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MOSCOW, September 26 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament on Tuesday issued a statement ‘On Protection of Religious Feelings of the Citizens of Russia’.
MPs are particularly concerned by the terrorist acts committed on the grounds of religious hatred and aimed at the elimination of spiritual leaders, as well as at a general destabilization, the statement says.
The assassinations of spiritual leaders, violence against believers, sawing down of crosses, acts of vandalism at cemeteries, and the drawing of insulting graffiti aim to destroy the centuries-old spiritual and moral foundations of Russia, to discredit the traditional values, to foment civil strife, and to implode the country’s sovereignty as a result.
“The State Duma strongly condemns the criminal actions of this kind and finds it necessary to give a most forceful response to the destructive forces extolling anti-religious extremism, vandalism and hooliganism, which ignite hatred towards the Russian Orthodox Church and the religious organizations,” says the statement that was drafted by members of all the four factions represented in the Duma.
The MPs stress the importance of toughening responsibility for the offense of believers’ religious feelings and for the desecration of religious shrines venerated by believers. They indicate that punishment for such offense should become inescapable.
The Duma urges all the political forces in Russia to pool efforts towards the consolidation of national unity, the strengthening of civic peace and concord, and building up the unity of all the Russians on the basis of traditional spiritual values.
“This cause may be facilitated by a further religious education of society and an appropriate dissemination of knowledge among the young people,” the statement stresses.
The Duma voices the confidence that persecutions of the clergy and struggle with religious outlooks should never be replayed again in Russia’s history.