Jehovah’s Witnesses may soon be regarded as an “extremist” organization in Russia.
The Sun reports thatthe Russian Justice Ministry has filed a lawsuit at the country’s Supreme Court in order to shut down the group’s national headquarters near St Petersburg.
According to the Supreme Court’s website, the justice ministry’s application will be considered April 5, 2017.
The Russian branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses has reacted to this, adding that this label would affect all of it's 175,000 followers.
“Millions of believers all over the world consider the ministry’s actions a big mistake.
“If this lawsuit is successful, it will entail catastrophic consequences for freedom of religious worship in Russia,” a statement read.
Jehovah’s Witnesses became a recognised religion in Russia in 1991. They got renewed in 1999.
However, this has not stopped them from getting harassed by law enforcement on several ocassions.
In 2009, the release of the Russian version of its publication, The Watchtower, was barred by a court. Another court ruled that the group’s website is an extremist publication in 2015.
Recently, in February, the group’s national headquarters was raided, 70,000 documents were confiscated and taken to the Russian General Prosecutor’s office.
The group has been compared to a cult by local prosecutors while some have called it a danger to Russian families.
Here in Nigeria and other parts of the world, they are known for their door-to-door preaching, and distributing The Watchtower and Awake!
They believe that Jehovah is the only true God, they do not celebrate birthdays, they also reportedly refuse blood transfusions.
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Does any of these mean they are an extremist group? I don't think so.
Every religious group is known for their different beliefs, these are the things that differentiate one from another. These things make Catholics different from protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses different from Deeper Life and so on.
So, should we go around labelling others simply because of these differences? I don't think so.
What do you think? Don't forget to leave your comments below.