Russia: Lawyer threatens “bloodbath” in demand for Sharia

May 4, 2012 by  
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Russia, May 02, 2012: A Muslim lawyer has called for the introduction of sharia courts in Russia, threatening a “bloodbath” if the demand is opposed.

Chechen Dagir Khasavov, the founder of an organisation that defends the rights of Muslims, said in an interview broadcast on 24 April by the independent channel Ren-TV:

Muslims do not want to get involved in the multi-layered court system, it is alien to them. You think that we come here to Russia like to some alien place. But we think that we are at home. Maybe you are alien, and we are at home. And we will set the rules, the rules that suit us, whether you want it or not. Any attempts to change it will end in blood, it will be the second Dead Sea. We will flood the city with blood.

The statement provoked a backlash in Russia, and Khasavov fled the country after receiving death threats. The Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation after experts from The Russian Institute of Culture found that the speech was aimed at exciting hatred and animosity based on religion, and could be considered a call for extremist activity.

Khasavov’s call for sharia courts in Russia was rejected outright by Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the country’s Presidential Human Rights Council.

He said on 25 April:

The creation of parallel justice systems is impossible in a modern law-governed state. It undermines the foundation of the justice system.

Attempts to force sharia courts on people are only possible in theocratic states.

Mr Fedotov said that the only way sharia courts could be created in Russia was to give them a role in arbitration hearings.

In 2008, the British government acknowledged that it had for some time accepted the role of sharia tribunals in arbitration, in certain limited fields. Opponents fear a slippery slope effect; that the acceptance of certain aspects of Islamic civil law could eventually lead to the introduction of full-blown sharia.

Khasavov has subsequently claimed that his words were distorted and said that he was referring only to inter-family cases, not criminal law. His son believes Khasavov was provoked, possibly by Chechen authorities.

– barnabas team

Russia’s church, lawmakers want to limit abortion

June 4, 2011 by  
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Church in Russia30 May, 2011, Moscow: Russia’s Orthodox Church teamed with Conservative parliamentarians Monday to push legislation that would radically restrict abortions in a nation struggling to cope with one of the world’s lowest birthrates. The legislation would ban free abortions at government-run clinics and prohibit the sale of the morning-after pill without a prescription, said Yelena Mizulina, who heads a parliamentary committee on families, women and children. She added that abortion for a married woman would also require the permission of her spouse, while teenage girls would need their parents’ consent. If the legislation is passed, a week’s waiting period would also be introduced so women could consider their decision to terminate their pregnancy, Mizulina said. During the time of the Soviet Union, abortion laws were liberal, and unrestricted termination of pregnancy became virtually the only method of family planning. Sex education was frowned upon.
 
Russia’s abortion rates are still among the world’s highest, contributing to a fertility rate of only 1.4 children per woman — far below the 2.1 needed to maintain the existing population. The rate has become a serious concern for Russia as it fights to stem a steep population decline. Mizulina said she wants to see public debate on abortions before the bill is submitted to parliament, an apparent attempt to build support after similar legislation stalled last year. A bill proposed in late 2010 called for the criminal prosecution of doctors who end late-term pregnancies, but it faced government opposition and was never put up for a vote. The effort to restrict abortions has strong backing from the Russian Orthodox Church, which has sought a more muscular role in society in recent years. It counts more than 100 million Russians in a population of 143 million as its congregation, although polls show that only about 5 percent of Russians are observant.
 
“I hope that very soon we will live in a Russia without abortions,” church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said at Monday’s presentation.
 
According to a United Nations survey in 2004, Russia had the world’s highest abortion rate: 53.7 per 100 women.
 
Figures from the Russian Health Ministry suggest the rate may have declined in recent years, though it remains high: In 2009, there were 74 abortions for every 100 births in Russia, a significant drop in comparison with 169 abortions per 100 births in 2000.
 
The total number of abortions recorded by the Health Ministry in 2009 reached nearly 1.3 million.
 
Mizulina claims that the official statistics do not include pregnancies terminated at private clinics, or those stopped by morning-after pills, and the true number might be closer to 6 million.
 
She also proposed that the law be changed to allow women to leave unwanted children at orphanages anonymously without risking criminal prosecution for child abandonment.
 
It was unclear how much support the anti-abortion measures would receive in parliament.
 
Natalya Karpovich, a lawmaker with the dominant pro-Kremlin party United Russia, who is expecting her fifth child, said she supported stricter regulation of abortions. But she said banning the procedure in Russia was unrealistic and would only lead to more children whose parents were unwilling or unable to care for them.