19 November 2012, 16:27
Head of Duma committee proposes to remove provision on prayer rooms in schools from bill
Moscow, November 19, Interfax - Yaroslav Nilov, the head of the State Duma committee on public associations and religious organizations (Liberal Democratic Party faction), has proposed to remove the provision on so-called prayer rooms in education establishments, which is contained in a bill recently passed in the first reading.
"The issue of creating so-called prayer rooms has drawn a broad public response. We have heard different viewpoints from parents, teachers, and representatives of religious organizations. People's concerns are understandable. Society is agitated about the news on violations of people's religious rights. For this reason, I believe it is expedient to eliminate the changes to the law On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations outlining the procedures governing the provision by education establishments of buildings for religious rituals and ceremonies to avoid excessive speculation on this issue," the press service for the committee quoted Nilov as saying.
The bill On Education in the Russian Federation was passed in the first reading in mid-October. At the same time, an appropriate bill was adopted, which amends some legislative acts, including the amendment on freedom of conscience, which allows school administrations to provide buildings for religious events at the request of parents or students (some media reported that the document talks about prayer rooms).
Due to the broad public response, Nilov submitted for the second reading an amendment to the bill "eliminating the provisions relating to religious rituals and special buildings for them in education establishments, maintaining the current state of affairs."
The working group of the State Duma committee on public associations and religious organizations, which is composed of prominent experts and representatives of religious organizations, is now working on a number of amendments to this bill.
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