Forum 18 an organisation who support the right to freedom of religion and who aim to ensure that threats and actions against religious freedom are truthfully reported as quickly as possible across the world report in depth on the banning of the Gita. It seems the Gita is not the only book in the sights of arussian prosecutors.
Russian state censorship increasingly extended nationwide in November to cover Jehovah’s Witness websites – and possibly also Hare Krishna sms announcements, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. A Prosecutor’s Office official claimed to Forum 18 that blocking the websites “isn’t about freedom of conscience or censorship – it’s about restricting access to extremist materials.” Also, four more Jehovah’s Witness publications have been banned nationwide by being added to the Federal List of Extremist Materials. Meanwhile, attempts to ban the Russian translation of a key book for Hare Krishna devotees – the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is – have been delayed. The reason is a delay for an unknown length of time in producing an “expert analysis” before the case can resume. Elsewhere, on 22 December an appeal is due to be heard after the second trial of Jehovah’s Witness Aleksandr Kalistratov on “extremism” charges. Also facing “extremism” charges is a Muslim reader of the works of theologian Said Nursi, Ilham Merazhov. He is challenging the search of his home and the launching of a criminal case against him.
Russian state censorship of religious literature is now extending to websites – and possibly also to Hare Krishna sms announcements, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Some religious books – especially Russian-language translations of works of the late Turkish Muslim theologian Said Nursi and many Jehovah’s Witness publications – have long been banned as “extremist”, but Jehovah’s Witness websites nationwide are now being blocked for carrying copies of their works. “In many of Russia’s cities our websites have been blocked by many providers since early and mid-November,” Grigory Martynov of the Jehovah’s Witnesses told Forum 18 from St Petersburg on 1 December. Meanwhile, attempts to ban the Russian translation of a key book for Hare Krishna devotees – the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is – have been delayed. One of the court-appointed “experts” refused to tell Forum 18 why their analysis had not reached the Tomsk court by the 1 December deadline.