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Jewish, Muslim organizations in NY commemorate victims of Khojaly tragedy

The American Sephardi Federation (ASF) and the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) in New York honored the memory of the victims of tragedy in Azerbaijan’s Khojaly town, Trend reports Feb. 26.

The event was attended by representatives of various religious and ethnic organizations of the US, local community activists and representatives of the Azerbaijani community.

The event was supported by the Azerbaijani Embassy in the US and the State Committee on Work with the Diaspora.

Opening the ceremony, ASF Executive Director Jason Huberman honored the memory of the victims of the Khojaly tragedy, saying that 613 inhabitants of this city became martyrs in Khojaly, adding that this figure has a sacred meaning in the Jewish religion.

Then, Executive Director of MALA Zainab Zeb Khan delivered speech.

After the introductory part of the event, prayers were read.

Then, Vugar Gurbanov, counselor for the Azerbaijani Embassy in the US, delivered speech and called this event, organized by Jewish and Muslim organizations, a good example of interfaith cooperation.

The resident of Khojaly and the witness of the tragedy Anar Usubov, who spoke at the ceremony, shared his memories about that day. He said that he had lost many of his relatives that night, and at the age of 11 he was taken hostage by Armenians.

Panel discussions were held in the second part of the event.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

During the Karabakh war, on Feb. 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops, stationed in Khankendi, committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly. As many as 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people were killed in the massacre. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.