Just days after the US released a report condemning the lack of religious freedom in Russia, Russian lawmakers have officially moved on Thursday to outlaw Jehovah’s Witness activity in the country.
“The Russian Ministry of Justice has included the Jehovah’s Witnesses Managerial Center in Russia and its 395 local religious organizations in the list of public associations, religious organizations and other non-profit organizations, with regard to which a decision that took legal force was made to dissolve it or ban its activity on the basis of the Federal Law on Counteracting Extremist Activity,” the ministry said, according to the state-run Tass News agency.
Jehovah’s Witnesses’ addition to the list stems from an April court ruling in which a Russian judge found them to be an “extremist organization.”
“Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization that supports offbeat views on the essence of the Christian faith and provides special interpretations of many commonly accepted notions,” Tass reported.
A State Department report released this week cited the borderline barbaric efforts by Russian government officials to suppress religious freedom, stating their “law enforcement” could be mistaken for citizen harassment.
“In various cities across the country authorities threatened to revoke the status of registered minority religious organizations and dissolved or disbanded a number of minority religious associations, in particular, Jehovah’s Witnesses communities, often on grounds they were conducting extremist activity,” the reports reads. “There were physical assaults on Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals, Muslims, and Jews, as well as other attacks on individuals, which may have been based on both their ethnicity and religion.”
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