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Doorstep Ban for Russian Witnesses

Search for new converts may be hindered.

JEHOVAH’S Witnesses could be banned from carrying out their preaching work on the doorsteps of Russian householders if proposals from one of the country’s top ministries are approved.

 The proposal has been made after Russia’s Expert Council of the Ministry of Justice re-registered the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a religion on May 5th (see page 8 for details).

After coming to its decision to re-register the religion, the Ministry demanded that certain amendments had to be introduced into the charter of Jehovah’s Witnesses Russian organisation.

The main demand was to exclude preaching at the doorstep.

The law on religion of 1997 says nothing specific against this activity but the Ministry officials insist that as this method of preaching was not mentioned in the law, it should not be in the

charter either.

The lawyer representing the Jehovah’s Witnesses was  told that the Ministry receives telephone complaints from members of the public who object to Jehovah’s Witnesses calling at their doors as ‘arousing displeasure’.

Another demand was that the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre draw up contracts with its voluntary workers.

The Centre was against this because it might be interpreted as hiring workers commercially.

Sergei Vassilev, one of the leaders of the Moscow Jehovah’s Witness community, said that in his opinion the Ministry was trying to establish a mechanism for applying pressure on Jehovah’s Witnesses in the future.

Concern will keep readers informed of any decisions made.

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