The Russian justice ministry has moved to label Jehovah’s Witnesses an ‘extremist organization’ following years of government suspicion toward the group.
‘Extremism is deeply alien to the Bible-based beliefs and morality of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Persecution of the faithful for peaceful anti-extremism legislation is built on frank fraud, incompetent individual ‘experts’ and, as a result, a miscarriage of justice,’ the statement claimed.
According to the press office, the decision, if passed by the court, would directly affect about 175,000 followers at more than 2,000 congregations in the country.
However, it’s not the first time Jehovah’s Witnesses have faced legal battles. In 2009, a court ruled a Russian-language version of the group’s publication The Watchtower an extremist publication and barred it. In 2015, a Russian court ruled the group’s website was also an extremist publication.