Moscow: angry protest at 'anti-religious' art exhibition

 Six people were arrested, and later released pending investigation in Moscow at the weekend, after they defaced several items at an art show which they said was critical of religion. The exhibition, entitled "Caution: Religion" depicts issues as religious fundamentalism and church-state relations in graphic images. Museum director Yuri Samodurov said the exhibition was not intended to be anti-religious but said more explanatory notes could have been included. "Some were fairly revolting works which could shock people," he told AFP news agency. "It's modern art." He said nearly all the works, which had been daubed with paint and smashed, had been destroyed, but that the exhibition would continue until the end of the month with the damage done by the protesters included in the display. The Russian Orthodox Church has condemned the show as "criminal." Viktor Malukhin, head of communications at the Moscow Patriarchate, told the BBC that the exhibition encouraged extremism and intolerance. The head of the Orthodox Church external affairs department said the authorities should have recognised that the exhibition was in breach of laws on extremism and offended religious people. It should not have been allowed to go ahead, said Metropolitan Kirill. "I am deeply convinced that in any society, and notably in Russia, we should be sensitive to people's religious feelings, and any insult to religious feelings should be qualified as a crime," he told Interfax news agency.

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