A draft paper on the prevention of religious extremism in Russia due to be presented at a joint session of three government bodies next month claims that several churches pose a serious threat to Russian national security. Extracts from the paper which have been published in the Gazeta newspaper, say that the Roman Catholic Church, is accused of declaring "the territory of Russia to be an ecclesiastical province" and of winning over "individual priests and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church as converts to Catholicism". Protestants are accused of recruiting members "under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid." The paper expresses concern about the growing presence of "foreign pseudo-religious communities" such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Moonies and Scientologists), satanists and "religious groupings based on various strands of Eastern doctrines". It says Islamic extremists, who plan to "set at odds with one another the interests of Russian Muslims and those of the state and society" pose a particular threat as younger, educated graduates of foreign centres of Islamic religious education replace loyal and law-abiding clerics". The head of the Catholic Church in Russia, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, dismissed the association of the Catholic Church with "such a frightening phenomenon as terrorism" as "unheard of," while a statement by the Moscow- based Slavic Centre for Law and Justice and the Institute of Religion and Law described the draft paper as "scandalously incompetent and anti- constitutional". Source: Keston Institute
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