Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Orthodox Church and other traditional religions in Russia (in addition to Christianity are Judaism, Islam and Buddhism) have welcomed the proposal made by President Vladimir Putin in the Duma to amend the law on religious freedom and delete possible accusations of extremism being used against the sacred texts of the four religions.
"It is undoubtedly very important that the status of the tradition is confirmed not only by speeches and
public interventions, but also at a legislative level," Roman Bogdasarov, secretary of the Inter-religious Council of Russia and vice president Moscow Patriarchate's department for relations between the Church and society told Interfax-Religion.
He believes, "the immunity of sacred scriptures of traditional religions at this time is very important in the light of provocations being made by including representatives of public authorities".
The move comes after the protest by a part of the vast Russian Muslim community over the decision of a court of the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the Far East, which had deemed verses of the Koran "extremist", forbidding its distribution.
The loudest criticism was from Ramzan Kadyrov, the controversial leader of Chechnya, the Muslim majority Russian republic. Kadyrov was among the first to welcome Putin’s initiative, speaking of a "historic step" towards the consolidation of the community. Putin, the Chechen leader wrote on Instagram, "showed that the attempts of the West and the fifth column in Russia to cause conflict among peoples and religions are destined to fail."
The Kremlin proposal was also welcomed by the Muslim community, in the words of the Mufti of Russia Ravil Gainutdin, and by Buddhists. The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia instead spoke of an "insufficient legislative initiative". "This is certainly a step in the fight against recent absurdity," said the spokesman Borukh Gorin, who is also calling for more experts in theology of every religion to act as representatives of different religious communities. Gorin has warned that each religion is founded on more than one sacred text and that so this way you avoid that "if someone wants to they will be able to find extremism in any theological text from the Middle Ages".
The State Duma, the lower branch of the Russian parliament, has already declared that it will support the President’s proposal. "The Bible, the Koran, the Tanakh and the Kanjur, their content and quotes can not be considered extremist material", says the norm made public by the Kremlin.
In Russia a 1990’s provision states that Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism are "an inalienable part of the historical heritage" of the country.