On November 11, 2015, Russian Duma passed a presidential bill granting immunity to religious texts of country’s four traditional religions; Christian Bible, Islam’s Holy Qur’an, Jewish Torah, and Buddhist Kangyur.
The law will prohibit Russian courts to make judgment whether any of the texts preach extremism even if taken out of context. I wonder why the said bill didn’t include Jewish Talmud, which is followed by a vast majority among 13 million world Jewry, and considered Israel’s unwritten Constitution.
The said bill was sponsored by Russian president Vladimir Putin in response to a Russian court ruling (August 12, 2015) that some texts of Holy Qur’an were “extremist”. The ruling was based on the texts which commands the believers to worship only one Creator (Allah), and claims that Jesus was a messenger (prophet) of Allah, and not His “son” or shares His Powers (Trinity).
The ruling angered country’s 23 million Muslim population. The ruling was condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church.
“Ancient texts belong to the times when no one dare to question the supremacy of the religious norms for an individual and society,” Vsevolod Chaplin, the Church’s spokesperson told Interfax in an interview on September 10, 2015.
Andrey Kuraev, a prominent Orthodox theologian also condemned the ruling (here), saying: “What verses were picked? They just say that there is only one God, and you should only pray to Him. What is extremist about it?”
Putin’s appointed president of Chechen Republic within Russia, Ramzan Kadyrov also condemned the court ruling, calling it a ‘Devil’s work’.
As a rule, once a court in anywhere in Russian Federation rules a book as containing extremist text, it is automatically banned based on country’s anti-extremism law passed in 2002. Since then over 2000 Islamic publications have been banned along with Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols.
In December 2011, under India’s pressure, a Russian court rejected a plea to declare Hindu holy book, Gita, for preaching extremism against lower caste Hindus. Officially Hinduism is not recognized as a religion in Russian Republic.
In December 2014, Subramanian Swamy (BJP), Indian prime minister Modi’s political Hindutva Guru, claimed that Russia was once a Hindu country. “Russia was originally Rishangaha, the abode of rishis. It was thus a Hindu Rashtra. It is the duty of Hindus now to make Russians Hindus,” he said.