Russia Bans Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crackdown on Religion
Amanda CasanovaReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2017 Apr 24
The Supreme Court in Russia has banned the Jehovah’s Witness organization and the Justice Ministry has requested the group be labeled “extremist” and that the group be dissolved.
Previously in Russia, the organization was subject to bans and arrests, but the new ruling means that the headquarters and chapters of the group will become state property.
According to a report from Reuters, Justice Ministry attorney Svetlana Borisova said the Jehovah’s Witnesses “pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security.”
In a statement released from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the organization says that’s not the case.
The group says the Russian Justice Ministry didn’t specify a legal basis for the ban, which seems to be part of the country’s anti-extremism law. The law says crimes that are “extremist” are those “motivated by prejudice” or “ideological, political, racial, national or religious enmity, as well as hatred or enmity towards a social group.”
Said Yaroslav Sivulsky in an interview with NPR in 2016: "The main problem that we face now is misuse of the anti-extremism law. In the whole world, Jehovah's Witnesses are known as peaceful, obedient, respectful citizens. We respect government, and we are politically totally neutral.”
The Jehovah’s Witness organization is planning to appeal the ruling.
They do not recognize Christmas, birthdays, Easter or national holidays. They also do not serve in the military and discourage voting. Finally, they also reject the medical use of blood transfusions.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: April 24, 2017