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Sergey Ivanenko is a well-known Russian religious expert and doctor of philosophical sciences. He has studied religion professionally for more than 35 years. He compiled the first index in the country on religious organizations of the Russian Federation and has written 16 books and more than 140 articles on problems of religious studies. His work stands out as accurate, clear, and understandable.
Here are some extracts from his new book "Ordinary Anti Cultism"


Ordinary Anti-cultism book
Full book available here: 
http://books.google.co.in/books?id=Ij8pFWoiypkC&printsec=frontcover&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

One of the Primary Targets of Anti-cultists—Pentecostals

The Evangelical Christian religion (Pentecostals) is one of the main movements in modern Protestantism. The New Testament states that at the time of Pentecost, the holy spirit descended upon the apostles, “and they all became filled with holy spirit and started to speak with different tongues.” (Acts 2:4) Pentecostals practice “speaking in tongues” during prayer services. This is their foremost distinction from other movements of Protestantism.

Pentecostals are divided into different denominations. Considering that from a religious scholarly point of view there are no major distinctions between Pentecostals and “neo-Pentecostals,” then anti-cultists are waging war against one of the largest and fastest growing movements of modern Protestantism.

Bishop Sergey Ryakhovskiy is one of the leaders of Russian Pentecostals and chairman of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians (approximately 1,000 unregistered religious groups and more than 1,350 communities registered by the Federal Registration Agency, which makes up around 6 percent of all the registered religious organizations in the Russian Federation). He is the object of constant, malicious, and personal criticism from A. Dvorkin and other anti-cultists.

Sergey Ryakhovskiy is a member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, the co-chairman of the Advisory Board of Protestant Church Leaders in Russia, and a member of the Council on Interaction With Religious Associations. He has state and departmental awards, including “The Order for Merit to the Fatherland” of second degree, the medal, “In Commemoration of the 850th Anniversary of Moscow,” and the medal, “In Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.”[1]

Like the majority of Christian Pentecostals, and, for that matter, Russian Protestants in general, Bishop Sergey Ryakhovskiy is patriotic and takes a balanced and conservative position on moral issues, supporting traditional family values. Hysterical and even manic attacks on Sergey Ryakhovskiy by the St. Irenaeus of Lyon Center for Religious Studies are due to the personal hatred of anti-cultists and aggressive rejection of Pentecostals.

An achievement of the anti-cultists in their fight with Pentecostals was the decision to dissolve one of the largest communities of over 1,000 members––the local religious organization the Church of Evangelical Christians (Pentecostals) “Blagodat” of the city of Khabarovsk—and ban its activity in the Khabarovsk Territory, rendered by the Khabarovsk Territorial Court on 27 April 2011 regarding the claim of the Prosecutor for the Khabarovsk Territory. The most significant statement in the decision was the assertion that the characteristics of the religious practice of Pentecostals, including “speaking in tongues,” harm the health of citizens. If this decision entered into legal force, it could be used against all Christian Pentecostals.

The “Blagodat” Church appealed the decision of the Khabarovsk Territorial Court to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, which declared it as unlawful on 5 July 2011 and sent the case to the Khabarovsk Territorial Court for retrial.

The retrial took place from 15–19 December 2011 in the Khabarovsk Territorial Court. The court denied the prosecutor’s claim. However, the prosecutor’s office appealed this decision. Moreover, the Khabarovsk Territorial Prosecutor’s Office continues to investigate the criminal case against the “Blagodat” Church as an organization that harms the mental health of citizens.

According to the Guild of Experts on Religion and Law (president, Roman Lunkin; chairperson; Inna Zagrebina), the main attacks against Pentecostals are taking place in the Far East.[2]

Unfortunately, violations of the rights of Christian Pentecostals have occurred in Moscow, as well as in other regions.[3] Thus, on 6 September 2012 a building of the Church of the Holy Trinity, located on Nikolaya Starostina Street, in Novokosino, Moscow, was ransacked and destroyed. The church belonged to the community of the Russian Church of Evangelical Christians (Pentecostals).
For many years believers have tried to legalize the right to a church building in the East Prefecture of the City of Moscow. However, their efforts were not successful. On 17 May 2012 a judicial decision was rendered to remove temporary structures belonging to the community. The believers’ requests to allocate a land plot for the construction of a new church building were not considered by the prefecture.

Almost immediately after midnight on 6 September, persons who identified themselves as the police broke into the church, cut all lines of communication and, having seized the cell phone of the girl on duty at the church, detained her at the police station for several hours. During this time all valuables were stolen from the Church of the Holy Trinity, including religious books and chalices for the Eucharist. Objects sacred to the believers and religious books were desecrated. All supporting buildings on the territory of the Church of the Holy Trinity were barbarically ransacked. Safes were opened. An automobile was broken into and a generator, an audio control console, musical instruments, and other valuables were stolen.

Upon arriving, Pastor V. N. Romankov could not enter the premises of the church. The minister was insulted by unknown persons at the site of the ransacked church building. Church members were subjected to physical violence from people identifying themselves as the “people’s guard.” Police officers present at the time ignored the believers’ requests for protection from insults and violence.
Such an event is an act of vandalism and barbarism. What happened was a flagrant insult to the religious feelings of the believers.

The history of Pentecostals in the U.S.S.R. shows that this religious movement of Protestantism cannot be broken even by the harshest persecution. In 1929, the activity of the Evangelical Christian religion (Pentecostals) was banned in the Soviet Union. From 1929 to 1941, Pentecostals received 20–25 year sentences in labor camps, and at times were sentenced to be shot.

In 1945, Pentecostals were offered registration as part of the National Council of Evangelical Christian-Baptists; they were not allowed to create their own religious center. They could receive registration on the condition that they renounced their evangelical, missionary, and charitable activities, as well as “speaking in tongues.” Therefore, the majority of Pentecostal communities refused registration and continued their activity underground.

The end of the 1950’s and the beginning of the 1960’s marked the start of systematic persecution of Pentecostals in the U.S.S.R. A. I. Solzhenitsyn gives a detailed account of this in his book Arkhipelag GULAG [The GULAG Archipelago]. During that period many leaders of the communities and ordinary church members received long prison sentences. The mass media attempted in every way to discredit the activity of Pentecostals, attributing to them monstrous crimes.

Starting from 1968, some Pentecostal communities received approval for state registration, however most Pentecostal churches remained without registration until the start of the 1990’s.
In the U.S.S.R., the activity of unregistered religious communities was banned and prosecuted as a crime. Ordinary members of unregistered communities were constantly persecuted, usually by the imposition of fines, for their participation in prayer meetings. There were several instances where private homes used by Pentecostals for joint prayer were confiscated or even demolished.

During court proceedings, various criminal charges were leveled against directors of unregistered communities of Pentecostals, including charges under Article 190 or Article 70 of the Criminal Code, that is, slander against the Soviet system and anti-Soviet propaganda. The directors of the Pentecostals were accused of harming the believers’ health with fanatical rituals.

Soviet propaganda used two main methods to discredit Pentecostals. They were accused of extreme fanaticism, even of human sacrifice. The story also spread that religion was just a cover for their true mercenary motives—they “served the interests of world imperialism” for dollars.

After the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic Law on Freedom of Religion dated 25 October 1990 entered into force, unregistered communities of Pentecostals began to legalize their activity.

The Decree by the President of the Russian Federation on Measures to Exonerate Religious Ministers and Believers Victimized by Groundless Repression dated 14 March 1996 No. 378 condemned the “many years of terror unleashed by the Bolshevist Soviet Party regime against religious ministers and believers of all denominations.” All previously convicted Pentecostals were exonerated.

Anti-cultist myths used against Pentecostals in recent years essentially replicate the stereotypes of Soviet anti-religious propaganda and promote divisions in society on the basis of religion.

The strengthening of the influence of Protestantism, includingthat of Pentecostals, is a normal processin modern Russia. Russian Protestants are an integral part of the developing middle class. They are the ones most active and effective in social work: they help drug addicts and alcoholics return to a normal life, aid children in difficult situations—including adopting orphans. Protestants obey the law, pay taxes, engage in business, and follow Christian moral principles. They are conscientious workers. They do not drink or smoke.

A noteworthy event was the election on 18 March 2012 of a Protestant mayor in the city of Tolyatti. The majority of voters (in the second round—about 57 percent) cast their ballot for Sergey Igorevich Andreyev, who did not hide his affiliation with Protestantism, despite the “anti-sect” campaign launched by his opponents.

It is high time for decisive measures to be taken to normalize relations between the State and Protestants, including organizing regular meetings of the leaders of the country with the Advisory Committee of the Leaders of the Protestant Church in Russia.

Jehovah’s Witnesses—A Priority in the “Fight Against Extremism”

Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the later movements in Protestantism, appearing in the United States in 1870. They first appeared in Russia at the end of the 19th century; in Finland they received official recognition in 1913, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire.

Jehovah’s Witnesses experienced severe repression in the U.S.S.R. Leaders in the communities and active preachers were sentenced to long prison terms. Believers and members of their families were deported to Siberia.

For example, in 1949 all Jehovah’s Witnesses who were discovered by the authorities in Moldova and who refused to renounce their faith were deported to Siberia and the Far East. In 1951, all Jehovah’s Witnesses known to the authorities in Western Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia who maintained integrity to their beliefs were deported to Siberia (over 8,500 persons).
In 1965, Jehovah’s Witnesses were released from exile in Siberia; however their religious communities in the U.S.S.R. were not permitted to register. Repression of the believers continued until the beginning of 1991.

Jehovah’s Witnesses received official recognition in Russia on 27 March 1991. In accordance with the Federal Law on Exoneration of Victims of Political Repression dated 18 October 1991 No 1761-1 and the Decree by the President of the Russian Federation on Measures to Exonerate Religious Ministers and Believers Victimized by Groundless Repression dated 14 March 1996 No. 378, all Jehovah’s Witnesses persecuted under the Soviet regime were exonerated and declared victims of political repression.

Accusations of extremism were brought against Jehovah’s Witnesses and their religious literature starting in 2009. In the last few years, on their official website “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia” (http://www.jw-russia.org/ ), there is a steady stream of news releases and documents regarding new criminal and civil cases, court proceedings, searches, and detainments of believers. Certain publications have been declared extremist materials.

A person unfamiliar with the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses may wonder if they are a dangerous terrorist organization, posing no less a threat than al-Qaeda.

As a religious studies expert, having defended in 2002 my doctoral dissertation on the evolution and activity of the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and having continued to acquaint myself with their publications, I can affirm that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not take up arms and that they reject violence. There is no extremism in their teachings, but there is the firm conviction that their religion is the only true one.

Obviously, if you declare extremist religious publications in which a religious organization claims their religion is the true one and other religions have strayed from the truth, then almost all religious literature, including the holy writings of world religions, would be declared extremist.

There is something else that is obvious. If neither Hitler nor Stalin could destroy the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, then even more so modern Russian anti-cultists cannot. The history of Jehovah’s Witnesses irrefutably proves that they cannot be intimidated by false accusations of extremism, fines, or criminal cases.

I believe that the centralized religious organization that numbers around 200,000 members in Russia merits more objective and benevolent treatment by the state. I recommend that persons responsible for decisions in the field of politics relating to religious associations personally visit the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia located in Saint Petersburg. See the exhibit dedicated to the history of the organization. Speak with the workers there, and you will see they are not extremists but law-abiding persons convinced that their religion is the true religion. Meet with the administration of Jehovah’s Witnesses and try to reach an agreement on how to avoid conflicts and settle differences.

There is something else that is obvious. If neither Hitler nor Stalin could destroy the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, then even more so modern Russian anti-cultists cannot. The history of Jehovah’s Witnesses irrefutably proves that they cannot be intimidated by false accusations of extremism, fines, or criminal cases.

I believe that the centralized religious organization that numbers around 200,000 members in Russia merits more objective and benevolent treatment by the state. I recommend that persons responsible for decisions in the field of politics relating to religious associations personally visit the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia located in Saint Petersburg. See the exhibit dedicated to the history of the organization. Speak with the workers there, and you will see they are not extremists but law-abiding persons convinced that their religion is the true religion. Meet with the administration of Jehovah’s Witnesses and try to reach an agreement on how to avoid conflicts and settle differences.
 
Is There Any Extremism in The Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard's Works?

The Church of Scientology is one of the few religious organizations, that don't deny the verity of other religions. The idea of God as of the urge of Man towards existence in the form of infinity enables Scientology to overcome contradictions between different conceptions of Superior Reality, characteristic of religious thought.

In Scientology they suppose, that, along with his spiritual growth, every man comes to his own, growing more profound, comprehension of God, and also to his communication with Supreme Being. Moreover, a Scientology Church member may be at the same time a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hebrew or may have other religious convictions. If we take the statistics all over the world, then among Scientologists, according to their own data, besides 24% of Scientology Church members, having no other religious convictions besides dedication to Scientology, 26% are Catholics, 27% are Protestants, 5% are Hebrews, 1% are the followers of Buddhism or Hinduism.

Scientologists declare proudly, that this religion, having emerged in 1954, is the most fast-growing religious organization in the world. That's why the lack of claims on the verity of their religion alone doesn't save the Church of Scientology from extremism charges. The true reason of aggressive attacks of anti-cultists, aimed at the Church of Scientology, is the dynamic growth in number of followers of Scientology all over the World, including Russia as well.

According to A. Dvorkin's convictions, any materials by L. Ron Hubbard are extremist and dangerous; if one achieves the prohibition of Hubbard's works, then the activity of the Church of Scientology will become impossible without them.

Anti-cultists are not daunted by the fact, that, in accordance with the reckoning available, over ten thousand of published works, describing the doctrine and technology of Scientology, including dozens of books, thousands of articles and over 3 thousand of recorded lectures, belong to L. Ron Hubbard. That's why it's not so easy to declare them extremist. Besides, Hubbard is known as a fiction writer. Can even literary works by Hubbard, including his fiction novels, really be extremist too, according to anti-cultists' conviction?

Of late years in Russia constantly, but with various results, the trials are going about admission of one or another of Hubbard's works as extremist materials.

So, in Surgut (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area) on March 26, 2010 the city court made a decision to declare 29 works by Ron Hubbard ''extremist''. On October 12, 2010 the court of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area rescinded the decision of Surgut city court of March 26, 2010, sent the case for retrial to the same first instance court with differently constituted bench. On December 9, 2010 Surgut city court rejected the claim of the public prosecutor's office for declaration of 29 works by Ron Hubbard ''extremist''. Scientologists pushed the removing of those 29 texts out of the Federal list of extremist matters.

In Novy Urengoy (Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area of Tyumen Region), in 2011 the court has non-suited the claim of the public prosecutor's office for declaration of Hubbard's biography the extremist matter.

On August 24, 2011 the court of Naberezhnye Chelny (Republic of Tatarstan) declared 13 works, 3 thousand pages of printed text in size, and 63 hours of recorded lectures extremist matters. No one of Scientologists has been informed about the trial, and from the court record it became known, that the proceeding, in the course of which the matters were considered by the prosecutor and the judge, took only twenty-five minutes. Probably, such efficiency is worthy entering in The Guinness Book of Records – the yearbook of world records, including the most funny and extravagant achievements.
On March 19, 2012 the Supreme Court of Republic of Tatarstan reversed the judgment of the city court of Naberezhnye Chelny, according to which 13 works by Ron Hubbard were declared extremist.
Just adjudications, delivered in the number of regions, are remarkable: they indicate, that the triumph of legality and common sense in the processes for declaration of pious literature extremist matters is possible.

Otherwise, passing of unfair judgments is also going on. For example, on June 29, 2011 the city court of Schelkovo (Moscow Region), in accordance with the claim of city prosecutor, declared 9 books and 9 audio-lectures by Ron Hubbard extremist matters. On March 20, 2012 Moscow regional court left without revision this decision of the city court of Shchelkovo. In connection with this judgment at law the books and audio-lectures by Ron Hubbard will be included in the Federal list of extremist matters and their dissemination on the territory of Russian Federation will be prohibited.
The city prosecutor of Schelkovo stated, that Hubbard's doctrine absolutely doesn't correspond to the mentality and lifestyle of Russian citizens, and the study programs, publications, audio and video editions on Scientology ''undermine traditional spiritual basics of life on the territory of Russian Federation''.

From the religious expert's point of view, the doctrine, which absolutely doesn't correspond to the mentality and lifestyle of Russian citizens, has no chance to acquire any followers on the territory of Russia. All the more, it can't constitute any real danger for ''traditional spiritual basics''.

So, what did the city court of Schelkovo find in the works by Hubbard, that is extremist? In accordance with the conclusions of the complex psycholinguistic research, on which the court decision was based, the books and booklets by Hubbard “are aimed at the formation of isolated social group, which is the Church of Scientology, the members of which are being trained in perfect functioning. This literature contains appeals to execution of extremist activity, the information in these materials is aimed at the destruction of social groups, different from the Church of Scientology''.

One may agree that the members of the Church of Scientology are being trained in perfect functioning. In fact, the most serious consideration is given by Scientologists to the staff training. The other statements are false.

Neither the Church of Scientology nor the community of Scientologists has indications of “isolated social group”. The Church of Scientology is open for visitors; people of miscellaneous social, professional and ethnic belonging may be and become its members. A man “from the street” may come to the Church of Scientology and take part in a divine service, in “Life Improvement Courses” and other programs.

The Church of Scientology is interested in the most widespread dissemination of its ideas, Scientologists least of all resemble “isolated group”. They appreciate communication very much and try to take advantage of any chance to get into communication with miscellaneous people, with social, professional and other groups.

As of the expert's statement, as if Hubbard's works are aimed at the destruction of social groups, different from the Church of Scientology, it runs counter to the real contents of Hubbard's works and the doctrine of Scientology. The essence of Scientology is in the doctrine, that it has the tools (practical methods), capable to ensure spiritual growth of personality, to consolidate social groups, to make their activity really effective, and also to resolve global problems, facing Mankind.

How thoroughly the expert's conclusions are backed with arguments and facts?

According to the assessment of the prominent lawyer Galina Krylova, “public prosecutor's office ordered and got the research of the four books (about 3500 pages) to the sector of psycholinguistics of the Institute of linguistics of Russian Academy of Science. In this resolution on 14 pages in a large type the “research” occupied only 3 pages; the rest – quotations from the law, the citation and other formalities. Then, since the prosecutor claimed to declare “extremist” nine books and nine audio-lectures (about 6000 pages and 10 hours of listening), he addressed the same expert again. The new resolution of the chief of the sector, Professor E.F. Tarasov literally duplicated the previous one, except for the extension of the list if objects. And it fitted into 14 pages as well. Small rain lays great dust... And now imagine the research of over 6000 pages, written on 3 pages. Try just to quote one extract out of each title (9 books and 9 audio-lectures) to reason the conclusions by E.F. Tarasov, that every book and lecture he examined “instigates hatred and hostility,... humiliates the self-respect of personality or group according to their sex, race, nationality, language, birth, relation to religion, and also their belonging to a social group”... Of course, there were no such things in this resolution. But, if the expert draws conclusions like that, he must answer intelligibly such elementary questions. Keep in mind, I do not touch upon the methods and so forth. In any way, the compliance of expert must be somewhat limited'' (http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=news&id=87756).

A. Dvorkin welcomed the decisions of the city court of Schelkovo and of Moscow regional court, but expressed regret for the fact, that they can't interfere considerably the Scientologists' activity. He expressed firm conviction that Scientologists “will appeal against Moscow regional court decision and will sue to all instances up to European Court of Human Rights”. The Church of Scientology “will litigate till the end, – there is no alternative here. But, in spite of the further plans of the sect, the court decision is valid in law all over the territory of Russian Federation till it is repealed... One must be ready for the considerably serious extra-national pressure, which, in connection to this case, Russia will suffer,” – said the leading Russian sect-expert.

As Winston Churchill (1874—1965) would say about a man of such kind, “he comes into the truth at times, but then, as a rule, jumps up and cheerfully keeps going”. In this case, one may agree with A.Dvorkin, that court proceedings will continue and, finally, the decision about the declaration Hubbard's works extremist matters will be repealed. It is also right, that Scientologists won't be idle, but will keep on acting vigorously. Scientologists have already made complaints to the Supreme Court of Russian Federation and European Court of Human Rights against the decision of the city court of Schelkovo.


[1] In 2011 the Russian Council of Muftis awarded Sergey Ryakhovskiy with the medal, “For Spiritual Unification.”
[2] “The campaign to discredit Evangelical Christians is gaining momentum. It is not too late to stop the campaign.” (statement made on 21 July 2012 by the Guild of Experts on Religion and Law), http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=news&id=93996
[3] On 20 September 2012 in the village of Kulotino of Okulobskiy District of the Novgorod Region, based on a court decision in the administrative case, the bailiff service demolished the Pentecostal church, “Word of Life.” The administration of the Okulobskiy Municipal District acted as the exactor in the case.


Rédigé par EIFRF le Friday, May 17th 2013 | Comments (0)

Сергей Игоревич Иваненко – известный российский религиовед, доктор философских наук. Профессионально занимается изучением религий уже свыше 35 лет. Составитель первого в стране справочника религиозных организаций Российской Федерации, является автором 16 книг и более 140 статей по проблемам религиоведения. Его работы отличаются точностью и ясным, доступным изложением.
Вот выдержки из его книги "ОБЫКНОВЕННЫЙ АНТИКУЛЬТИЗМ"


ОБЫКНОВЕННЫЙ АНТИКУЛЬТИЗМ
Одна из главных мишеней антикультистов – пятидесятники
 
Христиане веры евангельской (пятидесятники) – это одно из основных направлений современного протестантизма. В Новом Завете говорится, что во время праздника Пятидесятницы на апостолов сошел Святой Дух и они «исполнились все Духа Святого и начали говорить на иных языках» (Деяния святых апостолов, 2:4). Пятидесятники практикуют «говорение на иных языках» во время молитвенных собраний. В этом их главное отличие от других направлений протестантизма.

Пятидесятники разделены на множество течений. Если учесть, что с религиоведческой точки зрения между пятидесятниками и «неопятидесятниками» нет никаких принципиальных различий, то антикультисты «объявляют войну» одному из наиболее многочисленных и быстро растущих направлений современного протестантизма.

Объект постоянных и злобных, в том числе личных нападок А. Дворкина и других антикультистов – епископ Сергей Васильевич Ряховский, один из лидеров российских христиан-пятидесятников, председатель Российского объединённого Союза христиан веры евангельской (насчитывающего около тысячи незарегистрированных религиозных групп и свыше 1350 зарегистрированных Федеральной регистрационной службой общин, что составляет около 6% от общего числа всех зарегистрированных религиозных организаций на территории Российской Федерации).

С.В. Ряховский является членом Общественной палаты Российской Федерации, сопредседателем Консультативного совета глав протестантских церквей России, членом Совета при Президенте России по взаимодействию с религиозными объединениями. Он имеет государственные и ведомственные награды, в том числе медаль ордена «За заслуги перед Отечеством» II степени, медали «В память 850-летия Москвы» и «В память 200-летия Минюста России»[[1]]url:#_ftn1 .

Как и большинство христиан-пятидесятников, да и в целом российских протестантов, епископ С.В. Ряховский является патриотом, занимает взвешенную, консервативную позицию в вопросах морали, отстаивая традиционные семейные ценности. Истеричные и даже маниакальные нападки на Сергея Ряховского, исходящие из «Центра религиоведческих исследований во имя священномученика Иринея Лионского», могут объясняться как личной ненавистью антикультистов, так и агрессивным неприятием христиан-пятидесятников.

Успехом антикультистов в борьбе с пятидесятниками было решение о ликвидации одной из крупных общин, насчитывающих свыше тысячи прихожан – местной религиозной организации Церковь христиан херы евангельской (пятидесятников) «Благодать» города Хабаровска и запрете её деятельности на территории края, вынесенное Хабаровским краевым судом 27 апреля 2011 года по иску прокурора Хабаровского края. Самым существенным в решении суда было утверждение, что специфические особенности религиозной практики пятидесятников, в том числе так называемое «говорение на иных языках», наносят ущерб здоровью граждан. Если бы это решение вступило в законную силу, его можно было бы использовать против всех христиан-пятидесятников.

Церковь «Благодать» обжаловала решение Хабаровского краевого суда в Верховном суде Российской Федерации, который 5 июля 2011 года признал его незаконным и отправил дело в Хабаровский краевой суд на повторное рассмотрение.

15-19 декабря 2011 года в Хабаровском краевом суде состоялся повторный процесс. Суд отклонил иск прокурора. Однако прокуратура обжаловала это решение. Кроме того, Хабаровская краевая прокуратура продолжает расследование уголовного дела против Церкви «Благодать», как организации, которая наносит вред психическому здоровью граждан.
По оценке Гильдии экспертов по религии и праву (президент – Роман Лункин, председатель правления – Инна Загребина), основные атаки против пятидесятников предпринимаются на Дальнем Востоке[[2]]url:#_ftn2 .

К сожалению, случаи нарушения прав христиан-пятидесятников имеют место в Москве, да и в других регионах[[3]]url:#_ftn3 . Так, 6 сентября 2012 года было разрушено и разграблено здание Церкви Святой Троицы на улице Николая Старостина, в Новокосино, в городе Москве. Церковь принадлежала общине Российской церкви христиан веры евангельской (пятидесятников).
В течение многих лет верующие пытались узаконить права на здание церкви в Восточной префектуре г. Москвы. Однако их попытки не увенчались успехом. 17 мая 2012 года было вынесено судебное решение о сносе временных построек, принадлежащих общине. Просьбы верующих о выделении земельного участка под строительство нового здания церкви префектурой остались без внимания.

Почти сразу после 12 часов ночи 6 сентября представившиеся полицейскими люди ворвались в здание церкви, оборвали все линии связи и, изъяв мобильный телефон, забрали дежурившую в церкви девушку на несколько часов в отделение полиции. За это время из здания Церкви Святой Троицы были украдены все ценные вещи, включая богослужебные книги и чаши для евхаристии. Святые для верующих предметы и церковные книги подверглись осквернению. Все подсобные помещения на территории Церкви Святой Троицы были варварски разграблены. Сейфы вскрыты. Была разбита автомашина, украден генератор, микшерный пульт с микрофонами, музыкальные инструменты и другие ценные вещи.

Прибывший на место пастор В.Н. Романков не смог попасть на территорию церкви. Священнослужитель подвергся оскорблениям со стороны неизвестных людей, орудовавших на месте разрушения церковного здания. Прихожане были подвергнуты физическому насилию со стороны людей, представившихся «народными дружинниками». Полицейские, присутствовавшие при этом, на просьбы верующих защитить их от оскорблений и насилия никак не прореагировали.

Подобный случай нельзя не квалифицировать как акт вандализма и варварства. Происшедшее является грубым оскорблением религиозных чувств верующих.

История пятидесятников в СССР свидетельствует о том, что это религиозное течение протестантизма невозможно сломить даже самыми жестокими преследованиями. В 1929 году деятельность Христиан Веры Евангельской (пятидесятников) в Советском Союзе была запрещена. В 1929-1941 годах пятидесятников осуждали на 20-25 лет лагерей, а нередко приговаривали к расстрелу.

В 1945 году пятидесятникам было предложено зарегистрироваться в составе Всесоюзного Совета Евангельских христиан-баптистов (ВСЕХБ), своего религиозного центра им не разрешили создать. Условием регистрации был отказ от проповеднической, миссионерской и благотворительной деятельности, а также от «говорения на иных языках». Поэтому большая часть общин пятидесятников отказалась от регистрации и продолжила деятельность в подполье.

Конец 1950-х и начало 1960-х годов ознаменованы систематическими преследованиями пятидесятников в СССР, о чем подробно пишет А.И Солженицын в своей книге «Архипелаг ГУЛАГ». В это время многие руководители общин и рядовые члены церквей были осуждены на длительные сроки заключения. В средствах массовой информации предпринимается попытка всячески очернить деятельность пятидесятников, им приписывались самые чудовищные злодеяния.

Начиная с 1968 года некоторые общины пятидесятников получают разрешение на государственную регистрацию, но большинство церквей пятидесятников находилось в положении незарегистрированных до начала 1990-х годов.

В СССР деятельность незарегистрированных религиозных общин была запрещена и преследовалась как уголовное преступление. Рядовые члены незарегистрированных общин постоянно подвергались преследованиям, чаще всего штрафам, за участие в молитвенных собраниях. Частные дома, в которых собирались пятидесятники для общей молитвы, в ряде случаев конфисковывались или даже разрушались.

На судебных процессах против руководителей незарегистрированных общин пятидесятников им предъявлялись различные уголовные обвинения, в том числе по статьям 190 или 70 Уголовного кодекса, то есть о клевете на советский строй и об антисоветской пропаганде. Руководителей пятидесятников обвиняли и в нанесении вреда здоровью верующих изуверскими обрядами.

Советская пропаганда использовала для дискредитации пятидесятников два основных приёма. Их обвиняли в крайнем фанатизме, доходящем до человеческих жертвоприношений. Распространялась и версия, что пятидесятники лишь прикрывают религиозностью корыстные побуждения и «служат мировому империализму» за доллары.

После вступления в силу Закона РСФСР от 25 октября 1990 года «О свободе вероисповеданий» незарегистрированные общины пятидесятников стали легализировать свою деятельность. Указ Президента Российской Федерации «О мерах по реабилитации священнослужителей и верующих, ставших жертвами необоснованных репрессий» от 14 марта 1996 года №378 осудил «многолетний террор, развязанный большевистским партийно-советским режимом в отношении священнослужителей и верующих всех конфессий». Все ранее осужденные пятидесятники были реабилитированы.

Антикультистские мифы, которые используются в последние годы против пятидесятников, по сути дела воспроизводят стереотипы советской антирелигиозной пропаганды и способствуют расколу общества по религиозному признаку.

Усиление влияния протестантизма, в том числе и пятидесятничества, в современной России – объективно закономерный процесс. Российские протестанты – неотъемлемая часть формирующегося среднего класса. Именно они наиболее активно и эффективно проводят социальную работу: занимаются возвращением наркоманов и пьяниц к нормальной жизни, помогают попавшим в трудную жизненную ситуацию детям, в том числе усыновляют сирот. Протестанты соблюдают законы, платят налоги, занимаясь предпринимательством, следуют христианским нравственным принципам. Добросовестно работают, не пьют и не курят.

Знаковое событие – избрание 18 марта 2012 года протестанта мэром города Тольятти. Большинство избирателей (во втором туре – около 57%) отдали свои голоса за Сергея Игоревича Андреева, который не скрывал своей принадлежности к протестантизму, вопреки развязанной его оппонентами «антисектантской» кампании.

Давно назрели решительные меры по нормализации взаимоотношений государства с протестантами, включая налаживание регулярных встреч руководителей страны с Консультативным советом глав протестантских церквей России.
 
Свидетели Иеговы – один из приоритетных объектов «противодействия экстремизму»
 
Свидетели Иеговы – одно из поздних течений протестантизма, появившееся в США в 1870 году. Впервые появляются в России в конце XIX века, в 1913 году получают официальное признание в Финляндии, входившей в тот период в состав Российской империи.

В СССР Свидетели Иеговы подвергаются жестоким репрессиям, руководители общин и активные проповедники приговариваются к длительным срокам заключения. Рядовых верующих и членов их семей ссылают в Сибирь.

Так, в 1949 году всех выявленных властями в Молдавии Свидетелей Иеговы, отказавшихся отречься от своих убеждений, высылают в Сибирь и на Дальний Восток. В 1951 году все известные органам власти Свидетели Иеговы из Западной Украины, Белоруссии, Латвии, Литвы и Эстонии, сохранившие верность своим убеждениям (более 8,5 тысяч человек), сосланы в Сибирь.

Свидетели Иеговы были освобождены из ссылки в Сибирь в 1965 году, однако их религиозные общины в СССР не подлежали регистрации, а репрессии в отношении верующих продолжались до начала 1991 года.

Свидетели Иеговы получают официальное признание в России 27 марта 1991 года. В соответствии с Федеральным законом от 18 октября 1991 года №1761-1 «О реабилитации жертв политических репрессий» и Указом Президента Российской Федерации «О мерах по реабилитации священнослужителей и верующих, ставших жертвами необоснованных репрессий» от 14 марта 1996 года №378 были реабилитированы и признаны жертвами политических репрессий все Свидетели Иеговы, подвергавшиеся преследованиям в годы Советской власти.
Свидетели Иеговы и их религиозная литература стали жертвой обвинений в экстремизме начиная с 2009 года. На официальном информационном сайте «Свидетели Иеговы в России» (http://www.jw-russia.org/) в последние годы постоянно появляются новые пресс-релизы и документы о возбуждении уголовных и гражданских дел, судебных процессах, обысках, задержаниях верующих, признании отдельных публикаций экстремистскими материалами.

У человека, не знакомого с проповедью свидетелей Иеговы, может возникнуть подозрение, что речь идет об опаснейшей террористической организации, представляющей угрозу не меньшую, чем «Аль-Каида».

Как религиовед, защитивший в 2002 году докторскую диссертацию об эволюции и деятельности религиозной организации Свидетелей Иеговы в России и продолжающий знакомиться с их публикациями, могу утверждать, что Свидетели Иеговы не берут в руки оружие и отвергают насилие. В их учении нет экстремизма, а есть только твердое убеждение, что их религия – единственная, являющаяся истинной.

Очевидно, что если объявлять экстремистскими материалами религиозные издания, в которых та или иная религиозная организация заявляет, что её вероучение истинно, а другие религии уклонились от истины, то почти вся религиозная литература, включая священные писания мировых религий, будет признана экстремисткой.

Не менее очевидно и другое. Если религиозную организацию Свидетелей Иеговы не смогли уничтожить ни Гитлер, ни Сталин, современным российским антикультистам это тем более не удастся. История Свидетелей Иеговы неопровержимо доказывает, что их невозможно запугать ни ложными обвинениями в экстремизме, ни штрафами, ни уголовными делами.

Полагаю, что централизованная религиозная организация, насчитывающая в России около двухсот тысяч членов, заслуживает более объективного и благожелательного отношения со стороны государства. Порекомендовал бы людям, принимающим решения в сфере политики по отношению к религиозным объединениям, лично побывать в Управленческом центре Свидетелей Иеговы в России, который находится в Санкт-Петербурге. Посмотреть экспозицию, посвящённую истории организации. Побеседовать с сотрудниками, удостовериться, что они не экстремисты, а законопослушные люди, убеждённые в истинности своей религии. Вступить в диалог с руководством Свидетелей Иеговы и попытаться договориться о том, как избегать конфликтов и улаживать противоречия.
 
Есть ли экстремизм в Церкви Саентологии и произведениях Рона Хаббарда?
 
Церковь Саентологии – одна из немногих религиозных организаций, которая не отрицает истинность других религий. Представление о Боге как о стремлении человека к существованию в качестве бесконечности даёт возможность Саентологии преодолеть свойственные религиозному сознанию противоречия между различными представлениями о Высшей Реальности.
В Саентологии предполагается, что, по мере своего духовного роста, каждый человек приходит к своему собственному, всё более глубокому, пониманию Бога, а также своей связи с Верховным Существом. Более того, член Саентологической Церкви может одновременно быть христианином, мусульманином, буддистом, иудеем или иметь иные религиозные убеждения. Если взять статистику по всему миру, то среди саентологов, по их собственным данным, помимо 24% членов Церкви Саентологии, не имеющих иных религиозных убеждений, кроме приверженности Саентологии, 26% – католики, 27% – протестанты, 5% – иудеи, 1% – последователи буддизма или индуизма.

Саентологи с гордостью заявляют, что эта возникшая в 1954 году религия является самой быстрорастущей религиозной организацией в мире. Поэтому отсутствие претензий на истинность только собственной религии не спасает Церковь Саентологии от обвинений в экстремизме. Подлинная причина агрессивных нападок антикультистов на Церковь Саентологии – динамичный рост числа последователей Саентологии во всём мире, в том числе и в России.

По убеждению А. Дворкина, любые материалы Рона Хаббарда являются экстремистскими и представляют опасность, если же добиться запрета работ Хаббарда, то без них Церковь Саентологии действовать не сможет .

Антикультистов не смущает тот факт, что, согласно имеющимся подсчётам, Рону Хаббарду принадлежит более десяти тысяч опубликованных работ, в которых изложены учение и технологии Саентологии, включая десятки книг, тысячи статей, а также более 3 тысяч магнитофонных записей лекций. Поэтому не так-то просто признать их все экстремистскими. Кроме того, Хаббард известен как писатель-фантаст. Неужели даже литературные произведения Хаббарда, включая его фантастические романы, тоже, по мнению антикультистов, являются экстремистскими?

В последние годы в России постоянно, но с различными результатами, проходят процессы о признании тех или иных произведений Рона Хаббарда экстремистскими материалами.
Так, в Сургуте (Ханты-Мансийский автономный округ-Югра) 26 марта 2010 года городской суд принял решение о признании 29 произведений Рона Хаббарда «экстремистскими». 12 октября 2010 года Ханты-Мансийский окружной суд отменил решение Сургутского городского суда от 26 марта 2010 года, направил дело на новое рассмотрение в тот же суд первой инстанции в ином составе судей. 9 декабря 2010 года Сургутский городской суд отклонил иск прокуратуры о признании 29 произведений Рона Хаббарда «экстремистскими». Саентологи добились исключения этих 29 текстов из Федерального списка экстремистских материалов.

В Новом Уренгое (Ямало-Ненецкий автономный округ Тюменской области) в 2011 году суд отказал прокуратуре в иске о признании экстремистским материалом биографии Хаббарда.
24 августа 2011 года суд Набережных Челнов (Республика Татарстан) признал 13 произведений Хаббарда объёмом более 3 тысяч страниц печатного текста и 63 часов записей лекций, экстремистскими материалами. Никто из саентологов не был проинформирован о судебном слушании, а из протокола судебного заседания стало известно, что на судебное разбирательство, в ходе которого рассматривались материалы, прокурор и судья потратили всего 25 минут. Вероятно, подобная оперативность достойна занесения в книгу рекордов Гиннеса (The Guinness Book of Records) – ежегодный сборник мировых рекордов, включая самые забавные и экстравагантные достижения.

19 марта 2012 года Верховный суд Республики Татарстан отменил решение городского суда Набережных Челнов, по которому 13 материалов Рона Хаббарда были признаны экстремистскими.

Справедливые судебные решения, вынесенные в ряде регионов – примечательные события, они свидетельствуют о возможности победы законности и здравого смысла в ходе процессов о признании религиозной литературы экстремистскими материалами.

С другой стороны, продолжается вынесение и необъективных решений. Так, 29 июня 2011 года Щёлковский городской суд (Московская область), в соответствии с иском Щёлковского городского прокурора, признал 9 книг и 9 аудио-лекций Рона Хаббарда экстремистскими материалами. 20 марта 2012 года Московский областной суд оставил без изменения это решение Щёлковского городского суда. В связи со вступлением судебного решения в законную силу книги и аудио-лекции Рона Хаббарда были включены в федеральный список экстремистских материалов и запрещены к распространению на территории Российской Федерации.

Щёлковский городской прокурор утверждал, будто бы учение Хаббарда полностью не соответствует менталитету и образу жизни российских граждан, а учебные программы, издания, аудио-видео материалы по Саентологии «подрывают традиционные духовные основы жизни на территории Российской Федерации».

С религиоведческой точки зрения, учение, которое полностью не соответствует менталитету и образу жизни российских граждан, не имеет никаких шансов приобрести последователей на территории России. Тем более оно не может представлять реальной опасности для «традиционных духовных основ». 

Что же экстремистского обнаружил Щёлковский городской суд в произведениях Хаббарда? Согласно выводам комплексного психолингвистического исследования, на котором базируется решение суда, книги и брошюры Хаббарда «направлены на формирование изолированной социальной группы, которой является Церковь Саентологии, члены которой обучаются безупречному выполнению своих функций. В данной литературе присутствуют призывы к осуществлению экстремисткой деятельности, информация в материалах направлена на разрушение социальных групп, отличных от Церкви Саентологии».

Можно согласиться с утверждением, что члены Саентологической Церкви обучаются безупречному выполнению своих функций. Действительно, обучению сотрудников саентологи уделяют самое серьёзное внимание. Прочие утверждения не соответствуют действительности.

Ни Церковь Саентологии, ни сообщество саентологов не имеют признаков «изолированной социальной группы». Сама по себе Церковь Саентологии открыта для посещения, её членами могут быть и становятся люди самой разной социальной, профессиональной, этнической принадлежности. Человек «с улицы» имеет право прийти в Церковь Саентологии и принять участие в религиозной службе, «курсах по улучшению жизни» и других программах.

Церковь Саентологии заинтересована в максимально широком распространении своих идей, саентологи меньше всего походят на «изолированную группу». Они очень ценят общение, стараются использовать любую возможность для того, чтобы вступить в контакт с самыми разными людьми, социальными, профессиональными и другими группами.

Что касается утверждения эксперта, будто бы произведения Хаббарда направлены на разрушение социальных групп, отличных от Церкви Саентологии, то оно противоречит реальному содержанию трудов Хаббарда и учению Саентологии. Суть Саентологии – в учении, что она располагает инструментами (практическими методами), способными обеспечить духовное развитие личности, укрепить социальные группы, сделать их деятельность по-настоящему эффективной, а также решить глобальные проблемы, стоящие перед человечеством.
Насколько основательно подкреплены выводы эксперта аргументами и фактами?

По оценке известного адвоката Г.А. Крыловой, «прокуратура заказала и поручила исследование четырёх книг (около 3500 страниц) сектору психолингвистики Института языкознания Российской академии наук (РАН). В этом заключении на 14 страницах крупным шрифтом «исследование» заняло всего 3 страницы, остальное – цитаты из закона, список литературы и прочие формальности. Затем, поскольку прокурор просил признать «экстремистскими» девять книг и девять аудио-лекций (около 6000 страниц и 10 часов прослушивания), он повторно обратился к тому же эксперту. Новое заключение завсектором профессора Тарасова Е.Ф. дословно воспроизвело прежнее, за исключением расширения списка объектов. И также уместилось на 14 страницах. Мал золотник, да дорог… А теперь представьте исследование более 6000 страниц, изложенное на трёх страницах. Попробуйте просто привести по одной цитате из каждого наименования (9 книг и 9 аудио-лекций) в обоснование выводов Тарасова Е.Ф. о том, что каждая из исследованных им книга и лекция «возбуждает ненависть и вражду,…унижает достоинство человека либо группы лиц по признаку пола, расы, национальности, языка, происхождения, отношения к религии, а равно принадлежности к социальной группе»… Разумеется, всего этого в экспертизе не было. Но если эксперт делает подобные выводы, он обязан вразумительно ответить на такие простейшие вопросы. Заметьте, я не касаюсь методики и много другого. Все же сервильность[[4]]url:#_ftn4 эксперта должна иметь некоторые пределы» (http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=news&id=87756).

А. Дворкин приветствовал решения Щёлковского городского суда и Московского областного суда, однако выразил сожаление, что оно не способно серьёзно помешать работе саентологов. Он высказал твердое убеждение, что Саентологи «будут обжаловать решение Мособлсуда, и будут подавать во все инстанции, вплоть до Европейского суда по правам человека». Церковь Саентологии «будет судиться до конца, – тут иных вариантов ожидать не приходится. Но, независимо от дальнейших планов секты, решение суда имеет законную силу на всей территории Российской Федерации до тех пор, пока не будет отменено… Нужно готовиться и к весьма серьёзному международному давлению, которое в связи с этим делом будет оказано на Россию», – отметил ведущий российский сектовед.

Как сказал бы Уинстон Черчилль (1874-1965) о человеке подобного типа, «он время от времени натыкается на истину, но затем, как правило, вскакивает и бодро продолжает идти». В данном случае можно согласиться с А. Дворкиным в том, что судебные разбирательства будут продолжаться и, в конце концов, решение о признании произведений Хаббарда экстремистскими материалами будет отменено. Правильно и то, что саентологи не будут сидеть сложа руки, а продолжат активную деятельность. По решению Щёлковского городского суда саентологами уже поданы жалобы в Верховный Суд Российской Федерации и в Европейский суд по правам человека.

О причинах, которые дают возможность саентологам динамично расти и развиваться, несмотря на оказываемое давление, рассказывает в своём интервью один из «ветеранов» Саентологической церкви в России.


[[1]]url:#_ftnref1 В 2011 году Совет муфтиев России наградил С.В. Ряховского медалью «За духовное единение».
[[2]]url:#_ftnref2 «Кампания по дискредитации евангельских христиан набирает обороты. Остановить кампанию пока не поздно» (заявление Гильдии экспертов по религии и праву 21 июля 2012 года), http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=news&id=93996
[[3]]url:#_ftnref3 20 сентября 2012 года в поселке Кулотино Окуловского района Новгородской области службой судебных приставов на основании решения суда по административному делу была демонтирована Церковь пятидесятников «Слово Жизни». Взыскателем по делу выступила администрация Окуловского муниципального района.
[[4]]url:#_ftnref4 Сервильный (лат. Servilis) – раболепный, рабски угодливый.


Rédigé par EIFRF le Tuesday, May 14th 2013 | Comments (0)

Geneva, 29 April 2013, during the Universal periodical Review on Russia at UN headquarters.


Speech of Professor Ivanenko at UN UPR on Russia
Sergey Ivanenko (Moscow, Russia)
Doctor of Philosophical Sciences
Expert in Religious Studies
Author of the book Ordinary Anti-cultism
 
 
Anti-cultism in Russia

The Definition of the Anti-cult Movement and Anti-cultism. The anti-cult movement is a general name for associations, groups, or individual enthusiasts who oppose new religious movements and derogatorily refer to them as cults or sects. They require that “sects” be banned or at least that their rights be limited.

The term “anti-cultism” has two similar meanings. First, it is used as a synonym for the anti-cult movement. Second, anti-cultism refers to the totality of concepts regarding the particular harm and danger posed by new religious movements and religious minorities. It is the totality of these concepts that in fact inspires participants of the anti-cult movement.
In the Russian Federation, the anti-cult movement is represented by two main components: religiously-based and secular.

Religiously-based Anti-cultism. According to experts’ estimates, there approximately 600 religiously-based anti-cultists in Russia, among whom there are approximately 300 persons who often deal with “cults” in their work and 50 persons who specialize only in cults and sects.

Anti-cultists who are part of the Russian Association of Centers of Study of Religions and Sects (RACSRS) and who represent the Russian Orthodox Church are the most active and influential.
The leading center of RACSRS is the Informational Consulting Center of Priest-Martyr St. Irenaeus of Lyon, formed in 1993 in Moscow with the blessing of Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
RACSRS was created in 2006. The association is composed of directors of 21 regional centers for studying sectarianism in Russia, as well as 8other centers—3 centers in Ukraine, 3 centers in the Republic of Belarus, one center in Uzbekistan, and one center in Kazakhstan.

The president of RACSRS and the Center of Priest-Martyr St. Irenaeus of Lyon is Alexander Dvorkin.

The goal of RACSRS in Russia is to oppose the activity of new religious movements, prepare materials on the destructive nature of religious minorities for government agencies and the media, and conduct religious expert studies based on anti-cultist ideas.

A. Dvorkin and RACSRS actively apply the term “totalitarian sect” to religious minorities so as to discredit them. The term “totalitarian sect” and the closely related term “totalitarian cult” have been actively used since the 1930’s to criticize Communism and Fascism. The concepts “totalitarian sect” and “totalitarian cult” have been used in English and French literature since the 1970’s in connection with new religious organizations that anti-cultists accused of “brainwashing.” (...)

Download full speech and references:

antikult_eng.pdf antikult_eng.pdf  (92.41 KB)

Rédigé par EIFRF le Tuesday, May 14th 2013 | Comments (0)

Here is a summary of the speeches of the three main speakers at the conference given the 23 April during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe plenary in Strasbourg:


Summary of EIFRF conference - 23 April - PACE
Freedom of Conscience: Tensions between the State
and religious minorities in regards to family issues
 
Marco Ventura
Professor of Canon Law / Law and Religion
KU Leuven
 
Reflections on religious freedom, state neutrality, public education, minors and parental rights in view of the meeting with some members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on April 23, 2013.
 
 
In my capacity as a professor of law and religion at KU Leuven I have been invited to offer members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe some reflections on religious freedom, state neutrality, public education, minors and parental rights against the background of the debate on the establishment of a European anti-sect initiative based on the French model of the fight on ‘dérives sectaires’ (sectarian abuses) entrusted since 2002 to Miviludes, a ‘mission interministérielle’ within the office of the French Prime Minister.
 
In my short intervention, I would like to highlight some basic principles, which have emerged in European law, as a result of both the evolution of domestic laws and the development of a European human rights law through EU law and the European Convention of Human Rights. The following principles can be identified as appropriate guidelines for any further European developments in the field of religious freedom, state neutrality, public education, minors and parental rights.
 
1. No State discretion in assessing the legitimacy of beliefs. Articles 9 ECHR and 10 EU Charter of Fundamental Rights establish the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The European Court of Human Rights has established and constantly held that ‘the right to freedom of religion as guaranteed under the Convention excludes any discretion on the part of the State to determine whether religious beliefs or the means used to express such beliefs are legitimate.’ (ECtHR, Manoussakis and ors v Greece, 29 August 1996, at para 47). Freedom of thought, conscience and religion ‘primarily protects the sphere of personal beliefs and religious creeds, i.e. the area which is sometimes called the forum internum. In addition, it protects acts which are intimately linked to these attitudes such as acts of worship or devotion which are aspects of the practice of a religion or belief in a generally recognised form’ (ECommissionHR, Vereniging Rechtswinkels Utrecht v The Netherlands, 13 March 1986). By no means does European law allow for any form of control on beliefs in the forum internum.
 
2. Respect of religious diversity. European law respects and promotes diversity of religious as well as non religious worldviews (22 EU Charter of Fundamental Rights). No action can be positively taken in order to compel those who hold non-mainstream worldviews, be they religious or not, to conform to the worldview of the majority, be they religious or not. Law should be enforceable without requiring anyone to embrace or identify with any ideological or religious worldview. This applies irrespective of the church/state model adopted in the relevant country. An Orthodox country is not entitled to require citizens to embrace Orthodox Christianity or to become members of the national established church. A secular country is not entitled to require citizens to embrace any given secular worldview. Psychiatric assistance is no ground for forcing marginal believers into the fold. The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Spain for violation of article 5 ECHR (right to liberty and security) in the case of six Spanish who were forcibly transferred to a hotel by Catalan police officers and handed over to others to be ‘deprogrammed’ from their membership of a ‘sect’ of which they were alleged to be members, based on the denunciation by a Spanish anti-sect association (ECtHR, Riera Blume and ors v Spain, 14 October 1999).
 
3. Strict scrutiny of admissible restrictions to the expression of beliefs. A religious or non-religious belief in the forum externum can only be restricted subject to conditions set at article 9 n. 2 ECHR, which means insofar as limitations ‘are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others’. The European Court of Human Rights has interpreted article 9 n. 2 as also implying a test aimed at assessing the proportionality of restrictions to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, or to any other fundamental right. According to the Court, ‘every "formality", "condition", "restriction" or "penalty" imposed in this sphere [freedom of expression] must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued’ (ECtHR, Handyside v UK, 7 December 1976, at para 49).
 
4. State’s neutrality and impartiality. Irrespective of the church and state system adopted in the relevant country, the State has an obligation of neutrality and impartiality towards all beliefs. The European Court of Human Rights has established that ‘the State’s role as the neutral and impartial organiser of the practising of the various religions, denominations and beliefs is conducive to religious harmony and tolerance in a democratic society’ (ECtHR, Refah Partisi v Turkey, 31 July 2001, at para 51).
 
5. Specialty of religion recognized for the sake of its protection and enhancement only. European law recognizes the specialty of religion only for the sake of its protection and enhancement. This principle is embodied in Articles 9 ECHR, 10 EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and 17 TFUE and in the constitutional traditions common to the Member States of the EU (article 6 n. 3 TEU). The law can only single out religions and denominations or categories or religions and denominations for the purpose of enhancing their protection or in order to facilitate them (e.g. through registration enabling religious entities to own property or through measures combating discrimination, racism or hatred).
 
6. No religion-based discrimination. European law does not allow for discrimination based on religion (article 14 ECHR, 21 EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and 10 TFEU). In particular, public agents are not entitled to preliminarily identify a category of believers (or non believers) or beliefs in view of monitoring and interfering with the life and convictions of those who fall within the category, no matter how small the section of population, which is affected, or diverse from the rest of the population. Non-discrimination based on religion (article 14 ECHR, 21 EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and 10 TFEU) also translates into the prohibition to discriminate against believers and beliefs based on size or social relevance or degree of conformity to the majority. The European Court of Human Rights has concluded recently that there was no reasonable relationship of proportionality between a total ban on the applicant’s right to access his child and the aim pursued, namely the protection of the best interest of the child. Consequently, the Court found that the applicant had been discriminated against on the basis of his religious convictions (as a member of a small faith community) in the exercise of his right to respect for family life, since he had been denied his access rights based on an expert opinion upheld by a domestic court according to which the applicant’s ‘irrational worldview made him incapable of bringing up his child’. (ECtHR, Vojnity v Hungary, 12 February 2013, at para 14).
 
7. Religion-related crimes are better repressed through general criminal law. No exception has been accepted so far to the principle that crimes or violations committed with an alleged religious motivation or under the cloak of religion are adequately repressed through general criminal law. Rather, the contrary has been established: that religious beliefs or customs are no excuse for violating the law, and that religious prerogatives cannot prevent State authorities from applying the law. Conscientious objection is regulated according to domestic and European law.
 
8. Religious autonomy. European Law recognizes ‘religious autonomy’ (see ECtHR, Fernandez Martinez, 15 May 2012, at para 80), which can be defined as the ‘competence of religious communities to decide upon and administer their own affairs without governmental interference’, and as ‘a right of self-determination for religious groups’ (W C Durham Jr, ‘Religion and the World Constitutions’ in S Ferrari, W C Durham Jr, C Cianitto and  D. D. Thayer (eds), Law, Religion, Constitution (forthcoming Farnham: Ashgate, 2013). While the balance between the autonomy of religious groups, individual rights and the States’ prerogatives is difficult to strike, the State has to refrain as much as possible from interfering with the self-determination of religious communities.
 
9. Parental religious rights. Article 2 Protocol 1 to the ECHR stipulates that ‘in the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions’. In accordance, European law respects the right of parents to raise children in a given worldview, be it religious or not. This right can be restricted only if children suffer or are likely to suffer an actual harm. Actual harm has to be strictly defined. As the European Court of Human Rights has clearly established, it is contrary to European law to rule ‘in abstracto and on the basis of general considerations, without establishing a link between the children's living conditions with their [parents] (…) and their real interests’ (ECtHR, Palau-Martinez v France, 16 March 2004, at para 42. Also see ECtHR, Hoffmann v Austria, 23 June 1993). The debate remains open on the exact definition of the boundary between the autonomy of the parents and the State’s right to interfere (as witnessed in the German debate on the parents rights in case of circumcision). However, the mere transmission within the family of a worldview, which differs from the worldview of the majority does not per se legitimize the State’s interference in the interest of the children. As the European Court of Human Rights has made clear, a distinction between parents ‘based essentially on a difference in religion alone is not acceptable’ (ECtHR, Hoffmann v Austria, 23 June 1993, at para 36).
 
10. Objective, critical and pluralistic public school. As established by the ECtHR since 1976 and repeatedly reiterated, ‘the State, in fulfilling the functions assumed by it in regard to education and teaching, must take care that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner. The State is forbidden to pursue an aim of indoctrination that might be considered as not respecting parents’ religious and philosophical convictions. That is the limit that must not be exceeded’ (ECtHR, Kjeldsen, Busk Madsen and Pedersen v Denmark, 7 December 1976, at para 53). As a consequence, privacy of children and parents must be rigorously protected as far as their personal options and convictions are concerned, to the point that the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Poland that the refusal to participate in denominational religious instruction in a public school cannot be reported in a way that discloses indirectly the beliefs of a student or stigmatizes him (ECtHR, Grzelak v Poland, 15 June 2010). The principle is further articulated with regard to teaching about religions and beliefs in public schools in the 2007 Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR).
 
 
 
Leuven, April 19, 2013

Freedom of Conscience: Tensions between the State
and religious minorities in regards to family issues
 
Petar Gramatikoff
Doctor (Didiaskalos) of the Universal Orthodox Church
Master's Degree in Theology
 
 
As Rev. Keith Clements, general secretary of Conference of European Churches said: “Never was Europe so united, not only because of the enlargement of the European Union but also because Europe never had such concept of its unity”. European Christians who are not united in faith are called upon to be an essential element for the new European unity and to give their spiritual contribution to building a United Europe.
 
Concerning new religious movements, in Central and Eastern Europe, and particularly in Bulgaria, the situation is different, as oppression against religions has prevented many non-mainstream religious bodies from establishing their legitimately functioning structures. In this sense, most of them are really a new social phenomenon for post-communist countries. The other question -- whether they are really religious, is much more complicated. These societies were not less secularized than the West and the appearance of new religious movements coincided with the opening of the societies towards greater freedom in all spheres of life. I place the new religious movements in Bulgaria within the secularization thesis.
 
The target topic of Protection of Human and Minority rights is about the promotion and strengthening of national and international human rights protection systems. Thus, of vital importance, is the respect for the internationally acknowledged ban on discrimination. Its global application regarding all minorities in the region, encompassing both ethnic minorities and other marginal groups of society, must be secured. An important part of this is the impact of accession to the European Union and the application of the European Convention on Human Rights.
 
Bulgarians regained religious freedom in 1989 after five decades of forced atheism under the communist totalitarian regime. The Bulgarian parliament passed a Denominations Law in 2002 which consolidated the dominant role of the Orthodox Church in this Balkan country. The bill, which defines Orthodox Christianity as a "traditional religion in Bulgaria", was initiated by the ruling party, the National Movement Simeon II, and was aimed at ending a schism within the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The specific features of the Bulgarian situation may be summarized as peaceful co-existence of different religions along with compromises of the Orthodox Church. The historical conditions had laid the foundations for the appearance of many ethnic groups with specific religious commitments, which has normally been supported throughout the country's history by a certain degree of ethnic and religious tolerance.
 
One of the fruits of the post-totalitarian period in Bulgaria has been the rediscovery of the universal dimension of the human rights. As the Balkan nations grappled with the tasks presented by the development of modern society, they realized the extend to which the universal nature and mission of civil society had become obscured in most traditions in regards to a half-century of lasting atheistic and anti-human state policy. Despite all typical post-communist features of church-going as a 'new fashion' or a symbolic ritual of political commitment, the different religious communities at last had the chance to express freely their specific beliefs and to undertake the first steps toward legitimate recognition.
 
This new awakening in the Bulgarian society was a result, in large measure, of the social changes of recent times. The international dimension has acquired increasing importance for the life and future of the individual nations. Bulgarian legislation gives the right to freely profess religious dogmas, traditions and customs of religious canons regulated places for this purpose.
 
Individual freedom has its limits in the freedom of others, thus a religiously polyvalent society must guarantee religious peace. It is the responsibility of public powers, civil society, traditional religious communities as well as those more recently created to find a modus vivendi that will permit justice and set aside discrimination.
 
All these arrangements under our Constitution are part of our law and therefore must be applied in Bulgarian public life. However, many minorities are not in practice guaranteed these rights. This demonstrates a coarse ideology, limited capacity and is symptomatic of the political issues that are at the essence of our inadequate democracy,  symptomatic of a deeper social decline in the country.
 
We could continue with quotes from international standards, but let's move on to the national laws adopted by our politicians and statesmen.
 
Exporting the French anti-sect model is not suitable for a situation in Bulgaria where a mainstream religion is placed above the others. The exportation of the French model will lead in some countries, where the situation is not of “Church/State separation” to a reinforcement of religious intolerance. This will be also not in alignment with the national legislation of the Republic of Bulgaria where everything is crystal clear and the registered/recognized religions are equal before the law. The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria clearly gives a mechanism to build a democratic order:
 
Art. 6. (2) All citizens are equal before the law. There shall be no restriction of rights or privileges based on race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, political affiliation, personal or social status or property status. Art. 13. (1) Religions are free.
 
Under the Law on Religions (Denominations Act) there was a strong emphasis on the rights for parents and guardians to provide religious education and training for their children in conformity with their own convictions.
 
The concepts of hate crimes and freedom of thought and expression should not be confused with one another. No freedom is unlimited in democratic societies. Rights and freedoms are limited to the point where other rights and freedoms start. It is stated in both international and national norms that freedom of expression is not infinite and limitless; it should be limited to a certain extent. It is necessary and obligatory that the legal system introduces instruments for defense against the danger arising from people provoked into hostility and hatred on the basis of difference. This obligation is of particular importance in countries where society has a diverse, mosaic structure like Bulgaria and the other Balkan EU members- and non-member-countries.
 
The NRMs (New Religious Movements) were seen by many as a threat. In 1994 some changes were adopted in the Law of Persons and the Family -- article 133-A was introduced, requiring an approval from the Directorate of Religious Affairs of the Council of Ministers before legal registration of a religious organization. Some lawyers said that this was absurd, as it allowed administrative power to supercede legislation.
 
The year 2008 can be rightfully called “Year of Sects in Bulgaria” as various government representatives and news agencies participated in a nationwide “witch hunt” which they called “War on the Sects.” These actions were organized in a premeditated attack to discredit evangelical churches in Bulgaria, which were repeatedly called “dangerous sects” and “cults” regardless of their bicentennial history in the country. The strategically planned actions were taken in four major cities in Bulgaria in two consecutive chronological cycles throughout the year that were properly defined by independent observers as the “Sects and the City” series because of the maneuvers of some political nationalistic groups in cultivating history and discrimination against ethnic or religious minorities. This attack was tactically planned and carefully executed to discredit evangelical churches in the cities of Veliko Tarnovo, Bourgas, Plovdiv and Sofia and through this the Bulgarian Evangelical Movement as a whole. Although the “organizers” of this attack may never be known, one cannot afford to remain quiet when political organizations use media agencies to manipulate the public opinion away from the real socioeconomic problems of the country toward the evangelical churches through acts of discrediting that not only restrict religious freedom and personal liberty, but come close to acts of open oppression.
 
During the period of the seventies up to the nineties of the last century, Bulgaria became famous for what came to be known as the Bulgarisation of the Muslims in Bulgaria. During the same period, a number of crimes aimed at breaking the spirit and character of the minority community of Bulgarian Muslim were perpetrated. These measures were accompanied by oppressive methods and persecution which extended to killings, imprisonment, torture and banishment from the country. This reached its peak during the period between 1984-89. In order to put an end to the existence of Islam and the Muslims, the Bulgarian authorities expelled hundreds of thousands of Muslim Turks to Turkey. The number of those expelled in 1989 amounted to more than 300,000 in less than two months.
 
The majority of the Muslims in Bulgaria are Orthodox Sunni Muslims but many are Heterodox followers of sectarian movements and traditions of Islam typical for the Balkan Peninsula in general (Alevis, Kisilbash). The other very large ethnic minority in Bulgaria are the Gypsies who are Orthodox and Heterodox Muslims or Orthodox and Heterodox Christians mixing their religious rituals with some pagan beliefs and practices.
 
At the end of 2012, the MJ developed an Action Plan for the Implementation of the Concept for the State Policy in the Field of Juvenile Justice (2013-2020), which confirms the government's commitment to fully repeal the Act against Delinquency of Minors as being an outdated and ultimately repressive approach to juvenile justice. The effect of these changes remains to be established. In this case even the Holy Orthodox Synod-Bulgarian Patriarchate published an Opinion on the draft text of the Law on Children (Prepared by the MLSP / MC voting in 41 of Bulgaria's National Assembly in 2012) fearing the problem in art. 23, which prohibits adolescents to engage in political, trade union and religious activities: “The basis of the current proposals for changes in the draft law on children is our love and care for family Bulgarian parents and children who are both a fundamental fabric of Bulgarian society and, in for the most part, are members of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church” - Bulgarian Patriarchate (Adopted by the Holy Synod in full strength with prot. № 20/21. 06. 2012, § 1): “Our concern is due to the current spiritual, moral, economic, social, educational, personal and interpersonal problems that we face in raising and educating the current generation in Bulgaria and the many imperfections that exist in the public discussion concerning the draft law on children. Among them, a leading downward tendency has been to push the edge of legislative attention to the issue of custody and parental authority in the child's life. The Children’s bill is currently on hold, left for the next government to accept it. A few months ago parents did protested this because they believe that the bill is anti-family. They demonstrated with banners that read "We are against the nationalization of our children."
 
It is interesting to follow the arguments of the anti-cultists (consisting of parents' committees, nationalists, politicians and administrators -- they all use of the term 'sects' in its broad definition): they say that the NRMs are dangerous for national security; they create "socially abnormal personalities"; they are a foreign invasion; they come to Bulgaria as a result of "a geopolitical intervention of the world powers to destroy the uniqueness of Bulgarian culture"; they stimulate conscientious objection; some of them refuse blood transfusion; the fact that they are preparing teachers for kindergartens.
 
In the spirit of tolerance, society welcomes religious diversity. Each religious community, ancient or modern has the right to have its ideas and its actions honestly presented and protected from abusive comparison and defamation. If a group is challenged it will agree to provide enlightenment concerning its religious, social or financial activities; in return, challengers will concentrate only upon incriminating facts and refrain from all abusive generalizations or insidious allusions. Our responsibility demands that we take the modern state seriously since it can become a source of brutal repression, dehumanization and denial of basic humanity to individuals, as opposed to a force for social and economic justice, fundamental institutional reformation and a vehicle for human development.
 
Sofia, April 16, 2013
 
 
 

Freedom of Conscience: Tensions between the State
and religious minorities in regards to family issues
 
Christian Paturel
Attorney at Law
 
 
I have been a lawyer defending human rights in France since the 1970s and I am also a Christian believer, a member of the Jehovah Witnesses. I have written many books on religious freedom.
 
One of them has been for me a source of many troubles. I have been attacked for facts that I wrote in this book by a French antireligious association. I lost the trial in first instance, then in appeal and also before the French Supreme Court. However, because I am a lawyer and quite persistent, I went before the European Court of Human Rights and only then, ten years after the publication of the book, in 2005, the European Court condemned France and restored the book and my reputation completely.
 
As a lawyer and also as a Jehovah Witness I could testify on hundreds of discrimination cases stemming from the French political attitude against religious minorities, but unfortunately, or fortunately for you, I do not have time to do it.
 
So I will concentrate on one specific case which is quite appropriate for our topic of today, a case that I know very well because it concerns discrimination against my own wife, Brigitte. This had a great impact on our family life and has lasted for many years.
 
Let me explain:
In 2006 my wife was working as a family assistant for the Public Administration in charge of social assistance. She had to take care of children who could not be with their family for various reasons, and normally for a limited period of time. The placement of the children with her was done by this Public Administration. She was very well regarded, had excellent results and the employer was very happy with her work. All the reports made on her by the controllers (who are in charge of making sure that the children receive appropriate care) were excellent.
 
Unfortunately, in France, there are “anti sect” associations which are totally funded by the French government. They organise hate campaigns against new religious movements which they call “sects”. These campaigns are often fully supported by many in the French institutions. One of their practices is to write “denunciation letters” on members of these religious movements to administrations, mayors, etc.
 
One day in August 2006 her employer ‘found out’ that my wife was a Jehovah Witness and wrote a letter to her saying that this undermines her job prerequisites. A few hours later, two children who were in her custody were removed abruptly from our home. You can imagine not only the shock for my wife but also for the children who removed from their family home.
 
Brigitte then started to be victim of ‘moral’ harassment by the administration. In December, three individuals started a “social investigation” into my wife. Since August, my wife was no longer in charge of any child (solely for the reasons mentioned above) whilst before August she had only good reports about her. The three people in charge of investigating her could not find anything against her, so they fabricated something in order to be able to substantiate the claims against her (as will be shown later).
 
My wife was then interrogated by the administration. In one of the interrogatory, the Chief of her service said: “at least, if you were a Catholic, it could be acceptable, but a Jehovah Witness…”
 
My wife never did any proselytism and the children were always kept apart from our own religious convictions, in order to respect them and their family’s beliefs. The inspector then blamed Brigitte for not being able to provide a proper religious life for the children. This obviously means that if she had proselytized to the children she would have been blamed for it, but because she did not proselytize, she was also blamed!
 
In March 2007 (two thousand seven), my wife was definitely dismissed without any additional reasoning than it was due to her beliefs. So, because I am a lawyer, I took legal action and
 
 demonstrated that Brigitte’s case was discriminatory for reasons of religious beliefs. The administration, her former employer, was then forced to cancel the dismissal and reintegrate Brigitte and apologize to her.  An agreement was signed between the parties and Brigitte withdrew her full legal action in September 2007.
 
In January 2008, three months after the agreement was signed, the administration started a new process of dismissal against Brigitte. My wife was dismissed a second time for the same reasons, on religious grounds, after a long process, on the 8th August 2010.
 
So we went back to court and got the dismissal cancelled by the Administrative Court of Rouen on the 2 April 2010. However, despite this cancellation, the President of the General Council, who was in charge of the administration of the Region, refused to reintegrate her.
 
So now we had to bring the President to the Administrative Court and the General prosecutor, who consequently intervened to force her reintegration, per the law, ten months after this second dismissal.
 
Then, in June 2011, the French Ombudsman made a judgment stating that Brigitte has been victim of a discrimination forbidden by articles 9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
 
You might think that this would be a happy end to these endless discriminations.
 
But learning the decision of the Ombudsman, the President of the General Council decided to once again dismiss Brigitte. A third time, still without any valid reason, solely because she is a Jehovah Witness.
 
At this point, we decided not to try to get a cancellation of the dismissal, but to file a criminal complaint, which is still ongoing.
 
We have so many evidences of discrimination and moral harassment on the ground of religious beliefs that we will win beyond any doubt.
 
Unfortunately, this example is only one of hundreds that occur in France each year, and each wife does not have a husband who is also a lawyer. Losing your job because you are labeled as a member of a “wrong” religion is a very difficult ordeal for any citizen. When this ordeal continues year after year, it can lead to severe depression. Some who are weaker have even committed suicide, thinking that there was no way out in the face of such discrimination. It is also a tremendous ordeal when this is accompanied by the stigmatization of your beliefs at the level of the national government.
 
When politicians start to push a policy against certain minorities, whether they call them “sects” or “cults”, as is done in France, it leads to families torn apart and to ruined lives.
 
We, as citizen of European countries, place our hope in institutions like the Council of Europe, which has been designed to protect the fundamental rights of individuals. So it is important to keep that in mind, when some people try to instrumentalise the Parliamentary Assembly, in order to push their own agenda and to export the French model to Europe. It is not just a theoretical issue. It is an issue which has effects on people’s lives, and has been proven to destroy the freedom of people, to destroy hope, to destroy families, children’s lives and this is what we need to protect.
 
Paris, April 20, 2013

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Rédigé par EIFRF le Monday, May 13th 2013 | Comments (0)

Dusan Luzny, well known PhD in Czech Republic, has written the following letter to Mr Christopher Chope, Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.


Dusan Luzny
Dusan Luzny
In his letter, he is reffering to a common statement written by many European scholars on the same topic a month ago. This common statement can be found here: http://www.eifrf-articles.org/Professors-and-religious-leaders-write-to-Parliamentary-Assembly-of-the-Council-of-Europe_a24.html

Here is the letter of Dr Luzny:

Dear Sir,
 
I have been shown a common statement that has been sent to you recently, signed by eminent scholars, regarding the report which is under preparation in the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on « sectarian influence on minors ».
 
As a scholar myself, having published dozens of major publications on religious issues, including new religious movements, being recognized as an expert in this field since many years, I would like to join their concern about this report and the way it is done.
 
I think there is a great danger in addressing such a topics using words as “sects”, “sectarian”, and that it is an indicator of a willingness to discriminate between good and bad religions, most of the time on grounds which are not scientific neither pragmatic, but only following other agendas.
 
This, in addition to violating European standards on freedom of religion and beliefs and other human rights, has led in the past to many dramatic issues, and moreover when it involves children and family matters. Children and families are the ones who suffer from stigmatization and discrimination when their faith is targeted. History taught us this lesson badly. And I learned it being on the ground, in that very field.
 
However, I am pretty confident that you, and the Committee, are aware of that and will act accordingly. I wanted to join my voice to the ones of the scholars who sent you this common statement (and I fully support all what they said), in order to let you know that we think it is not a minor issue, and must be given great carefulness. Council of Europe has a great power, and is the one which is counted upon by every people of Europe when human rights are at stake. If you need any expert opinion on this issue I would be glad to help.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Dušan Lužný

Original letter:
dusan_luzny_letter.pdf Dusan Luzny letter.PDF  (30.27 KB)

Rédigé par EIFRF le Monday, May 13th 2013 | Comments (0)

Draft report with a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the draft EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief (2013/2082(INI)) - 30.4.2013


New EU Parliament draft report - guidelines for religious freedom
Committee on Foreign Affairs 
Rapporteur: Laima Liucija Andrikiené

CONTENTS 
 
PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL ................. 3 
PROPOSAL FOR A RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL B7-0164/2013 ................. 8 

Download the draft report:

Rédigé par EIFRF le Tuesday, May 7th 2013 | Comments (0)

Brian J. Grim of the Pew Research Center in a talk at the Vatican, which summarizes the latest Pew Research findings on international religious freedom and provides an overview on the rising tide of restrictions on religion around the world coming from governments as well as groups in society.

Rédigé par EIFRF le Tuesday, May 7th 2013 | Comments (0)

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