The Salvation Army has been told to quit Moscow, after ten years of working in the Russian capital. Lawyers representing the the church, announced on Friday that they would appeal against the ruling issued last month by the Tagensky district court. Speaking at a press conference held at the British Embassy in Moscow on 4 October, the international leader of the Salvation Army, General John Gowans, said he was surprised by the Tagensky district court's decision. He said: "I would have hoped that after ten years the Salvation Army would have proved to any wise observer that it is a useful thing to have around - why Moscow would prefer to see a Christian church with a strong social conscience liquidated doesn't make sense." He emphasized the Salvation Army's legitimacy by pointing out that it was a founder member of the World Council of Churches, whose representative was invited to lead all other Christian churches in prayer for the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in America during a service in London's Westminster Abbey on 30 September. General Gowans told Keston that he was unable to recall any country in the world where the Salvation Army had encountered difficulties similar to those in Moscow. Although asked to curtail its work in Algeria, he said, the church could be considered active in China since it was functioning in Hong Kong, and has even managed to operate for a long time without compromising its principles in Cuba. The Salvation Army's appeal against the unconstitutionality of Article 27 Part 4 of the law on religion was acknowledged by the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on 10 September. A hearing date for the case should set around the beginning of December.
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