06 May 2010, 13:49
Chechen president slams U.S. govt commission criticizing religious freedom in Russia
Grozny, May 6, Interfax - Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has denied that Russians lack religious freedom after Russia was named in a U.S. government report as a country violating freedom of religion.
"I was extremely perplexed by the contents of the U.S. governmental commission's report analyzing the observance of religious freedoms in Russia and, moreover, suggesting some direct action measures to affect this situation," Kadyrov told journalists in Grozny.
"We know what religion is and how to pray, we know what our people need, and we are doing all we can to improve our people's lives. And we know that nobody in America has anything to do with how the Chechen people live and what they care about," he said.
"Step by step, we are resolving most complex postwar period problems engendered not least by foreign special services' efforts. Therefore, we will cope with our problems ourselves and can well do without suggestions from someone who knows nothing about the religion of Islam," Kadyrov said.
"In the course of special operations against terrorists in Chechnya, people having documents of U.S. citizens were identified repeatedly among the thugs' leaders or their instructors," he said.
"It is incomprehensible what cruel persecution of Muslims in Russia and what obstacles imposed by the authorities in the area of religious education the U.S. is talking about," he said.
"We know well what the U.S. support leads to. You can see the results in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, which the commission also criticizes for not observing religious freedoms," he said.
"The U.S. acts brutally exactly in countries where most people practice Islam. Against this background, it is a sacrilege to raise concerns about the observance of religious freedoms in Russia. The authors of the report live in the past and do not know anything about changes that have occurred in Russia on the whole and Chechnya in particular," Kadyrov said.
A new report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom placed Russia on its watch list for close monitoring of serious violations of religious freedom alongside countries like Afghanistan and Byelorussia.