The Opening Ceremony of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games of Baku 2017 was held at the Olympic stadium in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan on Friday 12 May, 2017.
The Ceremony was honored by the attendance of His Excellency the President of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilahm Aliyev, the Senior Vice President & Chairman of the Organization Committee of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games Mrs. Mahriban Aliyeva, His Excellency Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mr. Faisal Abdulaziz Al-Nassar Secretary General of ISSF, Ministers of Youth & Sport of various Islamic Countries, Representatives of the International Olympic Committee and Representatives of the International Sports Federations.
His Excellency, the President of Azerbaijan extended welcome to all participants in the Opening Ceremony and in the Games in general. He said that it is a great honor for Azerbaijan to host this major event and to welcome our Muslim brothers and sisters from 54 countries from all over the Muslim World to participate in 20 sports events over the ten coming days.
His Excellency, recalled that Azerbaijan has celebrated last year the 25th anniversary of Independence and that the country is young, Independent and fast-growing with deep roots in history and culture. He proudly referred to the fact that Azerbaijan is embracing the oldest Mosque in the world built in the year 743 G.
His Excellency the President announced that the year 2017 is the “Year of Islamic Solidarity” in Azerbaijan that will strengthen the unity of Muslim World and that hosting the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games will enhance friendliness and cooperation among Muslim Countries, and that the Games will be real festival of celebrating Peace and Solidarity among Muslim Countries.
The Opening Ceremony started by hoisting the flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the National Anthem of Azerbaijan was played, then the Senior Vice President of Azerbaijan & Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games Mrs. Mahriban Aliyeva delivered a speech, by saying:
“It is to my pleasure to welcome all our guests in Azerbaijan during the Opening Ceremony of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, 2017.
The Organizing Committee aspires to hold historical & world class Games via which we can celebrate our unity by adopting creative activities based upon our ambition and hope to capture the imagination and interest of the whole world.
The ideas and artistic activities of both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the activities of our trip that started from the Caspian Sea and the whole Games, are derived from the rich history and culture of our country and from the great contribution of Islamic Civilization that the whole World has benefited from.
I would like to thank the Islamic Sports Federation for assigning Baku to host the 4th edition of these Games. It is really a great honor for us.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers in Baku 2017 for the essential role they are playing this evening, these young people are the base of our future. Without their sincere enthusiasm and full dedication, the real meaning of our friendship and unity could not be manifested.
It is an honor for us to give the best athletes competing in their exciting events in these Games throughout the coming ten days, a chance to collect some nice memories from Baku, then to recall when getting back home. Their dedication, hard work and mutual respect will be inspirational for us”.
After that, His Excellency Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation delivered a speech. He said:
“in the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful and Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammed and his Family and Companions.
Dear brothers and friends from all over the world,
Welcome to you in Baku to attend the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games.
Sport is a universal language that brings together participants and fans in a fraternal atmosphere full of friendliness, cooperation and allows enhancement of affection and friendship.
These games in Baku will bring together athletes from four Continents & will contribute to the spread of the meaning of Peace and Respect among them and will inspire others from different religions and nationalities to adopt similar meanings.
I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the fact that the ISSF is committed to avail all its capabilities to enhance the understanding and unity in the Muslim World, hoping to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation to the fantastic people of the hosting country and to H.E. Mahriban Aliyeva the Senior Vice President of Azerbaijan for her efforts and inspirational leadership as the Chairperson of the Organization Committee of the Games.
Many thanks are to the Government and people of Azerbaijan who are enjoying the wise leadership of the President Mr. Ilham Aliyev as the support he has rendered to host the Games is unlimited.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is one of the foremost countries who has keen interest in sport and has shown a strong commitment not only to host the Games but to take it to the world class level.
It is not a secret for all of us that the success achieved in staging the Games is the result of the hard work and commitments exerted both by the organizers and volunteers who were keen to provide most convenient environment for the athletes to help them to excel and to achieve the best performance.
It is to my pleasure to be part of this elite group launching the Games in this magnificent stadium, wishing athletes all the success during the coming ten days of the competition.
Peace and blessings of God be on you”.
After that, a film about the informal launching the Games held on April 5th, 2017, was projected. The film has showed a metaphoric action when the President of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev started the transition of the water from the Caspian Sea to the all parts of the country to mean by so doing bringing the whole nation under the banner of the Islamic Solidarity Games.
Then, flags and delegations of the 54 participating countries in the Games, entered the Olympic Stadium of Baku according to the alphabetical order followed by the flag and delegation of Azerbaijan.
The Artistic Performance / Show
An Artistic performance / show was performed to resemble the Islamic Renaissance era and activities, show the spread of Islam, recall lessons from the past and to perform a touring throughout Azerbaijan country to show the monuments and heritage assets of Azerbaijan.
A tableau of the largest Mosque in the Caucasus region “Haidar Mosque” was presented, accompanied with the voice of Al Muezzin (the person who calls worshippers to pray). The tableau showed the water as the “source of our purity from uncleanness” and that the prayer of a Muslim can’t be valid/accepted unless he is purified by water, and showed that water is connecting all of us and that our faith and values are integral and indivisible.
Activities of the Artistic Performance proceeded to show another tableau of entering through the Gate of History to identify Islamic contributions accomplished during the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization (prevailed between the seventh & the seventeenth century such as discoveries, architecture, literature, innovations).
The Islamic Civilization has combined unique components of multi-ethnic, multi- cultures, high aspirations, and large scale of curiosity and literacy and was very rich with sophisticated techniques and science.
Thanks to the ambitioned & openminded scholars and their readiness to accomplish intellectual innovations and their ability to get to the Golden Age everything to the best and highest level. It is worthy to mention that commercial road networks were made everywhere in Asia, Europe and the Middle East as well.
Other tableaus of the show, reflected the role of Learning and Traveling activities throughout the Islamic History presenting the trips made by one of the famous traveler “Ibn Battuta” and the contributions made by the Islamic Astronomers & Geologists who managed to determine/ register the “time”, survey the Earth, measure the heights/altitudes and putting maps of the Earth (Idrisi is the most famous scholar in this field).
Some other tableaus reflected the development of Islamic architectures, techniques of building domes, minarets and development of creating decorations with the emphasis that the notable Islamic heritage features were derived from the Noble book of Quran.
Other tableaus showed the oldest Islamic Universities (the Mosque and school of “ Al-Qairawan” in the city of Fez as well as the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo city which was built by Al-Muez and the important role played by these universities in the spread of Islamic Education.
In fact, the tableaus of the Show have used all the elements (inspired by the cultural heritage of each of the countries played a vital role in building up our pride of the Golden Age of Islam.