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Russian authorities demand that children’s book about Jesus be banned


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For Immediate Release

February 16, 2012

(Russian)

Russian authorities demand that children’s book about Jesus be banned

TVER, Russia— In a move that defies both Russian law and common sense, a district prosecutor in the city of Tver is attempting to have the book Learn From the Great Teacher, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, added to the Federal List of Extremist Materials. Since being published in 1971, the book and its predecessor, Listening to the Great Teacher, have been printed with a circulation of over 65 million copies in more than 100 languages.

The prosecutor’s office has failed to produce any evidence to support its claim. The allegations are based on an “expert conclusion” by Olga Vlasova of the Russian Language Department of the Tver State University. In the past, teachers in this department have produced negative conclusions about other literature published of Jehovah’s Witnesses, openly using the same language as Orthodox anticult activists. “Parents are blackmailed [by the publishers] into believing that without this book their children are in danger,” claims Vlasova.

Jehovah’s Witnesses provided the court with two expert studies confirming the peaceful tone of the book. However, the prosecutor’s office refuses to retract its claim and the court hearing continues. Igor Dmitriyev, an attorney representing Jehovah’s Witnesses in this case, stated: “The alarming thing about this case is that it illustrates that any graduate from a philological department can produce openly biased ‘conclusions’ that the prosecutor’s office will use to demand that a publication be pronounced extremist. Nevertheless, we hope that the court will not bow to the wishes of the prosecutor’s office, but will render a just decision.”

Article source: Here

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