2015-10-19 10:58:00

Rabbi Kogan surprised with critics of USA addressed to Russia for violating religious freedoms and urges Americans not to worry

Moscow, October 19, Interfax - Vice president of the Congress of the Jewish Religious Communities and Organizations in Russia rabbi Zinovy Kogan believes annual report of the US State Department on religious freedom in the world concerning Russia does not stand any criticism.

"The State Department report on violating religious freedom in Russia is surprising as usual, every year Americans quote the same 'facts' to confirm that they are right. It doesn't stand any critics," the rabbi told Interfax-Religion.

Kogan points out that Russia opens new churches, reconstructs mosques, community centers, synagogues, Jewish religious organizations are re-registered in Crimea as well as Muslim and Christian organization, not only Orthodox, but also Protestant.

Kogan believes that Crimean government and its leader Sergey Aksyonov spare no effort to harmonize interreligious relations and relations of religious organizations with local authorities.

However, the rabbi pointed out to certain incidents happened when Crimea joined the Russian Federation.

"Inscription on the wall of a synagogue made the rabbi of Simferopol leave his community and run, but it was conjuncture cowardice. It was a reason for him, but the community still exists, it celebrates feasts and joined centralized Russian organizations," he said.

Kogan also mentioned Russian President's legislative initiative banning to try holy scriptures of traditional for Russia religions in courts. The rabbi is sure this step "assures that nothing should destabilize state and society."

He reminded that Russia has many-centuries experience of joint living, co-existence of religions, and "they can only envy it."

"I have recently visited the international readings of the Koran, the Russian church officials also attended it, the atmosphere there was so friendly, so cordial. We are not afraid of each other, we feel at home as before. The State Department should not worry!" he said.

As was reported, the US State Department criticized Russia in its annual report on religious freedom in the world, especially for actions with some religious communities in Crimea.