Witnesses mobilise global response to threat of Russia ban

JEHOVAH’S Witnesses are mobilising a global response to Russia’s systematic attack on religious freedoms, which could have dire consequences for 175 000 congregants, the organisation has said.

BY STAFF REPORTER

This followed that country’s decision to criminalise religious literature, places of worship known as Kingdom Halls and criminalising the preaching work of Witnesses in over 2 300 congregations under the guise of fighting extremism.

Witnesses’ spokesperson John Hunguka yesterday said the global letter-writing campaign was a direct appeal to Kremlin and Supreme Court officials for relief. The letters should be sent no later than April 1.

Hunguka said the Witnesses’ global campaign was not without precedent. “Nearly 20 years ago, Witnesses wrote to defend their fellow worshippers in Russia in response to a smear campaign by some members of the government in power at the time. Additionally, Witnesses have initiated past letter-writing campaigns to motivate government officials to end persecution of Witnesses in other countries, including Jordan, Korea, and Malawi,” Hunguka said.

He said if the ban was confirmed on April 5 Russia could liquidate some 400 registered Kingdom Halls known in Russia as Local Religious Organisations.

“The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is inviting the over eight million Witnesses worldwide, including Zimbabwe to participate. We respectfully request the Russian Federation to among other things – stop the repression of Jehovah’s Witnesses in its territory; to cease misapplying legislation on extremism to the peaceful worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses and to ensure that the Witnesses can peacefully enjoy freedom of religion and assembly without interference as guaranteed by the Constitution of that country,” Hunguka said.

He added: “we welcome the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with representative of the Russian government in Zimbabwe, Mr Sergey V Bakharev.”

Some of the publications outlawed by Russia include My Book of Bible Stories – which teaches basic truths to people willing to know more about the Truth and have denied the importation of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, a Bible translation published by the Witnesses.

“On March 15, 2017, Russia’s Ministry of Justice represented by its first deputy minister SA Gerasimov filed a claim with the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to label the Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia as extremist and liquidate it. The claim also seeks to ban the activities of the Administrative Centre. If the Supreme Court upholds this claim, the Witnesses’ national headquarters near St Petersburg will be shut down,” the organisation also said in a statement.

“The branch property, as well as places of worship used by Witnesses throughout the country, could be seized by the State. Additionally, individual Jehovah’s Witnesses would become subject to criminal prosecution for merely carrying out their worship activities. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the claim on April 5.”


“The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses wants to heighten attention to this critical situation,” stated David A. Semonian, a spokesman at the Witnesses’ world headquarters.

“Prosecuting non-violent, law-abiding citizens as if they were terrorists is clearly a misapplication of anti-extremist laws. Such prosecution is based on completely false grounds.”

“Reading the Bible, singing, and praying with fellow worshippers is clearly not criminal,” Semonian added. “We hope that our global letter-writing campaign will motivate Russian officials to stop this unjustifiable action against our fellow worshippers.”

43 Comments

  1. Funny, but in any other situation, Americans would be bashing russia for overstepping human rights…. But suddenly they are all like “GOOD!! WE HATE THEM TOO!!. if thats not prophesy what is? Jesus said preaching the word would be hated. If you find your faith and church have little or no opposition at all, then Jesus was a liar in your regard. If all you have to do is preach the word itself, and people call the police? try to lie to the police as to what youre doing in the neighborhood? then thats the same sort of thing done to Jesus. they called his efforts as trying to Subvert the government did they not? then they said that he was trying to subvert the church and he was not ONE OF THEM right? just like the Churches will claim jehovahs witnesses are not Christian…a lie. they will claim to be ex jws, and their facebook lives are clearly showing a past, as never have been over several decades. They have past lives of being active in the church however.

    Funny how there are people that go to page after page, story after story and make fake facebook accounts dedicated to nothing but bashing jehovahs witnesses, yet they are not seen as “religious hate”. Like any hate group, they feel they are spreading truths. Nazis feel that way about Jews do they not? Or Klansmen about blacks. they feel they are spreading truths, and news not said by media, right?

    Nonetheless, they are still a hate group. AAWA is such a group. Organized, and telling its members to make fake accounts …So when you see these people posting against jws on facebook, check their accounts. they are all friends with one another…have new accounts, have cartoons as images, etc.
    the people pushing their hategroup website, will soon arrive. Mark my words.

    But they will not want to speak about the bible…they will only want to speak about people sitting in the seat next to you in the meetings. they will not want to bring up the bible for they themselves are not interested in that. they just have hate for the people. Just like the people in Peter’s day, and Stephen’s day. they were not interested in logic regarding scripture..they were interested in blood.

    They themselves are connected with atheists, LGBT groups, wiccans, Other church members, pro war people, and yet will want to tell you how JWs are this and that. they dont have any alternative…as long as you dont listen to JWS!

    this is like a football game. who goes after the man without the ball? no one. But if you have the ball, the defense comes at you.
    Satan doesnt care about your church activities, if you really dont have the “ball of truth” potentially in your hand in the first place. you can talk till youre blue in the face. But If you start talking about truths…THATS when he is concerned. You then have the ball in your hand.
    AND ALL the defence will come at you. I dont care how small you are…

    You will find ANY POST THAT IS PRO JW will be quickly attacked by other posters… but anyone bashing jws regardless of the OP will be praised.

    Again…what did Jesus say? either Jesus was a lie or he wasnt. If you are an atheist and have been brainwashed into thinking that Jesus didnt exist, I dont care what you feel. Youre getting your facts from the history channel and Facebook MEMES. And if youre an atheist, why are you worried about a specified faith within a sea of faiths in the first place, if they only make up less than 1% of the planet?

    1. JW are Good Peoples don`t harm any person, I support them.

      True Followers of Christianity…

      Thanks

      1. Beautifully said. I wanted TRUTH. Studied so many diverse religions. I was rude to Witnesses who came to my door. Then one day I read something that I could not refute. So I began studying that religion too.–and I said to myself: “self!! You have found THE TRUTH. . . Still find myself inwardly challenging what I contine to learn, which I suspect is a good thing.

    2. There a cult and need to be banned.
      Have ruined so many people’s lives!

      1. Many lives ruined really? You must be in the wrong places where you live dude and we are not a cult you dont even know what you are saying ?

        1. read my mind. Jehovah’s Witnesses are actually doing the opposite of ruining so many people’s lives, they are saving them!

        2. Yes many lives ARE ruined by JW’s blood policies, two-witness rule for abuse victims and lack of reporting to authorities, practice of shunning former members (including their families). You should look up the BITE model of cult mind control. JW’s utilize every single tactic listed, and I know..I was one for 22 years.

      2. For Truth Seeker: It’s a sad thing when a person is misereable and instead oof looking inward has to swing out. There now! I feel so much better. That’s like wetting on your leg for a nice warm feeling. A quote from Hamlet: “This above all, be true to yourself and you cannot be false to any man.”

      3. There is a thing a called freedom of religion, its a human rights thing. We have that in America. Although I am sure that you are to stupid understand what that is.

      4. sorry, we read english in america, not idiot.

        1. that was for truth seeker.

      5. Mr Truth Seeker, did they ruin your life? Like you were decent before and they made you start smoking and killing?
        You are the complete opposite of what you name implies ‘Truth Seeking’
        Please find out more truth about this people and stop the blind and unguided hate.

  2. Thanks!

    Speaking truth to a world blinded by darkness takes real courage. I have often wondered how anyone could be a part of a Christian Religion that practices conformity. People willing to ignore bible truth’s in order to tickle the ears of non believers to gain large membership numbers (2 Timothy 4:3). These people have only a form of godly devotion but always prove false to it’s power (2 Timothy 3:1-7). How apt are the words found in John 15:17-27 and John 16:1-11 today as to the description of what the price and optics of practicing a pure and truthful form of Christianity would bring. How revealing are the words of James 4:4, in application of those who have found false friendship with the world and yet hate those laboring for the good news; (Galatians 2:4-6) just as Paul was persecuted in his day by so called fellow believers. So, today Jehovah’s Witnesses find themselves now and in the past at odds with a world seeking to oppress anyone who is striving to remain morally and spiritually clean.

    Marcus, keep speaking truth to power and calling out the hypocritical silence of professed Christians and the media and so called advocates of human rights who are not speaking out against this unjust persecution of non-violent law abiding citizens.

    Tami

  3. hamish Maxwell

    please let good loving people sing praise and study thoroughly Gods written word and as Jesus did tell others the good news

  4. Russia is damn right in at least labelling this cult as extremist and damaging. That’s the truth!
    An organization that does nothing else than label other people, groups, government as ”Worldy”, ”Great Beast” , ”Prostitutes” is now suddenly hurt by being labelled.
    Russia should not only deal with this highly damaging and extremist group but should also ban the likes of them like Mormon, scientologist, etc high control groups that instructs parents, children, families, loved ones under the threat of being ostracized to SHUN their loved ones and family who simply don’t believe the dictates of their American leaders, dictates that often change over the course of times in the name of’ ”light is getting brighter”
    Followers of this kind of cult may appear friendly/innocent on the outside but inside they are wolves in sheep’s clothing completely messed up in their mental faculty. How can a mother ignore her daughter, grand children and claim that’s the greatest act of love she can possibly show just because she sees things differently to some bunch of American males that leave so far away. This kind of cult is not only dangerous but poisonous.

    A mother that allows her child to die by refusing life saving blood, or husband that allows his wife to die from haemorrhage is as good as any ISIS who straps a bomb unto themselves or innocent people believing their reward is in heaven.

    This is madness and its is a shame that in 2017 people can still fall victims into these scams.

    1. Jehovah’s witnesses bend over backwards to try to help people, and many who were former drug addicts, wife_beaters etc are changed people thanks to the preaching efforts of JW. They do not get involved in war. You’ll never have a bullet in your back from a JW. Your freedoms are thanks largely to the efforts of JW, who have fought in courts all over the world for their rights. What have you done to make the world a better place? Haters like you never do. You just hate. You would never have the courage to be a JW.

    2. don’t need bias replies – they are not a cult – if you don’t like them, that’s fine, but you need to be more understanding and reasonable – they are humans, who respect the Bible – so respect them

    3. you are so wrong you just dont like the truth that witnesses preach

    4. Benny Bruce: Who really is your neighbour? It is sad to note your hate for JWs though you are trying to mix them with other groups. Psalm 137:7 “We have become a reproach to our neighbors, a derision and a jeering to those around us”

    5. The label “Worldly”, “Great Beast”, “Prostitutes”, are words from the Bible. Disfellowshipping/Shunning and refusing from blood are also from interpretation of the Bible. However, “Extremism” is just an invented word by humans, and Russian Officials stretched its definition so that those who opposed the Orthodox Church could be banned.

    6. Bennie: now you know you’ve never heard of a child dying for lack of a blood transfusion. The Gold Standard in healthcare is NO BLOOD>. Check it out. They actually do open heart artery work without blood. Thhere are surgeons who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. As for terms such as ‘worldly,’ prostitute, beast–these are found in the Bible and are explained there.

      You are angry, but it most probly is coming from your own troubled conscience. When one of us is “Disfellowshipped” it stemss from a person’s illicit activity: sexual, lawlessness, or whatever. And that person is unrepentant. Jehovah is so good to us.

    7. kathleen henderson

      Yes, witnesses are extreme, that is extremely honest, extremely generous giving time to study with strangers, extremely good to their families, extremely dedicated to following Jesus and loving Jehovah God. and as far as brainwashing goes, i heard it said once, the shape our brains are in, they need a good washing. from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses

      1. Thanks for writing that. I was getting tired of reading the negative comments from ignorant people who have no clue.

  5. they are a large group of law abiding citizens all over the world they do all they can to stay peaceful and support the government in whatever way they can. Hater’s will always have but for me I love the work the jws are doing..if you have the better truth or can explain the better way to peace and harmony among people of all race ..then do it or else leave the jws and let them do their preaching and teaching job.. they love every human are are willing to support the government and people..

  6. Psalms 82:5 -They know not,neither will they understand;they walk on in darkness:all the foundations of the earth are out of course[KJV].
    Our God is not a God of denominations i.e catholisicim,zionisim,ufi etc.
    a true church of God is spiritually built from the true doctrine of christ not from bible college.my point is if JW is right then all the Magayas and Johanne masowe are wrong yet we all claim to worship the same God.People lets shun this habit of worshipping church leaders and denominations .lets return to scripture and pray or Holy spirit to direct us to the real truth of christ.I am not saying what the authorities are doing is right because in mathew 13:30 jesu vanoti regai zvikurirane yambiro yangu inoti ngati dzokei kushoko kwete kunamufundisi mweya mutsvene vatizarurire nzwisiso nezvokwadi yamwari baba.

  7. please just give the jws there freedom of worship because they are warm hearted and they uphold good morals .indeed they don’t interfere in politics .they are life changers. they preach the word of God.they are not easiest ..I don’t have the very least reason for them to be persecuted

  8. Mr. Trump need to stop this ban threat & allows JEHOVAH’S Witnesses to preach freely. Thank you so much…

    -Ria Bella…

    1. Trump? Wrong country buddy.

  9. Stali,Hitler and Putin now are trying to stop JW ,accusing them of many fabricated lies /to the joy of orthodox church/ but we now how these rulers finished hmmmmmmmmm

  10. Isaiah 55:17,No weapon formed against you will have success,,be strong and courageous our dear bro and str’s,,jesus said if they persecuted me,they will also to you,

  11. truth be told, Jehovah’s people are good people, preaching like Jesus commanded, so sad though satan is really trying, but I believe soon there will be true freedom of speech in all the earth, then the children of God will be free from enslavement.

  12. Whether or not witnesses are banned, it is an attack on all religious freedoms in Russia, and a confidence booster to those considering such laws in their own nations.

    Witnesses have been trailblazing human rights across the globe, and other religions are riding in their wake of success, for their legal rights to practice. were seeing a Turing point in human history where religion, is being seen as extreme.

    Whether you are christian, Muslim, or any other religion, the turn out of this decision, sets a precedent for your rights to be violated or upheld…globally.

  13. “These things I command you, that you love one another. 18 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. 20 Keep in mind the word I said to you: A slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have observed my word, they will also observe yours. 21 But they will do all these things against you on account of my name, because they do not know the One who sent me

    John 15 vs 17-21

    1. this would be a great comment if Jehovah’s witnesses were being hated on account of Jesus name!
      but they do not represent Jesus, they represent Jehovah and the faithful and discreet slave and without exercising faith in this body of men you will be disfellowshipped and shunned by all Jehovah’s Witnesses. They do this to prevent exwitnesses waking others up.
      Acts 4:8-12 along with many many scriptures show that it is through Jesus name we gain salvation not Jehovah.
      I was in this cult for 16 years, I too would have defended them to the hilt. But thankfully i heard the true voice of Jesus (john 10:27)and came to fully understand what it means to be a Christian.
      John 24:4 people for millenniums have fooled truth seekers into serving them, usually for financial gain, by claiming to have a closer relationship to God than we can have through our mediator Jesus Christ, and reading Gods word the Bible!

      1. Sharon, if you actually were one of Jehova’s Servants, you would know a bit more than you’ve expressed here. I suspect you were a rambunctious teenager who hated learning.

        Phillipians 2:5-11 reminds us that Jesus never claimed to be God (the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth) but he took a slaves form (man) and proved himself obedient to the point of death. God exalted him, so that in Jesus’ name every knee should bend–TO THE GLORY of GOD THE FATHER.

        1) Does that even remotely suggest JWs do not honor our Reigning King?
        2) Cult: go look it up–then say something intelligent.
        3) Prayer: Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
        4) Mt 6:9 “You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.
        You’re full of guilt. Go figure it out.

  14. If these people are bad people, I wouldn’t dare ask you what you think of presidents, dictators, politicians, unethical famous people, drug addicts, prostitutes, mercenaries including war heroes.

    Atleast these people try to help mankind, and believe in something good.

    What I have seen are things becoming worse, day by day. One politician is just worse than the other.

    Someone out there is saying the truth. Am guessing this is why everyone is against them.

  15. Witnesses. This was expected, was it not? Jehovah will handle everything…There is no cause for worry, is there? Emotions are running high but lets exercise control and watch Jehovah handle matters like the god he is. Pray for your brothers, follow instructions and strengthen your family for what is to come.

    1. commended, my brother.

  16. This is just a simple stuff, please let them leave Jw, I though they’ve banned some of there publications and they removed it from there place of worship, I think they should allow them worship their God Jehovah

  17. My brothers and sisters, we don’t need to go back and forth with whom we don’t even know…we know what’s going on! Let us have peace and let us not forget the faith we have. Let us just continue to pray and show support as much as we can for our spiritual family in Russia to be able to persevere once again through more injustice and to have endurance through these trying times. Remember, Jehovah’s will shall be fulfilled – regardless! And He will do this by means of his son, Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Reigning King in Heaven…Amen!
    P.S.
    April 11th Everyone – hope ur all there!

  18. Yesterday one senior government official told me…”I have decided to be one of Jehovah’s witnesses. ..it’s the only true religion free of corruption left in the world”….Surely let people open their eyes and see the true woshippers…

  19. who on earth are true Christian, lets leave sentiments part! if not jws? Russian government are actually acussing them.

  20. No matter how you feel about Jehovah’s Witness, just imagine something you’ve loved your whole life just snatched from you. You can’t go to the only place that brings you peace, you can’t participate in your favorite activity, you can’t help others become better people. Just how would you feel? You’d fell pretty crappy right. You’d feel like it wasn’t fair. You’d feel like you’re being accused of something you’re not. Well that’s how Jehovah’s witnesses are feeling in Russia. We are a very peaceful group that love to help other. Me, amongst many have been doing it our whole lives and to know that could be taken away from my brothers in Russia is so disheartening. Everyone practices what they want. Whether you’re a religious person or not. Just imagine something as simple as eating your favorite food to be taken away it would just suck! So no matter what you think about Witnesses, think about it simply from a human pov in that you wouldn’t want your favorite thing abruptly taken away from you.

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