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Russian State Duma to consider draft statement on protection of religious feelings

September 25, 2012, 1:44 UTC+3

The lawmakers will condemn “insults and hooliganism against both the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organizations”

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MOSCOW, September 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s State Duma lower parliament house will consider on Tuesday a draft statement on the protection of religious feeling of Russian citizens that was initiated by all the four parliamentary factions.

The lawmakers will condemn “insults and hooliganism against both the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organizations,” Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said on Monday. “Regrettably, cases hurting religious feelings have become more frequent. In the mean time, religious associations are playing an important role in maintaining peace and accord in Russia.”

“Of most serious concern are acts of terror committed on religious grounds and aimed both to kill spiritual leaders and destabilize the general situation,” the draft statement says. “Murders of spiritual leaders, violence against god believers, chopping down of Christian crosses, demolition of churches, blasphemous hooligan actions, vandalism at cemeteries, insulting inscriptions - all this is aimed to destroy the century-old spiritual and ethic foundations of Russia, to discred traditional values and, actually, serves the purpose of instigating civil strife and undermining the country’s sovereignty.”

“The State Duma condemns such criminal actions and deems it necessary to rebuff destructive forces that laud anti-religious extremism, vandalism and hooliganism, and instigate hatred for the Russian Orthodox Church and for other religious organizations,” lawmakers stress.

The State Duma sees the need for stricter punishment for insulting citizens’ religious feelings, including for desecration of shrines, and demands that punishment for such actions should be unavoidable.

The Duma urges all political forces of the country “to pool their efforts to strengthen national unity, civil peace and accord of the Russian people on the basis of traditional spiritual values.”

“This can be promoted by religious enlightenment of society, including spiritual educational work among the youth,” the draft statement says.

Persecution of religion and the clergy and the fight against religious views should never happen in Russia again, the lawmakers stress.

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