MONITORING OF MISSIONARIES INTRODUCED IN YAMAL: SECTARIANS WORK AGGRESSIVELY WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Religiia i pravo, 20 April 2016
The Yamal government decided to conduct an accounting of all preachers working in the region. The parliament of the autonomous region will adopt at the upcoming session a draft law requiring missionaries to inform officials about their visits. In this way it is expected to monitor the activity of religious groups and sects whose representatives not only visit the apartments of residents but also penetrate individual trading posts for "indoctrinating" indigenous peoples.
The authorities intend to permit working in the district only by missionaries who can confirm their membership in a religious association. A preacher must present to the authorized agency documents along with examples of the program of speeches and audio and video materials, and only after this can he go to the people. A fine is threatened for work without preliminary notification.
The domestic policy department wrote the draft law on missionary activity after consulting with other national constituent entities [subjects] and the Federal Agency for Affairs of Nationalities. Similar laws have been adopted in Bashkortostan, North Ossetia, Stavropol territory, and Arkhangelsk and Kursk provinces. The head of the administration of national policy of the department of domestic policy of Yamal, Roman Pikun, described how in recent years various pseudo-religious organizations and representatives of movements that are banned in Russia have appeared in Yamal.
"Literature of the Jehovah's Witnesses that is being distributed in the region is on the list of forbidden materials. Recently the movement 'For Sacred Rus' was reorganized, but a branch remained in Yamal, which was checked by the Ministry of Justice. We have many diverse protestant organizations which conduct aggressive missionary activity on the territory where small groups of native peoples reside. They come in from the direction of Arkhangelsk province on snowmobiles. It is unclear whose representatives they are, Baptists or Evangelical Christians. I do not know what they talk about," Pikun said.
He said that the law will give an informed character to the work of such preachers and will protect the rights of official religious organizations. The bill is not likely to help in the struggle with sectarians. Representatives of organizations that are prohibited in Russia will not come to the local administrations. Authorities are talking only about regulating the work of missionaries while the authorities should be informed about the work with residents by representatives of traditional confessions, imams and Orthodox priests.
We recall that in the regions of the "Tiumen Matryoshki" recruitment for ISIS and other terrorist organizations that are banned in Russia has become more frequent. It is thought in the region that the draft law will help to control the activity of preachers of radical sects who may come into the region in the guise of Muslim missionaries.
Tomorrow the draft will be considered in committees of the legislative assembly and the government proposes adopting it on first reading on 21 April.
As reported earlier, work of preachers of religious sects has also been discussed in a session of the member countries of the Arctic Council. Participants in the conference noted that representatives of foreign organizations also come to the places of residence of aborigines. (tr. by PDS, posted 20 April 2016)
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