|5/17/2005: Russia: Defining Religious Extremism in Russia|
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom invite you to a briefing by
"Religious extremism" is understood in at least two ways in Russia. The first, associated with so-called "totalitarian sects," results in danger for individual religious practices. The second is related to claims that religion is used as the basis for political extremism. These two views of "religious extremism" are vaguely defined in Russian law. The Russian public is very frightened of religious extremism. As a result, there have been unjustified legal sanctions against various religious groups, such as the 2004 ban on the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow or the court ban on a book, written in the 18th century, by the founder of the Wahhabi sect. Alexander Verkhovsky, a long-time researcher of extremism in Russia, will review these interpretations and describe how they constitute, in his view, a danger to religious liberty in Russia.