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Russia's Duma endorses bill on immunity of scriptures of main religions

November 11, 2015, 19:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"The Bible, the Quran, the Tanach, and the Kangyur, as well as their contents or quotes from them cannot be proclaimed to be extremist materials," the bill says
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© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. The State Duma has endorsed a presidential bill granting immunity to the holy scriptures of Russia's four traditional regions the Bible, the Quran, the Tanach, and the Kangyur from court rulings, which might classify their texts as extremist ones.

President Vladimir Putin submitted the bill on October 14 in a de facto reaction to the ruling of a judge in the Far-Eastern city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, who declared texts from the Quran to have an extremist nature.

"The Bible, the Quran, the Tanach, and the Kangyur, as well as their contents or quotes from them cannot be proclaimed to be extremist materials," the bill says.

"The President's initiative to protect the holy scriptures and to rule out the association of their texts with extremism has been met with profound understanding in the reality where our peoples live side by side with one another in line with Russia’s Constitution and the law on the freedom of consciousness," said deputy Irina Yarovaya, the chairperson of the Duma committee for security and counteraction to corruption said.

"In fact, we’re setting an example in front of the eyes of the whole world on the basis of our traditions and faith," she said at a plenary session of her committee. "In fact, we’re setting an

Sergei Popov, first deputy chairman of the United Russia ruling party’s caucus in parliament, said: "We can see quite a few cases today where the traditional norms of morality the values, amid which the European civilization was cradled."

A whole range of markers of these religions are evidencing prohibitions, he added.

"In this sense, Russia is the only country where everyone speaks openly about the importance of protecting our fundamental spiritual values," Popov said.

"For us as believers and clerics, and for the entire people, it’s a matter of principle to know the government and the President, who is the guarantor of our Constitution, see these problems and offer practical ways of resolving them," he said.

As TASS said earlier, the judge of a court in the Russian Far-Eastern city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk passed a ruling at the beginning of August that answered a lawsuit filed by a local prosecutor to recognize the ‘Plea (Dua) to God’ as an extremist material as it contained quotes from the Quran reading "It is You we worship and You we ask for help (Al-Fatihah)" and "Say, [O Muhammad], ‘I only invoke my Lord and do not associate with Him anyone’." (Al-Jinn)

Following the ruling, the President of the Chechen Republic, Kadyrov said the judge and the prosecutor were shaitans, or the incarnations of devil, and provocateurs.

On September 11, the Prosecutor’s Office of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk filed a petition against the ruling. It said the judge had passed an erroneous decision, since the initial prosecutors requested initially to recognize only the opinions of the author of the ‘Plea (Dua) to God’ rather than the Quranic ayats as extremist ones.

On Thursday, November 5, the court of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk annulled the August uling and entertained the prosecutor’s appeal.

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