29 April 2022, 12:39
The Russian Foreign Ministry advised Washington to take care of religious freedoms in the United States
Moscow, April 29, Interfax – The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected accusations from the United States of violating religious freedoms in Russia and pointed to gaps in this area in the United States itself.
"Let's give a piece of advice to the Americans – take a closer look at what's happening in your own country. Independent sources, for example, note an unprecedented increase in anti-Semitism in the United States. During the escalation of the armed conflict in the spring of 2021 between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip more than 200 cases of harassment, vandalism and physical violence against Jews have been registered in the United States," Gennady Askaldovich, Special Representative of the Russian Foreign Minister for cooperation in ensuring the right to religious freedom, said in a comment to the annual report of the US Commission on Religious Freedom in the world.
"The one who has a clear conscience and everything is in order in his own house is free to give advice. This cannot be said about the United States," the diplomat said.
The representative of foreign ministry pointed out that the authors of the American report gave Russia "hackneyed cliches of recommendations" again. "Without considering it necessary to justify ourselves, we would nevertheless like to note the following. Our country has a clear and verified system of legislation regulating the sphere of religious activity. These are our laws, and they apply to our country. And who better than us to know how tough they should be," Askaldovich continued.
The diplomat mentioned how Russians suffered in the recent past from various kinds of destructive religious organizations. "In Russia, they remember how, for example, in the 1990s, representatives of "Scientologists" literally knocked on every door and imposed their religion, and then deceived people and siphoned multibillion-dollar sums abroad. We also remember well the rampant radical extremism in the North Caucasus, which, under the cover of fashionable religious trend in Islam - Wahhabism, created a hotbed of international terrorism there, literally devouring our country," the representative of the foreign ministry cited examples.
According to him, now the United States is pushing Russia again to be lenient towards terrorists and radicals from Hizb ut-Tahrir, figures of the so-called Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, reproach for the expulsion of Scientologists, the closure of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect.
At the same time, Askaldovich noted that more than 31 thousand religious organizations representing more than 60 different faiths are functioning normally and successfully engaged in their activities in Russia. "Russia has achieved lasting confessional peace in society, and we value it because we know what religious strife is fraught with. A simple human example shows how united our people look now – during the liberation of Donbass during a military special operation, Orthodox people prayed for the well-being of Chechen special forces soldiers, Muslims by religion, and then for themselves," the diplomat writes.
According to him, the American representatives are acting selectively again for Ukraine was not included in the list of countries of "special surveillance", where schismatics commit seizures of churches of the canonical Orthodox Church, commit arbitrariness and violence against priests and parishioners. "We understand why, we know that it was the Americans who stood at the origins of the church schism in Ukraine, covered up and are covering up the lawlessness committed by their wards," the representative of the foreign ministry added.