16 November 2010, 13:10
Russian specialist denied attendance at European Parliament hearings on religious freedom in Russia
Brussels, November 16, Interfax - The organizers of the European Parliament hearings on religious freedom in Russia have not allowed President of the Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Sectarian Studies and prominent Orthodox authority in present-day religious sects Alexander Dvorkin to attend the hearings on Monday, the Russian specialist told Interfax.
"They were afraid to hear the truth about the activities of religious sects in Russia," Dvorkin said.
Vice President of the European Federation of Centers for Research and Information on Sectarianism (FECRIS) and Chairman of the Justice Ministry's Council of State Experts in Religious Studies, Dvorkin applied to attend the hearings of religious freedom in Russia and of alleged abuses of the law on extremism against religious minorities, set for November 15. The hearings were organized by member of the European Parliament Cornelis de Jong of the Netherlands and by head of the Human Rights Without Frontiers nongovernmental organization Willy Fautre of Belgium. Dvorkin was denied attendance because his application allegedly arrived too late, which was not true, however, according the Russian office at the European Union.
Dvorkin said that as a result of the organizers' technical error he received a copy of Fautre's letter, which describes him as an "odious fighter against sects," and which recommends that he be denied attendance. But the conference was attended by representatives of the United States, including representatives of organizations, funded by sects and lobbying their interests in Russia.
Dvorkin arrived at the European Parliament on November 15, hoping to settle the problem and to get in touch with Russian-speaking member Tatyana Zhdanok of Latvia. But he was denied access to the European Parliament building under the pretext that a pass could not be provided to him due to computer breakdown. Finally, Zhdanok's secretariat secured a pass for Dvorkin, which was given to him on the condition that he would visit Zhdanok's office, but categorically not attend the hearings, of which the organizers informed the Russian Orthodox Church's envoy to the EU.
"My participation in these hearings would have been very limited - just a couple of questions, at best. But even my two possible questions caused panic and hysteria among the organizers. This shows their totalitarian thinking on the one hand and the absence of professionalism on the other. They wanted to launch one more attack of criticism against Russia, using far-fetched 'facts' and situations. Only this way can I explain the absolutely inadequate and anti-democratic reaction from these 'fighters for human rights,' when they learned that their cozy get-together could be joined by a true specialist, who can refute their inventions, using facts," he said.
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