Not a Good Day for JW's in Republic of Georgia

by Kenneson 6 Replies latest social current

  • Kenneson

    An earlier story by Radio Free Europe and Justin Burke entitled "U.S. Embassy Asks Georgian Authorities to Protect Jehovah's Witnesses" proved quite accurate.

    Today's Georgia Times carried an article under the heading "Orthodox Followers Smahed up the Jehovian Congress." It seems that JWs were planning some type of convention in Tbilsi, when approximately 100 men dressed in black raided the place and burned the building down.

  • Kenneson

    More light on the topic appear in several sources today, including Yahoo News, the Sacramento Bee, etc. I found the next article at very interesting. It is entitled "Assailants attack Jehovah's Witnesses, disrupting Congress."

  • jack2

    Odd how the story terms it an "accident" when in fact "incident" would be more like it.

  • Kenneson

    The Boston Globe has moved the article to page 4 of the Nation/World Section of the news. It is not yet in the Archives and cannot be retrieved by Search.

  • Kenneson

    Since it is so difficult to find, here it is.

    Tbilsi, Georgia (AP) Assailants attacked a group of Jehovah's Witnesses in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and set fire at the home of one of its members, disrupting plans to held a religious congress there, a lawyer for the group said Friday.

    Supporters of Vasily Mkalavishvili, a defrocked Georgian Orthodox priest who rails against evangelical groups, blocked off roads leading into the town of Kaspi, 45 miles west of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, where Jehovah's Witnesses planned to hold a meeting, said lawyer Manuchar Tsimintiya.

    The crowd stopped buses heading into town Friday and tried to force passengers to make the sign of the cross, which is a tradition in Orthodox Christianity but not among Jehovah's Witnesses. Those who refused were atacked verbally and treated roughly, in some cases dragged out of the buses by force, Tsimintiya said. Police did not intervene he said.

    In a separate pre-dawn attack Thursday, unidentified assailants broke into the yard of Ushangi Bunturi, a Jehovah's Witness in Kaspi who planned to host the congress, and burned a stage that was to be used for the event. Later, on Thursday night 25 followers of Mkalavishvili broke into the yard, burning religious literature and damaging some equipment, Tsimintiya said.

    Local law enforcement officials had approached Bunturi several times, asking him to refuse to host the Jehovah's Witness congress because they couldn't guarantee security, Tsimintiya said. The authorities forced Bunturi to sign a letter taking full responsibility for the event, but he added a footnote sayhing he had been forced to sign the letter.

    About 1,000 Jehovah's Witnesses had been expected to gather at Bunturi's house, where they have held congresses since 1996.

    According to the Interfax news agency, the U.S. Embassy released a statement saying it had expressed concern to Georgia's leadership about the disrutption of the congress. After President Eduard Shevardnadze met Fridaynight with U.S. Ambassador Richard Miles and a visiting U.S. Congressman, Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, a Georgian official said Shevardnadze and the government "strongly condemned the rampage," Interfax reported.

    The U.S. Embassy could not be reached for comment.

    Mkalavishvili, a fiery speaker who was defrocked seven years ago by the Georgian Orthodox Church, opposes the activities of Baptists, Pentecostalists and other evangelical Christian groups that have sprung up in Georgia since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

    His followers have frequently attacked Jehovah's Witnesses, disrupted their meetings, and burned books and brochures printed by the group.

    More than 70 percent of Georgians are Orthodox Christians, though only a fraction of that number regularly attend church.

  • Kenneson

    Photos and more in New York Times under "Attacks on Minority Faiths Rise in Soviet Russia."

  • Faraon

    Instead of burning the building, they should learn from them

    Shun them, not even giving them jobs, buying things from them, etc. Just like they would do if they were in the majority.

    Educate the multitudes about them.

    Send them to a Muslim country to preach.

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