If until today state-sponsored destruction of Armenian material heritage in Azerbaijan has been the norm and the exception for Azerbaijan’s self-praised image of “tolerance” for minorities – such as Jews, Russians, and Catholics – the tolerant ambition of the mostly Muslim Republic is under threat as a fire intervened with the construction of a Catholic church in the capital city of Baku.

Via Nazarian, Azerbaijani media report:

Fire occurred in the Catholic Church “Saint Maryam” under construction in Baku today. Baku Catholic Church’s head Yan Chapla exclusively told APA that the explosive material thrown inside the church through the window caused the fire.

If until today anti-Christian (and anti anything) bigotry in Azerbaijan has been blamed on the conflict with the Armenians, the attack against the Catholic church seems a new development of Islamic circles in Azerbaijan that Azeri authorities have usually been in denial of. 

This also challenges the uncontested notion that the cultural genocide against Armenian monuments in Azerbaijan, directed by or with the awareness of Azeri authorities, solely deals with ethnic conflict and is not anti-Christian.