Tags: russia | jehovahs witnesses | extremist

Russia Jehovah's Witnesses Could Be Labeled Extremist, Worship Banned

Russia Jehovah's Witnesses Could Be Labeled Extremist, Worship Banned

A woman holds books of prayer as she attends a Jehovah's Witnesses assembly gathering 30,000 believers on July 23, 2011 in Villepinte, Paris. (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 05 April 2017 05:45 AM

Russia's Supreme Court may declare Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization at a hearing Wednesday, which means the Jehovah's Witnesses headquarters would be seized and their organized worship banned in the country.

"If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the authorities, it will be the first such ruling by a court declaring a registered centralized religious organization to be 'extremist,'" the UN human rights’ high commissioner’s office said in a statement, Time reported.

David Semonian, an international spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses, said the decision is troublesome the religious group.

“They would basically be prosecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses as criminals,” Semonian said, according to Time magazine. “Anyone who would actually would have our publications could be criminalized. It is of great concern.”

According to Newsweek, Thomas J. Reese, chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, said, "The Russian government’s latest actions appear designed to eliminate the legal existence of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia,"

“USCIRF calls on the Russian government to stop its harassment of this peaceful religious group,” Reese added. “The treatment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses reflects the Russian government’s tendency to view all independent religious activity as a threat to its control and the country’s political stability.”

The Russian branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses argued that "extremism is profoundly alien to the Bible-based beliefs and morality" of members of their religion, Newsweek reported.

“Millions of believers around the world consider the action of the Ministry of a big mistake,” the group continued. “If the claim is satisfied, it would entail catastrophic consequences for the freedom of religion in Russia.”

Many on Twitter expressed their disdain for the potential ban.

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Russia's Supreme Court may declare Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization at a hearing Wednesday, which means the Jehovah's Witnesses headquarters would be seized and their organized worship banned in the country.
russia, jehovahs witnesses, extremist
395
2017-45-05
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 05:45 AM
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