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Defense Minister: Georgian soldiers enjoy freedom of religion

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, March 8
Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli opened a mosque for Muslim soldiers in the III Infantry Brigade in Kutaisi. The Mufti of Georgian Muslims, Beglar Kamashidze, also attended the opening ceremony.

At the opening, Khidasheli noted that Georgia is a country which has democratic legislation and a democratic government, wherein freedom of religion is guaranteed.

“Democratic government means that all people are equal and everyone has the opportunity to serve their country and at the same time have the opportunity to enjoy freedom of their religion,” said the Minister, and explained that her initiative was unveiled in Pankisi, where the majority of locals are Muslims.

The Minister said that two more mosques are to be opened by the end of March and every soldier will have opportunity to serve their religion.

“All soldiers who serve in Georgian Army are equal and every of them will have the opportunity to practice their religion. We will create all conditions for this, and the guarantee is the Ministry of Defence,” stated Khidasheli.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 103 Muslim servicemen are currently serving in the lll Infantry Brigade.

The mufti thanked the Minister and the government for the initiative and noted that such an event has not occurred for a long time.

“This is an historic event. I want to thank the Minister and the Georgian Government for their support,” said Mufti Kamashadze.

The opening of mosques in the Georgian Armed Forces was the initiative of the Defence Minister, which was unveiled in Pankisi, where the majority of locals are Muslims.

“Georgian Muslim soldiers represent the minority but we always fight for Georgia. I want to thank everybody who contributed to the opening of the mosque,” said one of the Muslim soldiers of the III Infantry Brigade.

The opening of the mosque aims at promoting freedom and protection of religion, recognized by the Georgian constitution and international law.