Moscow, September 30, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church official says that Jehovah's Witnesses (an organization banned in Russia - IF), are imprisoned not for their religious views, but for extremist actions.
"As far as I know, those Jehovah's Witnesses who were jailed, they were not jailed for their convictions, for their religious teaching. No one will imprison a person basing on religious provisions. It always has to deal with extremism," Metropolitan Hilarion said on air Church and the World program on Rossiya-24 TV channel.
Commenting on detention of Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut, where they assumably were subjected to trials, the metropolitan said that every such case should be considered individually. "If we speak about trials and it is a proved fact, then there can be no justification for it, no matter who was subjected to trials: Orthodox, Muslim, Jude, Baptist or representative of a sect," the metropolitan said.
He disapproved of the USA approach to questions of religious freedom referring to the protests of the State Department against persecutions of Jehovah's Witnesses.
"Americans have their own approach to religious topic: they believe there should not be traditional confessions, that all religious traditions including sects should enjoy the same profits. We have different criteria, different approaches, and some of our criteria do not meet American approach," the metropolitan said.