Azerbaijan was the first Islamic country ever to declare itself a democratic and secular Republic ( in 1918). It was also the first Muslim country to open a theater. Perhaps, you think that this last statement is sort of stupid but, believe it or not, in conservative Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, theaters and cinemas are not allowed yet.
Today, Azerbaijan still calls itself a secular Republic. Around 95% of the population are Muslims (85% Shia and the rest Sunni). Nevertheless, I invite you take the smallest district in Cairo, Dubai or Amman and you’ll find a larger number of mosques there than in the entire city of Baku. Atheism is common among young people, women barely cover their heads and alcohol is widely available everywhere. From a religious point of view, Azerbaijanis are more liberal than their Christian neighbors from Armenia and Georgia.