Duma to propose bill criminalising the "insult of religious beliefs"
14.09.12 11:50 By News Dept.
Russia's State Duma committee on public and religious organizations has started work on a new bill which would add criminal charges for insulting believers' beliefs. The head of the committee, Yaroslav Nilov, told RIA Novosti news agency.
"Today the violation of religious beliefs is punished with administrative fines up to 1000 rubles. This is just ridiculous," Nilov said.
He added that according to the new bill, offending believers' feelings would be punished with fines, community work, and with a prison sentence.
Nilov said that all the members of the committee think that the problem cannot be solved by criminal prosecution alone. They think that punishment for insulting religious beliefs must be irreversible and that it is very important to improve training for the enforcement of this new bill if it is to be passed by the upper chamber of the parliament and the president.
The Moscow patriarch's office approved of the new initiative.
The issue of religion and church has become especially relevant in Russia lately. The "punk-prayer" performed by the Pussy Riot band in the main cathedral of Russia has drawn attention of many government officials who think the church and believers should be protected.
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