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INTERNATIONAL: Russia court outlaws Jehovah’s Witnesses as ‘extremist’ organisation

By BBC
Russia's justice ministry argues that Jehovah's Witnesses pamphlets incite hatred.

Russia’s justice ministry argues that Jehovah’s Witnesses pamphlets incite hatred.

BBC – Russia’s Supreme Court has accepted the government’s request to designate Jehovah’s Witnesses as an outlawed religious group, deeming it to be an extremist organisation.

The justice ministry argued that the group had distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other groups.

Lawyers representing the group reject the claims and say they will appeal.

The denomination says it has 175,000 members in Russia – a country where it was persecuted during the Stalin era.

An estimated eight million people worldwide are part of the Christian-based movement, best known for going door-to-door looking for new converts.

Practitioners of the faith argue that it means their activities from now on will be criminalised.

The justice ministry urged the court to close the group’s national headquarters near St Petersburg, Russian news agencies reported, in addition to banning some of its “extremist” publications.

One pamphlet distributed by the group quoted the novelist Leo Tolstoy as describing the doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church as superstition and sorcery.

Officials have accused the religion of destroying families, propagating hatred and endangering lives.

Jehovah’s Witnesses say the accusations are completely untrue. A spokesman told the AFP news agency that he was “shocked” by the ruling.

“I didn’t expect that this could be possible in modern Russia, where the constitution guarantees freedom of religious practice,” Yaroslav Sivulsky said.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses group was founded in the United States in the 19th century.

They take most of the Bible literally and refuse blood transfusions. They are not seen by traditional Christian Churches as a mainstream denomination.

During Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror in the Soviet Union it was outlawed and thousands of members were deported to Siberia. Other Christian groups were also persecuted.

As the Soviet Union collapsed, there was a revival of Christianity in Russia and the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses was lifted in 1991.

Gradually attitudes towards the movement hardened again and in 2004 it was accused of recruiting children and preventing believers from accepting medical assistance.

Human rights group Sova has argued that an “official repressive campaign” has been conducted against the movement for years and many of their members have been physically attacked.

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15 comments

  1. They should be banned worlwide, that religion is a cult.

    (0)(2)
  2. Johnny Fartypants

    Fartypants says: all religions are a crock of poop. Stop worshiping your imaginary thousands of years old wankers, come together and worship the almighty FARTYPANTS!

    (0)(5)
  3. Peet Neenval is one who came to my house and was spewing nuff shit to my son. I had to run his ass off my property.
    I will only listen to them and go to their church if they first come to my church. Apart from that, they can kiss my button.

    (8)(2)
  4. Church, politics and sports same old thing.Russia.

    (1)(0)
  5. Sorry to dissppoint some people but Jehova 's witnesses is not accepted officially as Christian religion nor they can be part of amy Ecumenical cirles
    Due to the fact that they modified the Bible.
    Similar situation like the Mormons.

    (5)(2)
  6. P.S. Readers, Jehovah is not GOD. It is not even a Hebrew word. How did it find its way to the Bible? It was cooked up in the 13/14 th centuries in the UK and one of the 16 idiots doing the translation for James1 of England put it there.

    (3)(7)
  7. The ban would be most effective in USA, the home of their HQ. For a religious sect they are too much into the control thing. JWs have a massive well-equipped building in New York, well fitted with computers equally sophisticated as those US Govt surveillance organizations. How could you be trusting in GOD and keeping your nose so deep into peep?. Russia is not alone on the ban, the French has a constructive ban on them - they can't stand them!!

    (2)(4)
  8. Pray for Russia for the Spirit of the Almighty to fall on it's citizens, and that a mighty man be raised
    up among them, doing miracles unheard of in Russia, and not only in Russia, but in many parts of
    the World which is still blinded by our common enemy. Where the Spirit of God is there is liberty.
    St. Lucia too needs a very heavy dose of the love of God, To chase out the Spell of violence brought on
    by some misguided smart asses, placing evil spells Island-wide during the last general Elections, spirits
    do not die; the only way to defeat them is by Prayer and the Holy Spirit of God. Praise God in the Spirit.

    (2)(0)
    • Sod that! The Russians are cool. They own one-fifth of the real estate on the planet. Leave them be. Stick your prayers. Keep them for yourself.

      (4)(1)
  9. I don't support the ban, but that religion does destroy familes as a result of shunning and through their publications and utterances they do, incite hatred for other religions.

    (14)(4)
    • I have always been uncomfortable with some of the doctrines they teach, and the way they mock other denominations who worship the SAME Jehovah. Truth be told, this is a cult. The shunning practice is pathetic and unbiblical. Jesus Christ NEVER taught us to shun our fellow human beings. To disfellowship from a congregation is one thing, but to have nothing to do with an individual is quite another. This is akin to hatred.

      (12)(2)
      • People should research how ex JWs are treated by their JW family. And then people will understand why many of the ex JWs contemplate and commit suicide worldwide.
        They are responsible for destroying families. People have gone years without talking to their family members, people have not seen their grandchildren or do not attend their weddings.
        They are not encouraged to tell them hello or send an email. All of this for "crimes' such as fornication, speaking against the religion etc.

        JWs try to use the bible which btw does not use the word disfellowship to justify their actions of shunning the individual because the individual might corrupt the rest.

        We need them to answer why they were hiding the sex crimes from the authorities.
        Why did they have to pay millions in settlements to the victims. But they on the backs of other religions

        (5)(1)
  10. Let your will be done oh Father. Your Name be sanctified. Your Kingdom come. Your Will be done on Earth as is Heaven.

    (3)(3)
    • Yea, if you are aJW, you lot want your god, that hovah fella, to burn earth to ashes first, then send someone to be king of things, rising like a phoenix over the ashes of such burning. Poppycock,!! Never happen!!

      (2)(2)
    • .... and if you wanted a pseudonym which smacks of that Italian philosopher, upon whom Western Hemisphere politics is based, the name is, "Machiavelli". His most celebrated catchphrase is, "Divide and rule!". But don't let that stop you. Knock yourself out.

      (2)(2)

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