British Azerbaijanis

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British Azerbaijanis
Sami Yusuf 2011 cropped.jpg
Nigar Camal 2012.jpg
Ahmad shah and mirza.jpg
Elyar Fox 2014.jpg
Michael Flanders and Donald Swann 1966.JPG
Total population
Azerbaijan-born residents
6,220 (2011 Census)[1]
Azerbaijani nationals
3,350 (2011 Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
London, Manchester, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham, Edinburgh
English, Azerbaijani, Turkish, Russian, Persian
Irreligion Islam Christianity

British Azerbaijanis (Azerbaijani: Böyük Britaniya Azərbaycanlıları) also known as British Azeris or Azerbaijanis in the United Kingdom is a small Azerbaijani diaspora in the United Kingdom, are British citizens and permanent residents of ethnic Azerbaijani background.


First wave of immigration[edit]

The majority of Azerbaijanis in Britain were thought to be first-generation immigrants from Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Central Asia and Russia.[2]

Second wave of immigration[edit]

A new wave of Azerbaijani immigrants came in the late 1940s, including Soviet Azerbaijani prisoners of war who were able to make their way westward after being freed from Nazi camps. The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 allowed people displaced during the World War II to immigrate to the UK.[3]

Contemporary period[edit]

Immediately before and continuing into the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, waves of Azerbaijanis from the Republic of Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics arrived for political reasons and economic opportunities, settling in older established Russian or Turkish speaking communities across the country.[4] The Black January and the political crisis in Baku during the Nagorno-Karabakh War caused an estimated number of 1,000,000 Azerbaijanis to leave the country, most of whom ended up in Russia, some in the UK, and some in North America.[5]

In 2014, according to Beauchamp Estates, British Azerbaijanis was one of top investors to British property market, having together with Kazakhstani and Georgian natives purchased over £2bn of luxury residential property in London over the past two years. Popular areas include Mayfair and Regent’s Park, with 85 percent of buyers choosing property in Knightsbridge or Belgravia typically priced between £15m and £60m.[6][7]

In May 2014, Murad Gassanly became first British-Azerbaijani to get elected as he became councillor at Westminster City Council, representing Labour Party.[8][9]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Most British Azerbaijanis are concentrated in major urban areas, especially in London and the Midlands, and to a lesser extent in the Scotland. The highest concentrations of British of Azerbaijani ancestry are in London, Manchester and Newcastle.[10] According to United Kingdom Census 2011, there are 6,220 Azerbaijani born citizens living in UK, while 150 Azerbaijanis were living in Scotland.[11]

Rank Place Number of Azerbaijanis
1 London 5000[12]
2 Manchester 500
3 Liverpool 500
4 Newcastle 200
5 Aberdeen 50
6 Glasgow 50
7 Birmingham 50
8 Edinburgh 23


The majority of British Azerbaijanis regard Azerbaijan as their "ancestral home", although a survey showed strong feelings that they belonged to British society.[13] The cultural traditions practised in Azerbaijan, are also widely practised by the community. Traditional family values are considered to be very important for the Azerbaijani community.[14] Marriage in particular is seen as an important part of their social sphere, and considerable social pressure is put onto single Azerbaijanis to get married.[14]

As of 2008, there is Azerbaijan House Culture and Friendship Centre functioning in London.[15]

Arts and entertainment[edit]

As of 2010s, there have been surge in British Azerbaijani art exhibitions.[16] Works by acclaimed Azerbaijani artists were displayed at an exhibition in London's Sotheby's art auction.[17][18]

Numerous Azerbaijani musicians have been successful in British pop culture. In 2014, Elyar Fox became most successful British Azerbaijani in British Music as his song Do It All Over Again reached number 5th spot in UK Singles Chart.[19] Sami Yusuf is another notable performer. Yusuf gained worldwide recognition following the release of his second album, My Ummah, in July 2005.[20]


Significant Azerbaijani events or celebrations are celebrated by the community annually. The Nowruz is a celebration of the Persian New Year, celebrated by the Azerbaijani community every year.[21][22]

The Republic Day of Azerbaijan on 28 May is also celebrated by local communities. British Azerbaijanis gather in multiple towns and cities every year on 26 February for the recognition of the Khojaly Massacre.[23][24] The largest of such gatherings occurs in the London area.[25][26]


Dovga, a yoghurt soup cooked with a variety of herbs.

Azerbaijani cuisine, and the Middle Eastern cuisine in general, is popular among British Azerbaijanis. A number of restaurants function in the London area and other locations with high concentration of British Azerbaijanis.[27]


The Azerbaijani language is the main language spoken among the community in the United Kingdom.

A new Azerbaijani language, Anglo-Azerbaijani or also referred to as Azenglish, has been forming amongst the second and third generations, where the English language and the Azerbaijani language is used interchangeably in the same sentences.[28]


Azerbaijani immigrants were one of the most literate ethnic groups to enter the UK with 96% literacy.[1] In comparison, only 46% of Africans, 74% of Indians and 99% of Finns were literate.[29]


The vast majority of the Azerbaijani community are Shia Muslims, whilst the remaining people generally do not have any religious affiliation. Nonetheless, even those who define themselves as not being religious feel that Islam has had an influence of their Azerbaijani identity.[30] There is mostly a lack of knowledge about the basic principles of Islam within the younger generations.[31] The young generation of the community tends to have little knowledge about their religion and generally do not fulfill all religious duties.[31] However, the majority of young Azerbaijani still believe in Islam and the basic principles of the religion as it has more of a symbolic attachment to them due to traditional Azerbaijani values.[31]

Some British Azerbaijanis are adherents of the East London Mosque, the largest Islamic mosque in the UK.[32] Religious Muslim festivals celebrated by the community each year, which includes Eid al-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr.[32]


Futsal is widely followed and played by many young British Azerbaijanis. As of 2008, Baku United futsal club founded by the Odlar Yurdu Organisation and currently participating in FA National Futsal League.[33] The team celebrated their first title in 2013 by becoming league champions.[34][35] It also become the first English club to play in the main round of UEFA Futsal Cup.[36]

Notable British Azerbaijanis[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Nationality and country of birth by age, sex and qualifications Jan - Dec 2013 (Excel sheet 60Kb)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Azərbaycan diasporunun məskunlaşma coğrafiyası". (in Azerbaijanis). Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Powell, John (2005). Encyclopedia of North American immigration. New York: Facts On File. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-1-4381-1012-7. 
  4. ^ Papazian, Dennis (2000). "Armenians in America". Journal of Eastern Christian Studies (University of Michigan-Dearborn) 52 (3-4): 311–347. doi:10.2143/JECS.52.3.565605. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Münz, Rainer (2003). Diasporas and ethnic migrants: German, Israel and post-Soviet successor states in comparative perspective. London: Frank Cass. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-7146-5232-0. 
  6. ^ Campbell, Scott. "Ukraine's oligarchs buy in to London". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Азербайджанцы среди главных инвесторов Лондона. (in Russian). Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "2014 Westminster City Council Election Results". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Britaniya bələdiyyə seçkilərində azərbaycanlı qalib gəlib". (in Azerbaijani). BBC. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Xaricdəki diaspor təşkilatları". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Scotland Census's 2011". Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  12. ^ АЗЕРБАЙДЖАНСКИЕ ВСТРЕЧИ В ВЕЛИКОБРИТАНИИ. (in Russian). Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Citizenship survey – British-Bangladeshis integrating well in UK". UK in Bangladesh – Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 14 August 2008. 
  14. ^ a b Samedova, Arzu. "Journey of Halves - Between Two Worlds". Azerbaijan International. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Azerbaijan House". Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Gleadell, Colin. "Art market: Azerbaijan in the spotlight". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Vickery, Jo. "Exploring Azerbaijan: In Pursuit of the Art of the Caucasus". Sotheby's. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Azerbaijani art partakes at Sotheby’s art auction in London". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Elyar Fox > UK Charts". Official Charts Company. 
  20. ^ "British composer, songwriter and producer, Sami Yusuf is taking the stage this weekend at Istanbul's Arena Mega". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  21. ^ Zubek, Ewa. "Celebrating Azerbaijan’s Ancient Novruz Festival in London". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  22. ^ "Londonda Novruz bayramı tədbiri keçirilib (FOTO)". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Batiyev, Bahram. В Великобритании почтили память жертв Ходжалы. (in Russian). Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Absalom, Eugene. "Khojaly Commemoration Concert by TEAS at St John's Smith Square London". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  25. ^ "ASAIF holds demonstration on Khojaly genocide in London - PHOTOS". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Londonda Xocalı soyqırımı ilə bağlı aksiya keçirilib - YENİLƏNİB". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  27. ^ Maschler, Fay. "Baku - review". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  28. ^ Communities and Local Government 2009, 7
  29. ^ "Executive Summary of Report on Media Literacy of Adults from Minority Ethnic Groups". Ofcom. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  30. ^ Küçükcan 2004, 253
  31. ^ a b c Küçükcan 2004, 251
  32. ^ a b "Londonda Ramazan: azərbaycanlılar iftarı necə açır?". (in Azerbaijani). BBC. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  33. ^ "Baku United's Official Page". Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "Futsal club Baku United becomes champion of England". Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  35. ^ "BAKU SPOT ON IN FINAL". The Football Association. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  36. ^ Saffer, Paul. "Reed backs Baku United to move forward". UEFA. Retrieved 2 July 2014.