His anticipated arrest, the third by the Aliyev regime, will only enhance the prestige of Sheikh Tale Baqirzade in Azerbaijan. The Islamic Movement in Azerbaijan is gaining huge popularity while the illegitimate regime is in panic.
November 16, 2015, 14:07 EST
Chairman of the Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) in Azerbaijan Republic Sheikh Tale Baqirzade announced on his official Facebook page on November 15 that he had received reliable information about his impending arrest. Should it materialize, this would be his third arrest by the Aliyev regime.
Sheikh Baqirzade was released from prison in July 2015 after serving his second term on fabricated charges of “drug” possession. Two days prior to his second arrest (March 29, 2013) Sheikh Baqirzade had also publically announced that he was about to be arrested.
Since his most recent release from prison (July 2015), Sheikh Baqirzade’s peaceful activism has led to euphoria among Azerbaijan’s repressed socio-political scene. The MUM’s activism has put the regime on the defensive.
The Sheikh’s comprehensive socio-political vision, civil activism and courage serve as a great attraction for the Azeri youth drawing them into the Islamic movement. The leadership capabilities of Sheikh Baqirzade greatly worry the regime as well as the Aliyev facilitated pseudo-opposition. No one in Azerbaijan can match his charisma and courage.
Since his release he has been busy organizing the MUM in order to strengthen civil society and develop an institutional socio-political alternative to the existing unelected regime.
Even though the Sheikh has been out of prison for less than five months he has faced severe pressure from the regime. Over the past few months he has been summoned to the local intelligence ministry, the regime’s thugs have stormed the mosque in Yevlah city where he was attending Jumaah prayers, he was beaten at the police station earlier this month and his deputy, Sheikh Elchin Qasimov is currently serving a 30-day prison sentence.
It is clear the regime’s strategy is bankrupt when it comes to dealing with the process of Islamic awakening in Azerbaijan.
In or out of prison, Sheikh Baqirzade is a powerful symbol of social activism that cannot be eradicated even if the regime were to murder him, like it did Ziya Bunyadov.
Currently the ruling clique in Azerbaijan has cornered itself into a catch-22 situation. If it arrests Sheikh Baqirzade (for the third time) it will increase his already high popularity and further discredit the country’s irrelevant secular pseudo opposition. The regime has been trying to revive the pseudo-opposition in order to maintain a veneer of legitimacy.
After the arrest of Dr. Movsum Samedov in 2010, the Islamic movement in Azerbaijan crossed the regime’s artificial political redlines and is continuing to transform itself into an inclusive and unstoppable socio-political phenomenon. The regime cannot fathom the quality of leadership of the Islamic movement thus in confusion, it overplays its hand.
The Aliyev-led gang is particularly worried by the fact that Sheikh Baqirzade is winning the hearts and minds of genuine non-Islamic minded opposition activists and intellectuals.
Also the current tension between the regime and the MUM comes at a time when the ruling clique is in disarray after the long-time Intelligence Minister Eldar Mahmudov was fired last month and placed under de facto house arrest. He was secretly wire-tapping members of the regime’s inner circle. Mahmudov’s firing resulted in the arrest of a dozen intelligence ministry and telecommunications ministry officials.
It seems Divine Power is opening the path for the Islamic movement in Azerbaijan. Whatever the regime does to weaken it, the movement only becomes stronger.