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No extremist probe for sacred texts

November 13, 2013, 17:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A Russian commission on inter-ethnic relations and freedom of religion wants an official investigation to exempt extremist content in religious literature
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MOSCOW, November 13, 16:09 /ITAR-TASS/. A Russian commission on inter-ethnic relations and freedom of religion wants an official investigation to exempt extremist content in religious literature and to free sacred text of conventional faiths from prosecutors' scrutiny.

Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and Islamic and Buddhist organisations in the Russian Civic Chamber will address their appeal to the state prosecutor general next week following debate on Wednesday.

The commission is concerned that law enforcement authorities sometimes “ignore the fact that modern legal language fails to evaluate texts written hundreds of years ago, and full of peculiar religious meanings”. Religious experts fear that those probing extremism do not consult religious scholars and proxies of religious communities.

But the commission also said that “some modern interpretations of ancient texts may be extremist as they are created and disseminated in order to instigate inter-religious and inter-ethnic discord”. This means that they can be banned and that police interest in the texts of various religious organisations that lead to inter-ethnic conflicts is “justified”.

In this climate, the Civic Chamber commission proposes that the inquiry should “exclude from the extremist probe ancient religious texts of religions traditional in Russia as well as other world faiths”.

Other religious literature used by believers for cultic and personal purposes and praying may be examined for compliance with sacred texts, but only with the participation of qualified religion scholars and religious communities, the commission says.

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