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Russia: The first step—Jehovah’s Witnesses banned!

Russia: The first step—Jehovah’s Witnesses banned!

As often stated on this blog, sooner or later Western nations will have to review the laws and notions of freedom of religion. Russia has moved to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses citing it as an “extremist group.” Once the noise from civil libertarian groups fades away for another cause, using the basis of “extremist group” surely fits the mould of Islam in perfect form? Who, shall therefore separate the terms of religious ideology from political ideology. Russia claims the Jehovah’s Witnesses publication breaks the law with, “incitement of religious discord.” What an inditement they will have against the Quran, Islam’s essential guide to Muslim life? Many passages in the Quran violate Australian criminal law. The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Quran (8:67)“It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…

Source: Independent

Russia bans Jehovah’s Witnesses after supreme court rules Christian sect ‘extremists’

Russia has banned Jehovah’s Witnesses after the Supreme Court ruled the Christian sect to be an “extremist” group.

“The Supreme Court has ruled to sustain the claim of Russia’s ministry of justice and deem the ‘Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia’ organisation extremist, eliminate it and ban its activity in Russia,” said judge Yuri Ivanenko.

“The property of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation is to be confiscated to the state revenue.”

A lawyer for the justice ministry, Svetlana Borisova, told the court adherents “pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security”.

Judges ordered the closure of the group’s Russian headquarters and 395 local chapters, as well as the seizure of its property.

Lawyers for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said they would appeal the court’s decision, which has not yet come into effect, and could take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We will do everything possible,” Sergei Cherepanov, a Jehovah’s Witnesses representative, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

In 2010, judges in Strasbourg found a previous ruling by a Russian court to ban the organisation unlawful.

The ministry of justice had previously applied for an order to shut down its national headquarters near St Petersburg, state media reported.

Its administrative centre, which has 175,000 members, had previously been suspended in March over alleged “extremist activity”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are known for door-to-door preaching and handing out literature, reject some of mainstream Christianity’s core beliefs and have more than 8.3 million members around the world.

The US-based group has generated controversy for stances including its rejection of blood transfusions and opposition to military service, facing court proceedings in several countries.

Representatives said hundreds of people gathered at the Russian Supreme Court to hear the six-day case, which they said was the culmination of a decade of “aggressive actions”.

David A Semonian, a spokesman at the sect’s world headquarters in New York, said the ministry of justice had “no basis” for its claims.

He said the ban would put members under threat of criminal prosecution even for praying together in a “violation of our basic human rights”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses first registered as a religious group in Russia in 1991 and registered again in 1999, but have been targeted repeatedly by authorities in a wide-ranging crackdown on religious freedom.

Russia changed its legal definition of extremism in 2006, removing requirements for violence or hatred but stating the “incitement of….religious discord” as criteria, leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses with the same legal status as Isis or Nazis.

The group’s international website was blocked in Russia two years ago over alleged extremism, with the group’s Bibles banned the following year, while a local chairman was jailed for two years on charges of possessing “extremist literature” in 2010.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was among the international bodies condemning a “state sponsored campaign of harassment and mistreatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses” it said dated back to the 1990s in Russia.

It listed police searches, assaults, arson attacks, vandalism, seizures and raids on worship, as well as the arrest of several members and criminal investigations.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Pensioner Pete 21/04/2017, 6:59 am

    Actually, banning all religion would be a good thing overall, after all, religion is nothing more than a means to control the masses by the few using the populations fears of the unknown. Those who flock to religion clearly do not have adequate reasoning skills to work out that all the so called ‘good’ books were written by men for the purpose and intent to execute power over others.

    • Bushwanker 21/04/2017, 7:43 am

      So, you are prepared to have the state ban religious thought? Where does it end?
      A very slippery slope indeed.
      I would fully support the state taking away tax exempt status from religions.

      • Joe Blogs 21/04/2017, 9:39 am

        Agree, Bushy. Tax religions – and unions – by all means, except for their contributions to hospitals and other bona fide causes whose benefits are available to all Australians.

      • Bwana Neusi 21/04/2017, 11:55 am

        St John of God hospitals? Pensioner Pete your wish for a Marxist State is strong with you. However we will need to get through the current state of anarchy first.

    • Lorraine 21/04/2017, 9:13 am

      The good book you say ,what of the Bible. My years as a church goer ,no fears and I was not lead by the nose and at no time did I feel pressure that someone had power over me……What I will say when I am down or need to share Prayer helps me and many others

      • Albert 21/04/2017, 9:21 am

        There are many who would agree with your sentiments, Lorraine.

      • Joe Blogs 21/04/2017, 9:42 am

        Agree, Lorraine, Albert.

    • Coolcruiser 21/04/2017, 12:14 pm

      So you are elevating yourself over those who are religious? Wow how pompous. You know what the problem is with pompous people is? You can’t reason with them because pompous people think they know it all. However such people are always wrong. Because once a person thinks they know it all, the reality is they know very little. Open your eyes and realize not everybody in the world wants to be like you, and that maybe your looking at the world wrong…of course that would involve not being pompous.

    • Pensioner Pete 21/04/2017, 12:29 pm

      Nice to see so many with strong opinions, which makes for a good debate. However, I stand by my opinion and expand it thus; religion is a blight upon humanity as has been proven over the centuries since religion was invented by those who sought control over the masses. Frankly, I do well without relying on a sookie blanket when things get a rough.

      • Joe Blogs 21/04/2017, 12:53 pm

        So you think “… sookie blanket …” “… makes for good debate.”

        You’re a bit precious about being contradicted, aren’t you? “… sookie blanket …” reads like a “dummy spit.” But, debate on.

    • Spinbuster 21/04/2017, 12:41 pm

      Don’t think it is going to happen Pete.
      If you banned religion you would have to ban psychics, clairvoyants, devil worshippers, pagan worshippers, spoon benders, astrologers and palm readers as well.
      Besides, where would we be with the Scientologists and their thetans?

      • Joe Blogs 21/04/2017, 12:58 pm

        And if religion were banned, what would the heathens, heretics, apostates, etc, have to bitch about? Bet they’d find something, because it’s in their nature.

      • Pensioner Pete 21/04/2017, 1:10 pm

        I reckon where we would be; is well advanced from where we are currently, if all the mob to which you refer were banned along with all religions. Perhaps ‘we’ could focus upon solid provable science to advance humanity, rather than relying on all the hocus pocus prevailing at the moment.

      • Spinbuster 21/04/2017, 1:33 pm

        Thank you for kind, well researched, even handed and non sanctimonious response JB.

      • Joe Blogs 21/04/2017, 2:04 pm

        Could be, PP, but it’s not an ideal world – exoterically or esoterically. Blogs rejected organised religions half a century ago, but remains a non-aligned pantheist who adopted some fundamental Christian values as a moral guide.

        Thanks, Buster! You’re a splendid judge of character.

  • Moree 21/04/2017, 7:02 am

    The Joey’s drive you nuts with their door-knocking. But calling them an extremist organisation sounds nuts.
    This is more likely to do with their conscientious objection and resistance to nasho wherever they are.
    Another thing that gets up peoples noses is their refusal to salute the national flag. I would not be surprised if they fail to stand for the anthem.
    You may be right – this is a crackdown on the innocuous and largely harmless Joeys to pave the way for banning the Qur’an and avoid all the Islamaphobe crap.

    • Albert 21/04/2017, 9:16 am

      Moree, I would bet London to a Brick on that the Ruskies don’t move on Islamics in the same fashion.

    • Lorraine 21/04/2017, 9:17 am

      Yes the banning of Islam ,it is a cult and evil cult not a religion,if Putin banns that .good

      • Botswana O'Hooligan 21/04/2017, 10:46 am

        I fully support taxing all unions, churches, and charitable organisations just as the rest of us are taxed because many of these organisations are run basically for the benefit of the people at the top. Remember the bloke from World Vision shooting thru with some millions a few years back? Many of these outfits, in fact the only one I know who publishes a set of accounts are the salvo’s so God alone knows what tricks the others get up to. Religion in Russia, apart from their own Orthodox religion was gathering pace, at least in Siberia when we left there 17 years ago but it was mainly Methodist (Presbyterian if you can spell) and the congregations seemed to be mainly Koreans, descendants of the remnants of the slave labour Japan introduced during WW2. The “Readers Digest” was also gaining a toe hold and it took me some time to explain to my wife that their “a huge free prize is coming your way or you are nearly a contender to win a million dollars or whatever’ was pure and utter bullshit. Russians are fairly pragmatic about moslems for roughly 17% of the population are moslem, and not long back the FSB (former KGB) reportedly found a small device in a mosque that may have been suspected to be an explosive and therefore probably too dangerous to remove safely. They blew it up in situ along with the whole mosque just to be sure. The lesson was of course aimed at the local moslem population, and one of -take it easy folks- in line with the old British Gunboat Diplomacy. It is pretty hard to believe in God when you have seen some of the stuff that goes on in the unknown corners of this depraved world and the perpetrators aren’t smitten on the bloody spot, but if religion floats yr boat then so be it.

    • Spinbuster 21/04/2017, 12:57 pm

      I don’t mind a visit from the Joeys if I have spare time.
      On two occasions now the JH preacher could not refer me to the biblical reference which forbade blood donation… although they lived their lives by the doctrine.

      Have known quite a few practising catholics who could not provide the principal reference for the ten commandments.
      One told me that sort of knowledge was the priests business. …”We just do what we are told.”

      I pointed out to the same person, priest child molestation from a publication, “Hypocrites”, (evidence and statistics on child sexual abuse amongst church clergy, 1990 – 2000).
      I was advised that the church would take care of it.
      No further interest was exhibited.

    • Joe Blogs 21/04/2017, 1:05 pm

      Moree, someone very close to Blogs lived near a Mormon facility. Every time a new boat-load of them arrived, they’d be knocking on the door. He ended up getting a front door mat with “PISS OFF” written on it. Worked a treat.

      • Spinbuster 21/04/2017, 1:44 pm

        No God but my God ..mm …now where have I heard that before?

        On occasion when the Joeys come, I ask them, before we boot up the conversation…
        “Now guys if we are going to have an honest conversation let me ask if you have an open mind also?”
        “Yes of course we have an open mind!”
        “Good .. well before we get started , can you please tell me what argument or fact I would have to present to you to convince you that there is no God?”

        The answer is always, with a dropped jaw….”Nothing you say can convince me that there is no God?”
        After I advise them that they in violation of one the commandments for lying they almost always drive off ..generally in a huff and without cordial goodbye….even though they came to me!!


        Now that is what I call a bunch of paranoid superstitious hypocrites!

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