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Forum 18: More than a month since a vaguely-worded law criminalising “offence to religious feelings” came into force in Russia on 1 July, no prosecutions have followed, Forum 18 News Service observes. Yet fears over the Law’s restrictive potential persist. It is the most notorious legal measure concerning freedom of religion or belief to be adopted since President Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in May 2012.
Forum 18: The number of Russian legislative initiatives concerning freedom of religion or belief has risen markedly since President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin in May 2012, Forum 18 News Service observes.
MyFoxNY.com: It’s unrespectful to our country. It’s unrespectful to our citizens, because we are Russians. Maybe we are different from European people and other people from different lands,” Isinbayeva told reporters. “We have our home and everyone has to respect (it). When we arrive to different countries, we try to follow their rules.”
LifeSiteNews: Canada’s newly appointed immigration minister said that Russia is wrong in restricting homosexual propaganda aimed at youth and indicated that refugee claims by Russian homosexuals will be given serious consideration by the Conservative government.
AP: The law on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors” was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on July 29.
US News and World Report: Mizulina’s committee has been responsible for a score of laws and projects promoting traditional Russian values and warning of Russia’s moral and demographic decline, as persistently low birthrates have resulted in a shrinking and aging population. Mizulina proposes to fight this in part by fighting gay relationships and taxing divorce.
AP: The International Olympic Committee is waiting for the Russian government to clarify the anti-gay law that is overshadowing preparations for the Sochi Games.
S. Michael Craven at Battle for Truth: While these latter measures are no doubt draconian, they nonetheless represent a growing realization within Russian society, namely: sexual anarchy has proven devastating to the future of their civilization. Following the collapse of communism, Russia’s fertility rate had fallen to a catastrophic low of 1.17 births to every woman of child-bearing age by 1999, far below the minimum replacement rate of 2.1 required to maintain population stability.
Breitbart: Two forensic surgeons in the Russian republic of Tatarstan have been questioned in connection with accusations they traded in human body parts, officials say.
LifeSiteNews: Speaking at a meeting with Orthodox Christian leaders in Moscow last week, the Russian President said he noted “with alarm” that “in many of the world’s regions, especially in the Middle East and in North Africa inter-confessional tensions are mounting, and the rights of religious minorities are infringed, including Christians and Orthodox Christians.”
Pravda: State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina intends to make further amendments to the Law “On the Protection of Children.” The chairwoman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children put forward a suggestion to punish people for using dirty language in social networks.
AP: A rabbi was shot and gravely wounded Thursday by an unidentified gunman in Russia’s predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan in what officials described as a hate crime.
Catholic Culture: He warned against the belief that “the only real value is free will, and that no one has the right to violate this value, even when a person chooses evil or a socially dangerous behavior.”
Global Post: “The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation,” the statement said. “The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardize this principle.”
Interfax: The Russian Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that found the ban on wearing hijabs, i.e. Muslim head veils, at schools in the Stavropol Territory legal.
Russian President Signs Bills Limiting Founders of Religious Organizations; Banning Adoptions By Same-Sex Couples
Religion Clause Blog: The media reported this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two bills into law. The first enacts changes to Article 9 of the law “On Freedom of Conscience and On Religious Associations” to prohibit certain individuals from founding religious organizations.
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, earlier this month the Russian Duma (lower house of Parliament) passed amendments to the Russian Criminal Code to punish insulting the religious beliefs and feelings of citizens. Yesterday the law was approved by the Federation Council (the upper house of Parliament). (Legislative history in Russian).
Religion Clause Blog: In Russia, the governor of the Astrakhan Region in the southern part of the country announced yesterday that “explicitly religious” clothes and symbols will be banned in the Region’s schools and colleges beginning September 1.
The Hill: The State Department on Wednesday labeled Russia and China as two of the world’s worst sex-trafficking offenders, putting them in the same category as a rogues’ gallery of 21 nations including Iran, Syria and North Korea.
AP: Russia is on its way to formally prohibiting all adoption by same-sex couples and also banning the adoption of Russian children by single people or unmarried couples from countries that allow same-sex marriage.
Independent: Russia’s parliament will debate a controversial law on Tuesday that could see people arrested for behaviour that is deemed to promote homosexuality.
Washington Times: Moscow police detained 300 Muslims after President Vladimir Putin ordered a crackdown on radical Islamists ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.
RT.com: The Russian President has told reporters he was very tired of their persistent interest in his attitude to same sex marriage, but promised to support the ban on adoptions by foreign same sex couples if parliament approves it.
Forum 18: Hundreds of religious communities across Russia are among non-governmental organisations (NGOs) inspected by officials, Forum 18 News Service has found. Check-ups ranged from a simple telephone request for documents to multiple, extensive searches. It “wasn’t simply the initiative of the Prosecutor”, Moscow-based lawyer Konstantin Andreyev told Forum 18. “There’s a political subtext.”
Volokh Conspiracy: Lenta.ru so reports. The bill would criminalize “actions in public, demonstrating clear disrespect to society and committed with the intent to insult the religious feelings of believers,”
Voice of Russia: Roger Kishka, senior lawyer, Alliance Defending Freedom and Andrea Williams, chairman, Christian Concern – UK evalute the consequences of recent Council’s of Europe Parliamentary Assembly resolution devoted to religious freedom.
RT.com: The head of the Upper Chamber, Valentina Matviyenko, told President Putin that the Russian Foreign Ministry was already working on changes to the adoption agreement with France.
Breitbart.com: President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Russia could change its agreements for the adoption of Russian children with France and other Western states that are legalising gay marriage.
Tech Crunch: Governments, even democracies, are not always fans of transparency. According to Google’s brand new transparency report, “government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown”, doubling since the second half of 2012 (1,054 requests vs. 2,285). Brazil took the gold medal of the censorship olympics, with 697 requests, while the United States took 2nd place, with 321 requests.
Religion Clause Blog: USCIRF wants the U.S. to question violations of religious freedom and human rights in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Bangladesh.
The Fight Against Gender Stereotypes And Parental Rights: The Case In France And Other European Countries
Turtle Bay and Beyond: French parents who wish to pass on certain values to their children will clash in the coming months over the Republic’s education system, which the current Government wishes to reform, particularly in relation to the complementary …
Breitbart: I consider the phenomenon called feminism very dangerous,” said the powerful Patriarch Kirill in a speech delivered Tuesday and posted Wednesday on the official Russian Orthodox Church website. “Feminist organisations proclaim a pseudo-freedom of women, which should be manifested outside marriage and family.”
World Bulletin: Russians who convert to Islam are subjected to a variety of persecution and torture by the Russian administration and security forces, according to reports.
Globe and Mail: Russian legislators have given initial approval to a law that would make offences against religion punishable by up to five years in prison after the Pussy Riot protest in Moscow’s main cathedral outraged many in the mainly Orthodox country.
Catholic Culture: Metropolitan Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox Church’s chief ecumenical officer, has urged the new Archbishop of Canterbury not to support female bishops or same-sex marriage.
Religion Clause Blog: Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church met in Rome to discuss cooperation in promoting family values, social services and care for the poor, the Moscow Patriarchate said on Wednesday.
Head of UN development programme says reproductive rights central to female empowerment decries Russia, Malta, Vatican
Guardian: The outcome document of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) must not undermine previous agreements that put women’s sexual and reproductive rights central to their empowerment, the head of the UN development programme said on Wednesday.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: As the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women begins today, two news stories are already disingenuously implying that the Holy See, the Russian Federation, and Iran are effectively enablers of violence committed against women. These and several other UN member states oppose the inclusion of language that could be used to support a right to abortion – a topic that is always controversial within the UN system.
AP: Responding to Dutch assertions that the legislation may be contrary to Russia’s international obligations, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there . . .
Lela Gilbert at Patheos: A few days ago a chilling video appeared on BBC’s website, relating the story of a Coptic Christian man, Victor Schata-Michael, who had fled Egypt with his wife and children because of religious persecution. Schata-Michael was desperate to save his family from dangers that increasingly threaten Egypt’s Coptic community, comprised of 8-10 million Christians.
AFP on Google: Russia expressed “serious worry” Wednesday over the fate of a Russian boy adopted by an American woman who did not reveal that she is a lesbian, Moscow’s latest broadside in a growing war of words over adoption.
De Spiegel: Moscow is currently seeking to make “homosexual propaganda” a prosecutable offense. But in Germany, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has warned Russia’s ambassador that the new legislation could aggravate European-Russian relations.
RT.com: The Russian Lower House has passed at the first reading a bill banning homosexual propaganda towards minors, which has already been labeled by opponents as anti-gay. The bill was supported by 388 MPs with one vote against and one abstentio
AP: Militant Orthodox activists have attacked members of Russia’s embattled gay community protesting against a planned law banning “gay propaganda”.
U.S. court rules on lesbian couple’s Russian child custody dispute | Russian Legal Information Agency
Russian Legal Information Agency: A Californian court has announced the verdict in a custody case involving a Russian child adopted by an American same-sex couple, the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) reports on Monday, citing a copy of the court order.
AP: The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism.”
AP: Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights sought on Thursday to reassure American would-be adoptive parents that they will be allowed to take their children back to the United States. But some Americans with court rulings in their favor say they’re still in legal limbo.
Rasmussen: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 18% of American Adults think the current level of difficulty to adopt in this country is about right. Forty-four percent (44%) feel it is too hard to adopt a child here. Only five percent (5%) believe it’s too easy.
The Blog of the Legal Times: A Washington federal judge today ordered the Russian government to pay $50,000 for each day officials refuse to comply with a court order calling for the return of Jewish religious texts seized in the early twentieth century.
Religion Clause Blog: In remarks published last Sunday, the eve of Christmas in the Russian Orthodox calendar, Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, urged the Russian government to take a careful approach in new legislation to respond to insults against religion
Baptist Press: Russia’s ban on adoptions by American parents, considered a retaliatory response to U.S. sanctions against Russia for human rights abuses, will instead punish vulnerable orphans languishing in the foreign country, Christians at the forefront of the issue fear.
Moscow Times: President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed new legislation prescribing norms for all levels of education and setting new rules for teachers’ salaries and school fees, a statement on the Kremlin’s website said.
Catholic Culture: Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the chief foreign-affairs spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate, said that it would be unjust to send orphans abroad because “they won’t get a truly Christian upbringing.”
AP: resident Vladimir Putin says a draft bill banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children is a legitimate response to a new U.S. law that calls for sanctions on Russians deemed to be human rights violators. But he has not committed to signing it.
Interfax: The share of Orthodox believers in the country has dropped by 6%, from 80% in 2009, while the share of Muslims has grown by 3% to 7% in the same period.
AP: Russia’s parliament on Wednesday gave overwhelming preliminary approval to a measure banning Americans from adopting Russian children, a harsh retaliatory move against U.S. human rights legislation.
AP: Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday strongly criticized a proposal in the country’s parliament that would ban Americans from adopting Russian children.
C-FAM: A UN committee of legal experts reprimanded the Russian Federation last month for allowing the Ryazan province of Russia to enforce a law that bans the promotion of homosexuality among minors as part of a national effort to protect children from early sexualization, and related adverse health consequences.
RT.com: “A certain control over homosexual behavior is necessary in a democratic society,” says a senior Russian MP as the State Duma prepares a bill on the nationwide ban of gay ‘propaganda’. The first parliamentary reading on the draft federal law prohibiting “homosexual propaganda” is scheduled for December 19.
NCPA Policy Digest: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) have started to plan their own development bank, as well as a bailout fund to help many countries around the world. This is done in response to the growing dissatisfaction of Western banking institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), says The Diplomat.
Voice of America: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law expanding the definition of treason, a move critics say gives the government broad authority to brand anyone a traitor.
U.N. Plotting Takeover Of Internet: ‘Several nations are set on asserting intergovernmental control’
Steve Elwart at WorldNetDaily: The hope of several countries is that they can expand the ITU’s jurisdiction to the Internet, replacing the current governing system with one that is controlled by a U.N. bureaucracy. The member nations will also consider an “Internet tax” designed to collect money from more affluent nations and redistribute it to poorer nations to improve their Internet infrastructure. ITRs do not currently include regulation of the Internet within their jurisdiction, since they have not been revised since the beginning of the Internet communications era.
Boston Globe: A box in which parents can leave their babies anonymously without any legal risk opened Wednesday in a town in northwestern Russia — part of an effort that activists hope will save many young lives.
Reuters: Gunmen shot dead a Muslim religious leader in Russia’s Dagestan region on Tuesday in an attack likely to worsen a spiral of militant violence that threatens Moscow’s hold on the restive North Caucasus.
Voice of America: As gray winter skies descend on Moscow, Russians are adjusting to a political winter. Since taking office nearly six months ago, President Vladimir Putin has methodically reduced civic space in Russia by advocating new laws on treason, blasphemy, libel, Internet censorship and curbs on public protest.
Benjamin Bull at Townhall: Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in January 1973, more than 55 million babies have been aborted in America. If a number like “55 million” is hard to grasp, think of it this way—if you added together the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and San Francisco, you would only have about 26.1 million people—less than half the number aborted.
Religion Clause Blog: Russia’s Duma is considering amendments to the country’s criminal code to specifically outlaw causing of religious offense.
AP: A court in Moscow ruled Monday that an anti-Islam film that has sparked violent demonstrations around the world can no longer be shown in Russia.
Baptist Press: An isolated incident? A misunderstanding? Analysts watching the current climate in the former Cold War country don’t think so: “This destruction of the church is about as concrete of evidence as you can get that something very bad and very troubling is taking place,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. “This could not have happened without the backing, support, and implicit blessing of the police.”
Fox News: Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov wrote on Twitter Tuesday that access to the online video sharing site will be blocked in Russia if its owner, Google, fails to abide by a court order banning the showing of the film that was produced in the U.S. and mocks Muslims and the prophet Muhammad.
Radio Free Europe: Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled that a controversial ban on gay propaganda does not extend to public demonstrations and discussions of gay rights.
ChristianPersecution.info: A congregation of evangelical Christians in Russia’s capital Moscow were without a church building Tuesday, September 11, after workers with bulldozers and other equipment destroyed their Holy Trinity Pentecostal Church complex, protected by local police, witnesses said.