bad name. It’s unfortunate because I’ve met many LOVELY Azeris who do not share your BIGGOTED views.

Nirgal
Guest

Whoah, dude, are you really comparing kissing a guy on public with pooping on the street? You better be trolling us. Let’s twist this a little: Hello every woman out there….I am not religious at all….But if you ask do i like females? No…But i don’t hate them either….Don’t touch me I don’t care do whatever you want….You girls are welcome to City no one gonna hurt you or through stones at you we are not like our persian neighbors….Guest is Guest! BUT! ‘YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IF YOU GONNA SHOW YOUR FACES’ you can visit ur capital taste our… Read more »

Move Like
Guest

Hello every gay and lesbian out there….I am not religious at all….But if you ask do i like gays? No…But i don’t hate them either….Don’t touch me I don’t care do whatever you want….You guys are welcome to Baku no one gonna hurt you or through stones at you we are not like our persian neighbors….Guest is Guest! BUT! ‘YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IF YOU GONNA DO GAY PARADE’ you can visit baku taste our cuisine drink chai but don’t PARADE! We are country with ancient culture and we love our culture….We have national values….WE ARE VERY TOLERANT BUT YOU… Read more »

Azeri Gay
Guest

Hey Guys. What I wanted to say is what our ambassador says about our multiculturarity is true. I know that muslim country automatically creates stereotypes, but beleive me Azerbaijan is different. Gay envoirnment here is more relaxed than in many ex soviet republics, I would say even from Russua and for sure in Caucasus. Remember, we are only 400 km. from Tehran where Gays are hunged only for being Gays.
Just visit us and You will see it Yourselves.

vangelis
Guest
vangelis

He doesn’t say they will “welcome gays”. He says “I invite all British Eurovision fans to visit our beautiful country in 2012 and we look forward to the opportunity to strengthen the friendship between our countries”

Nirgal
Guest

They better welcome us, because if they don’t they’re gonna have like… half the audience on the venue.

Schlagerboys
Guest

About as welcome as in Russia. i.e. not very.