FYI, this article is very, very long. It's about both the JWs and the Muslims, but don't give up reading when only the Muslims are discussed because the JWs are brought back into the article again and again. Lots of food for thought and for discussion too.
21 September 2015
RUSSIA: Religious literature banned and blocked
By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 News Service
Outrage among Muslims followed the August banning by a Sakhalin court of a Koranic commentary as "extremist", apparently basing the decision on statements of monotheism in Koranic verses. Three appeals have now been lodged, one of them by the Prosecutor's Office which requested the original ban. Widespread public protests have been successful following earlier religious literature banning cases in Russia, Forum 18 News Service notes. Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod have failed to overturn both a ban on two more of their publications and an order that they should pay for the court-ordered "expert analysis" used to prove the texts' "extremism". Muslims in Pervouralsk have failed to overturn a decision that the FSB security service will conduct an "expert analysis" of works prosecutors are seeking to have banned as "extremist", again at the expense of the religious community. And Jehovah's Witnesses have failed to overturn a ban on 4,000 of their Bibles and other literature confiscated at the border as "supposedly prohibited from being imported".
In a clutch of recent cases, religious believers and communities have so far failed to overturn court-ordered bans and import denials for religious literature prosecutors claim is or might be "extremist", Forum 18 News Service has learned. At least three appeals against a ban on a Koranic commentary - which provoked widespread Muslim outrage in Russia - have been lodged in Sakhalin in Russia's Far East. Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses have failed to overturn other bans or are still battling to prevent them.
In at least two cases, the religious communities have been required to pay for the "specialists" who will conduct the "expert analyses" to be used for the prosecution, even though the communities do not want the "expert analyses" and did not initiate the court proceedings to have the works banned (see below).
Any Russian court can declare a work (book, leaflet, song, slogan, video, website or webpage) "extremist". The Justice Ministry is then empowered to place such a work on its Federal List of Extremist Materials. Numerous Muslim and Jehovah's Witness works have been placed on the list, together with several Falun Gong and one Catholic publication (see F18News 20 March 2015 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2049).
Ownership of a work on the list can lead to prosecution under Administrative Code Article 20.29 (mass distribution of extremist materials) for any individual or organisation found in possession of even one copy (see F18News 15 May 2015 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2062 and F18News 31 March 2015 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2052).
READ MORE OF THIS ARTICLE AT: http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2103