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US International Religious Freedom Report biased — Russian Foreign Ministry

July 30, 2014, 18:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, July 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report was biased.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said the report would raise legitimate doubts in many countries.

“We have noted the US State Department’s new report on religious freedom in the world. We would like to stress the continued partiality and politicization of the American side in preparing such documents on human rights issues,” he said. “We are convinced that the fairness of this US State Department product will raise legitimate doubts in a number of countries,” the diplomat said.

“As for the Russian section of the report, again it contains a set of insinuations and doubtful interpretations of internal Russian processes. Washington still refuses to notice the big and consistent work our country is doing to ensure peaceful and constructive co-existence of all traditional religions that are practiced in the Russian Federation,” Dolgov said.

“The report particularly referred to the federal law protecting people’s religious convictions and feelings from insult as an example of a ‘crackdown’ on the Russian citizens’ rights. This is an awkward attempt to turn the issue upside down. Amendments to the Russian Penal Code adopted last year aim to counter violations of people’s right to the freedom of conscience and religion in our country,” the diplomat said.

“Speaking of real problems regarding the freedom of conscience and religion in the world, we would like to reaffirm the serious concern of the international human rights community about the deteriorating situation in this respect in the United States itself. According to the relevant non-governmental organisations, including American ones, there are more than 30 organisations in the United States that advocate ‘Islamic conspiracy’ theories. American sociologists believe that 15-20% of the US population can be regarded as rabid Xenophobes. And about as many Americans believe that the advocates of Islam must be prohibited from working in the government,” Dolgov said.

He cited the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s data as indicating that over 80% of hate crimes committed in the US were racially, religiously or ethnically motivated.

“We would like to remind Washington one more time that the Russian Federation is a unique multi-confessional state with centuries-old traditions of peaceful and constructive co-existence of people exercising different religious beliefs. This work will continue to proceed effectively in compliance with international human rights laws,” Dolgov said.

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