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Russian Gita Ban Row: Orthodox Group and Muslims Sending Meat to ISKCON Followers

From Interfax:

Representatives of Orthodox Resistance Movement to Murdering of Children conducted an action and conveyed a batch of tinned stewed meat to the Moscow Society for Krishna Conciseness [sic – obviously should be “Society for Krishna Consciousness”, also known as ISKCON and informally as “Hare Krishna”] .

…Earlier Russian Muslims also announced that they launch an action “of collecting and sending starving Indians humanitarian help in form of Halal canned stewed meat.”

Here, we see the religious virtue of charity being applied for the purposes of insult and revenge: the Russian Orthodox group claims that it is responding to a recent burning of the Russian flag by BJP militants in India, while some Russian Muslims believe that ISKCON’s provision of free vegetarian meals is an attempt to induce Muslims to eat non-Halal food. According to Albir Krganov, first deputy chairman of the Central Spiritual Board of Russian Muslims Mufti of Moscow and Russia’s Central Region:

“If the sect persists that when Krishnaites distributed their food they made a good deed then we’re ready to pay the debt and start delivering nutritious Halal stewed meat in cans to starving Krishnaites of India. We are ready to personally distribute this meat to Russian Krishnaites,” he said.

I haven’t been able to find any other reference to the alleged flag-burning, but it supposedly formed part of a protest against an attempt in Russia to ban ISKCON’s famous and distinctive version of the Bhagavad Gita, entitled The Bhagavad Gita As It Is. Forum 18 has the background:

On 28 December 2011, Judge Galina Butenko of Tomsk’s Lenin District Court rejected the prosecutor’s suit to have the third Russian edition of the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is ruled extremist.

…An “expert analysis” completed in October 2010 by three academics at Tomsk State University at the request of FSB security service officer Dmitry Velikotsky found that the book “contains signs of incitement of religious hatred and humiliation of an individual based on gender, race, ethnicity, language, origin or attitude to religion”.

…In an analysis posted on his Livejournal blog on 2 January, Nikolai Karpitsky carefully reviewed all the evidence of possible initiators of the Tomsk case… He… discounts the idea that the three Tomsk University “experts” who conducted the initial 2010 analysis were behind it, given their surprise that it would be used in court to try to ban the book and their renunciation of their analysis in court.

Karpitsky believes Maksim Stepanenko, the head of the Tomsk Russian Orthodox Diocese’s Missionary Centre, is the “the remaining possibility” as the initiator of the case, although Stepanenko denies this. Karpitsky’s post can be seen here.

According to The Russia & India Report:

On January 16 Muhammedali Khuzin, head of the executive committee of the All-Russian muftiat, in Russian Perm city appealed to the Russian authorities “not to cede to any external provocation and pressure” and “to display principal inclemency” to the Krishnaits.

However, Khuzin was opposed by Gulnur Gazieva, head of the press-office of the Russian Council of Muftis.

In 2004, an ISKCON temple in Moscow was demolished to make way for a city development, but a plot of land promised as a replacement was withdrawn by the mayor following complaints from the Orthodox Church. That decision, however, was itself overturned in June 2006, and a temple has existed in a Moscow suburb since 2008. The ISKCON website has an account here – the author lays on various chess metaphors, and the piece is perhaps unwisely entitled “Checkmate: ISKCON’s Victory in Russia”.

The “Orthodox Resistance Movement to Murdering of Children” has no other internet presence in English – from the name, it’s presumably an anti-abortion group which is branching out, and I suspect it’s linked with other nationalist Orthodox groups I’ve blogged about.

2 Responses

  1. They are fearing from the rising popularity of Hinduism. BJP is not a militant group. India is not an enemy of Russia, but considers as a good friend

  2. They have feared from the rising popularity of Hinduism. BJP is not terrorists group. India considers Russia as a good friend

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