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NEW YORK TIMES Merkel, Meeting Putin, Raises Treatment of Gays and Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Merkel, Meeting Putin, Raises Treatment of Gays and Jehovah’s Witnesses

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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany spoke at a news conference in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday. CreditPool photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW — Germany’s chancellor, 

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, took the opportunity of a rare visit to Russia to raise domestic human rights issues on Tuesday with President 
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, a noted departure from their continuing differences over Ukraine and Syria.

Ms. Merkel said she had talked to Mr. Putin about her concerns on civil rights in Russia, including, among other issues, the 

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GERMAN CHANCELLOR CALLS PUTIN'S ATTENTION TO THE NEED TO PROTECT MINORITIES, PARTICULARLY JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

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On 2 May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert influence on the situation with sexual minorities in Chechnya, to protect the rights of homosexuals, and to protect the activity of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. She reported this during a press conference about the results of her meeting with the Russian leader, TASS reports.

 

"We have received very negative reports about what is happening with homosexuals in Chechnya and I asked the president to exert his influence for preserving the rights of minorities," she said, adding that it is important also to protect the activity of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

 

Separately Merkel noted the necessity of honoring the right to public meetings and free activity of nongovernmental organizations.

 

On 20 April the Russian Supreme Court issued a decision to find all organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia to be "extremist," and to prohibit their activity and to confiscate their property. During the judicial proceedings, which lasted 6 days, there was not introduced a single example of extremist activity other than instances of refusing blood transfusion, the right to which is provided by Russian law. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 May 2017)

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    • Guest Nicole
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      (Moscow) – Law enforcement authorities across Russia have carried out a sweeping campaign against JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in recent months, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have carried out dozens of home searches, raids, interrogations, and other acts of harassment and persecution.
      The authorities are holding 18 men in pretrial detention on charges of organizing, participating in, or financing the activities of an “extremist organization” solely for their religious activities. Several others are facing the same charges and are under house arrest or subject to travel restrictions. The charges carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Russian authorities should release those in detention immediately, drop the charges, and halt the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      “The Jehovah’s Witnesses are simply peacefully exercising their right to freedom of religion,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Jehovah’s Witness faith is not an extremist organization, and authorities should stop this religious persecution of its worshipers now.”
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      The raids and arrests stem from an April 2017 Russian Supreme Courtruling that banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout Russia. The ruling declared the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center, the head office for 395 Jehovah’s Witnesses branches throughout Russia, an extremist organization and ruled that all 395 be shut down. The ruling, which affects more than 100,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses across Russia, blatantly violates Russia’s obligations to respect and protect religious freedom and freedom of association.
      Russian authorities should reverse the ban on the organization’s activities and remove the “extremist” designation, Human Rights Watch said. Meanwhile, they should leave Jehovah’s Witnesses free to practice their faith.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and other former USSR countries have faced persecution in the past. During the Soviet era, they were arrested and imprisoned in labor camps, including in Siberia. Within the past decade, worshipers across Russia have faced persecution, intrusive home searches, and arrests, and have been denied rights to freedom of assembly, association, and religion.
      In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia for closing the Moscow branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and refusing to allow the group to re-register. The court found violations of articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect freedom of religion and association, respectively. In addition to awarding monetary damages, the court said that Russia should review the domestic decisions that led to the violations. Russia has refused to carry out the judgments in that case and several others brought by members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the contrary, Russia has continued to persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses, seeking the group’s complete dissolution in Russia.
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      The authorities, who obtained search warrants or entry permits in most cases, confiscated personal computers, mobile phones, bank cards, passports, religious literature, and, in some cases, housing deeds. Dozens of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, including at least one child, were taken to local investigative offices for questioning. Others were detained and later charged.
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      In at least two regions, armed officers threatened the worshipers with firearms, in one case pointing a gun at a personÂ’s head, a lawyer familiar with the incident told Human Rights Watch.
      A JehovahÂ’s Witnesses representative told Human Rights Watch that approximately 160 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses have fled Russia to seek refuge abroad.
      On June 20, Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights announced that it had asked the prosecutor general’s office to verify the legality of criminal prosecutions against Jehovah’s Witnesses practicing their faith. A week earlier, several of the spouses of the men in pretrial detention had sent a letter to the chair of the council, Mikhail Fedotov, urging him to ask President Vladimir Putin to end the raids and arrests and to restore freedom of religion in Russia.
      Over 150 Russian activists, journalists, and academics – including several members of Memorial, Russia’s foremost human rights group – signed and published an open letter urging the authorities to immediately release those in detention and to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision to liquidate the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization.
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      Tomsk, Tomsk Region
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      Investigators arrested Ilham Karimov, 37; Vladimir Myakushin, 30; Konstantin Matrashov, 25;   Aydar Yulmetyev, 24, on suspicion of organizing and participating in the activities of an “extremist organization” and placed them in pretrial detention until July 25. The Naberezhnye Chelny City Court displays records of all four hearings. According to the religious freedom monitoring group Forum 18, Karimov, Myakushin, and Matrashov have appealed their pretrial detention.
      Perm, Perm Krai
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia reported that on the evening of May 22, Aleksandr Solovyev, 48, and his wife, Anna, were detained at the railway station in Perm, in the Ural Mountains region, after returning from a trip abroad. Law enforcement then searched the couple’s home and reportedly seized property deeds, photographs, several Bibles, and a Wi-Fi router.
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      Orenburg, Orenburg Region
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      Photographs of some of the raids posted on the Orenburg Investigative Committee website show FSB officials and riot police in bulletproof vests and masks approaching Jehovah’s Witnesses’ residences.
      A statement by the Orenburg Investigative Committee said that investigative operations were “carefully planned and organized” by law enforcement with the aim of “seizing documents and items relevant to the criminal case, as well as identifying other persons involved in unlawful activities.” Investigators allege that the suspects “organized activities of a subdivision of Jehovah’s Witnesses [Administrative Center] by calling and holding meetings, organizing the recruitment of new members, and communicating the contents of religious literature to meeting participants.”
      Shuya, Ivanovo Region
      Forum 18 reported that law enforcement raided four homes in the town of Shuya, western Russia, early on the morning of April 20.
      Dmitry Mikhailov, 33, was arrested on May 29, over a month after his home was searched and placed in pretrial custody until July 19. He is being accused of “financing extremist activities.”  
      On April 20, the Ivanovo Region Investigative Committee released a statement about the home searches, alleging that since the beginning of 2018, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Shuya had been studying literature “containing statements degrading human dignity . . . and elements of propaganda of the exclusivity of one religion over another.”
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      Several homes belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses were reportedly raidedon April 19 in the far-east city of Vladivostok.
      Human Rights Watch was able to confirm that on April 23 Valentin Osadchuk, 42, was placed under arrest by Frunzensky District Court on charges of participation in the activities of an “extremist organization” after authorities searched his home and confiscated computers, notebooks, and other devices. He remains in pretrial detention until September 20. Representatives of the Jehovah’s Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that five others face the same charges but remain at liberty subject to travel restrictions.
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      The Murmansk Region Investigative Committee stated on its websitethat National Guard officers and FSB officials who led the home searches confiscated computer drives and religious literature. A video posted to the website shows men wearing camouflage uniforms and helmets forcing open a door with a pry bar. The Investigative Committee said that beginning in April 2017, the suspects had allegedly “organized activities of the religious organization [Jehovah’s Witnesses] by convening and holding meetings, organizing the recruitment of new members, and leading studies of religious texts at meetings.”
      MarkinÂ’s lawyer, Arli Chimirov, told Human Rights Watch that armed officers broke down MarkinÂ’s door and told him and his 16-year-old daughter, who was at home with him, to lie on the floor while law enforcement threatened them with firearms and searched the apartment. MarkinÂ’s daughter was escorted to the investigative unit and was questioned for several hours along with her mother, who arrived some time later.
      On April 23, 2018, the Polyarny District Court placed Markin in pretrial custody until June 11. Markin’s lawyer unsuccessfully appealed the decision. According to court documents on file with Human Rights Watch, investigative authorities requested that Markin be placed in pretrial detention because of the risk that he “may continue criminal activities, threaten participants in the legal proceedings, hide or destroy evidence, and also fail to attend preliminary court hearings.” On June 4, Markin’s pretrial detention was extended to October 11.
      TifimovÂ’s lawyer, Yegiazar Chernikov, told Human Rights Watch that beginning in October 2017, investigators had been collecting as evidence audio and video recordings of conversations among JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. Chernikov said that on several occasions, a woman involved in the investigation invited Tifimov to her home, where audio and video recording devices were in place, and asked him questions given to her by investigative authorities and designed to incriminate him.
      Tifimov was originally detained until June 12, 2018, but his pretrial detention was extended until October 11.
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      At least 20 people were reportedly taken to the Lenin District Investigative Department for questioning and fingerprinting but were later released. One girl was called for questioning, but when she showed up for the meeting with her mother and the director of her school, the investigator failed to appear.
      On April 12, Anatoly Vilikevich, 32, was arrested on suspicion of organizing activities of an “extremist organization,” and placed in pretrial detention. Vilikevich’s lawyer, Vitaly Svintsov, who appealed the order, told Human Rights Watch that on June 21 the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan overturned the lower court’s decision and placed him under house arrest.
      A statement by the Bashkortostan Republic Investigative Committeealleged that Vilikevich had organized a local chapter of the banned Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center. Investigators who searched his home confiscated “prohibited literature,” the statement said.

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      Since 2007, dozens of pieces of JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ literature have been banned and placed on the federal registry of banned extremist materials. Pictured here, stacks of booklets distributed by a local leader of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in the Siberian town of Gorno-Altaysk are seen during a court session on December 16, 2010.
       ©2010 Reuters/Alexandr Tyryshkin
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      Read more at World Religion News: "Russian Government Criticizes Putin for Treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses" https://www.worldreligionnews.com/?p=53681
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      By Andrew Osborn
      MOSCOW (Reuters) – Advisers to President Vladimir Putin have questioned the legality of a slew of criminal cases opened against members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and asked the General Prosecutor’s office to protect the group’s freedom of belief.
      Russia’s Supreme Court ruled in April last year that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were an “extremist” organisation and must disband, a move the group unsuccessfully appealed.
      Since then, at least 19 members have been detained on criminal charges in Russia with one, Danish citizen Dennis Christensen, now held for more than a year and put on trial for extremism.
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      “It cannot but be a cause for concern because the criminal prosecutions and detentions have taken on a systemic character,” the council said in a statement which the Jehovah’s Witnesses publicised on Thursday.
      “The situation evokes associations with the Soviet period when Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered groundless repression because of their faith.”
      The fact that the council has intervened on the group’s behalf does not necessarily mean that Putin will take up their cause though the subject is likely to be raised at the council’s next meeting with the Russian leader.
      ‘GLIMMER OF OPTIMISM’
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses, a United States-based Christian denomination known for its door-to-door preaching and rejection of military service and blood transfusions, has around 170,000 followers in Russia.
      The U.S. State Department on Monday said it was deeply concerned by what it described as the growing number of religious prisoners held in Russia, saying that people were being persecuted “in retaliation for peaceful religious practice.”
      And on Tuesday, more than 60 well-known Russian writers, historians and rights activists signed an appeal demanding the authorities stop prosecuting the group, describing the legal onslaught on its members as a test for Russian society.
      Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a member of the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said on Thursday the council’s intervention had given his group “a glimmer of optimism.”
      “We hope that common sense will prevail and that someone wise … will say that this has all gone too far,” he said.
      “If the authorities can do this to us they can apply the same logic to do the same to anyone in Russia.”
      (Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The wives of Jehovah’s Witnesses rounded up and imprisoned in Russia have written an open letter to a top adviser of President Vladimir Putin, asking him to stop the campaign of terror against the religious group.
      “This open letter to you is a cry of desperation. People who are very dear to us, our husbands, those who feed us, the fathers of our children, peaceable, honest people, who are always ready to help others, are being thrown behind bars for being suspected of reading Bible commandments and praying together with us and our children,” reads the letter directed to Mikhail Fedotov, a close adviser of Putin and chairman of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. The letter is signed by 10 wives of Jehovah’s Witnesses from across Russia.
      “In return for freedom and a quiet life, we are being invited to disown our faith. This is not just a figure of speech—investigators have directly invited us to sign documents in order to avoid punishment for ‘extremism’…If the Russian government does not quickly put an end to this growing campaign of terror, the administration will be faced with a nation-wide human rights catastrophe,” the letter continues.
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      By Guest Nicole
      Boris Zolotarevsky, the coordinator of Alexey Navalny’s campaign office in Chelyabinsk, is having a rough month. Already on a hunger strike while serving a 25-day jail sentence for organizing a local unpermitted anti-Putin protest on May 5, Zolotarevsky is now reportedly a suspect in an extremism case.
      On May 29, police apparently found banned religious literature at his home: several books printed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which Russia’s Supreme Court outlawed in April 2017 as an extremist organization. A source confirmed to the news agency Interfax that Zolotarevsky previously filed a request with Russia's draft board to avoid military service on religious grounds.
      Police detained more than 200 demonstrators in Chelyabinsk on May 5 — the most in any city, after Moscow and St. Petersburg. In most places where protesters were detained, local law enforcement have responded with misdemeanor charges, but police in Chelyabinsk launched a “hooliganism” felony investigation, which carries a seven-year maximum prison sentence.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Officers launched 28 raids on Jehovah's Witness homes in May, often forcing entry, threatening occupants with weapons and seizing literature and other items. Under criminal investigation are 7 Jehovah's Witnesses in pre-trial detention, 1 under house arrest and at least 11 under travel restrictions. Two others are already on trial.
      Law enforcement officers, some armed and in body armour, raided a further 28 Jehovah's Witness homes in May in Orenburg Region, the Jewish Autonomous Region, and the Urals city of Perm. The latest raids led to detentions, house arrest, travel restrictions, and criminal charges for at least another 11 people.

      Seven Jehovah's Witnesses are now known to be in pre-trial detention facing criminal investigations or charges. Another is under house arrest, while at least a further 11 are under travel restrictions. In two other cases, trials are already underway (see full list at base of this article).

      As in previous raids, law enforcement agents often forced entry to properties, threatened the occupants with weapons, and confiscated personal items, including bank cards. They then took Jehovah's Witnesses, including minors, away for interrogation, sometimes for several hours overnight (see below).

      Law enforcement agencies carried out the searches and arrests in Perm, Birobidzhan and four towns in Orenburg Region in mid-May, in some cases accompanied by National Guard troops or riot police armed with machine guns. They came about a month after similar searches in Ufa (Bashkortostan Republic), Polyarny (Murmansk Region), Shuya (Ivanovo Region), and Vladivostok. Criminal investigations are continuing in these places, as well as in Belgorod and Kemerovo, where Jehovah's Witnesses also suffered armed raids in January and February (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      Officials know that using troops and weapons including machine guns on raids is unnecessary, as Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide are a doctrinally pacifist community whose young male members worldwide will not do compulsory military service or any other military-connected activity. However, even before Jehovah's Witnesses were banned in Russia their communities were frequently raided by heavily armed and camouflaged officials who frequently planted "evidence" (see eg. F18News 24 October 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2228).

      The Jehovah's Witnesses caught up in 2018's wave of prosecutions are accused of "continuing the activities" of the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre, their principal administrative body in Russia, which was outlawed as an "extremist" organisation and liquidated in 2017 (see F18News 18 July 2017 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2297).

      Muslims also face "extremism" investigation, trials, jailing 

      Prosecutors have also long jailed Muslims who meet to read the works of late Turkish theologian Said Nursi. Four were jailed in 2017 (see F18News 8 December 2017 http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2339). People who meet to study his writings can be accused of continuing the activities of "Nurdzhular", which was banned as an "extremist organisation" by the Supreme Court in 2008, even though Muslims in Russia deny it has ever existed (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Five Muslims are known by Forum 18 to be already on trial for having met to study Nursi's works – three in Krasnoyarsk, one in Novosibirsk, and one in Izberbash in the Republic of Dagestan. Another man, from Sharypovo in Krasnoyarsk Region, is due to appear in court soon (see F18News 27 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2373).

      Up to 10 years' imprisonment?

      If convicted, the Jehovah's Witnesses charged or under investigation could be imprisoned for up to 10 years under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"), or up to six years under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      One criminal investigation, in Orenburg, is also taking place under Criminal Code Article 282.3, Part 1 ("Financing of extremist activity"). This appears to be the first use of this Article against people exercising the internationally-recognised right to freedom of religion and belief.

      Conviction under Criminal Code Article 282.3, Part 1 ("Provision or collection of funds or rendering of financial services that are knowingly designed to finance the organisation, preparation and commission of at least one extremist crime or the support of the activities of an extremist community or an extremist organisation") carries the following penalties:

      - a fine of 300,000 to 700,000 Roubles, which is currently between two to four years' annual salary;

      - or compulsory labour for a period of one to four years, with possible deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of up to three years, or with possible restrictions on freedom for a period of up to one year;

      - or three to eight years' imprisonment.

      Forum 18 wrote to the Moscow press office of the Investigative Committee (which is leading most of the investigations) on 23 April, asking why the Jehovah's Witnesses detained in Ufa, Shuya, and Polyarny were considered so dangerous that armed force had to be used. On 10 May, Lieutenant Colonel S. Solovyov replied only that all available information on these cases could be found on the Bashkortostan, Ivanovo Region, and Murmansk Region Investigative Committee websites.

      None of the people involved in the latest prosecution yet appears on the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) "List of Terrorists and Extremists", whose assets banks are obliged to freeze. Their names may be added while their cases are still ongoing, however, meaning that they will suffer financial restrictions without any trial or conviction (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Officials added the name of Danish Jehovah's Witness Dennis Ole Christensen to the List shortly after his trial began.

      Christensen and Jehovah's Witness elder Arkadya Akopovich Akopyan are currently on trial for alleged "extremism" offences not directly related to the nationwide ban (see F18News 27 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2373).

      Perm

      Aleksandr Solovyov and his wife Anna had just returned from a trip abroad when law enforcement agents detained them at Perm-2 railway station on the evening of 22 May. Friends who had come to meet them said that officers put Solovyov in handcuffs and took him and his wife away in separate cars, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses reported on 24 May.

      Anna Solovyova has since been released, but Aleksandr is being held in a temporary detention centre while a judge decides on further restrictive measures. It is as yet unclear whether he will be placed in pre-trial detention or which court will rule on the matter. Under which part of Criminal Code Article 282.2 ("Organisation of" or "participation in" "the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity") he is being investigated is also unknown.

      Investigators searched the Solovyovs' home overnight on 22/23 May and seized the deeds to the flat, electronic devices, computer drives, their wifi router, photographs, and their collection of Bibles.

      Before the nationwide ban on Jehovah's Witness activity and the consequent liquidation of local communities, Aleksandr Solovyov chaired the Perm Jehovah's Witness congregation, according to federal tax records. Anna Solovyova does not appear on the list of founding members.

      As of 24 May, Solovyov was being held at the Temporary Detention Centre, ulitsa Uralskaya, 90, Perm, 614017.

      Birobidzhan: "Judgment Day"

      About 150 law enforcement officers conducted at least nine searches of Jehovah's Witness homes in Birobidzhan, capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region, early in the morning of 17 May, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses announced later that day. The operation was codenamed "Judgment Day", according to the Association.

      Officers seized personal photographs, bank cards, money, and electronic devices. So far, one person – Alam Aliyev – is known to be the subject of a criminal case under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      On 18 May, Judge Marina Tsimarno of Birobidzhan District Court upheld FSB investigators' request to keep Aliyev in pre-trial custody in Birobidzhan's Investigation Prison No. 1 until 13 July, according to court records. Aliyev's lawyers submitted an appeal against his detention on 21 May. On 25 May, Judge Anzhela Sizova of the Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region upheld this appeal, citing "significant violations of criminal procedural law governing the choice of pre-trial detention as a restrictive measure". This freed Aliyev from detention after eight days. It remains unknown what restrictions he remains under.

      The FSB's request to hold Aliyev in custody "was motivated by the fact that the crime is classified as grave, for which the law provides for a sentence of imprisonment for a term of six to 10 years", according to a 21 May press statement on the court website. "During the preliminary investigation, it was established that a large number of persons took part in the activity of this organisation. The suspect is the organiser of this extremist organisation and has an actual influence on members of the association."

      Birobidzhan was home to the only registered local Jehovah's Witness congregation in the Jewish Autonomous Region, which was among those ruled "extremist" and liquidated before the Supreme Court's decision to ban the Jehovah's Witnesses nationwide. The Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region upheld the local Justice Ministry branch's suit on 3 October 2016, and the community ceased its activities on 20 December 2016, according to federal tax records. Aliyev does not appear in the records as a founder member of the community.

      Orenburg Region: Mass raids

      Investigative Committee operatives, FSB security service agents, and armed riot police carried out 18 house searches in Orenburg, Buzuluk, Perevolotsky, and Sol-Iletsk, also on 17 May.

      They took 15 people away for questioning, three of whom were then sent to a temporary detention centre, according to statements by the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses on 17 May and 21 May.

      Of these three, Judge Igor Ismaylov of Industrial District Court ruled on 19 May that one – Vladislav Kolbanov – should be placed under house arrest, while the other two – Aleksandr Suvorov and Vladimir Kochnyov – should be kept in pre-trial detention until 14 July.

      Orenburg Region Investigative Committee reported that a further six people are under travel restrictions.

      Forum 18 understands Suvorov and Kochnyov's prison address to be:

      Orenburg Region

      460000 Orenburg

      ulitsa Naberezhnaya, 7

      Investigation Prison No. 1

      The Investigative Committee said in a press statement on 22 May that nine people in Orenburg Region have been formally charged under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"), Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in" such an organisation), and Criminal Code Article 282.3, Part 1 ("Financing of extremist activity").

      The European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses thinks that Kochnyov and Suvorov (both from Orenburg) have been charged under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1. Kolbanov (also from Orenburg), Boris Andreyev (from Perevolotsky), and Anatoly Vichkitov (from Sol-Iletsk) are also among those charged, although it remains unclear with which alleged offences.

      Before the liquidation of the Administrative Centre, Orenburg and Buzuluk had registered Jehovah's Witness communities, while Perevolotsky and Sol-Iletsk did not. According to federal tax records, Suvorov previously chaired the Central Orenburg Jehovah's Witness community, and Kochnyov was among its founding members.

      The raids on 17 May took place "as a result of carefully planned and organised operational and investigative actions", according to the Investigative Committee statement, and had the aim of "seizing documents and items relevant to the criminal case, as well as identifying other persons involved in unlawful activities".

      In raiding the historically pacifist Jehovah's Witnesses, police "anti-extremism" officers, the Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Administration, and the Orenburg Region FSB security service were also involved. The raids on pacifists also included what was described as "armed support" from National Guard special forces troops.

      Investigators allege that the suspects, knowing of the 2017 ban on Jehovah's Witness activity, "organised the activity of a structural subdivision of Jehovah's Witnesses by calling and holding meetings, organising the recruitment of new members, and communicating the contents of religious literature to meeting participants".

      The investigation is continuing, with "necessary investigative and operational-search measures underway in order to collect and consolidate a base of evidence", according to the statement.

      Telephones at Orenburg Region Investigative Committee went unanswered when Forum 18 called on 24 May to ask why officials thought armed force was necessary against pacifists.

      Polyarny, Murmansk Region

      Further details have now emerged of earlier raids on Jehovah's Witness homes in other regions (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      Two men from Polyarny in Murmansk Region are in pre-trial detention, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses confirmed on 11 May. They are Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov, who are in custody in the city of Murmansk until 12 June. The Investigative Committee's branch in the closed district of Aleksandrovsk (which includes Polyarny) opened the case against them on 12 April . This is under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      Markin and Trofimov's prison address is:

      Murmansk Region

      183027 Murmansk

      ulitsa Radishcheva, 32

      Investigation Prison No. 1

      Before the nationwide ban and liquidation of local Jehovah's Witness organisations, Viktor Trofimov chaired the Polyarny community, according to federal tax records.

      The men (who are like all Jehovah's Witnesses pacifists) were detained during armed raids on seven houses in Polyarny on 18 April, which involved armed troops and riot police "who acted extremely rudely", according to Jehovah's Witnesses. Officers searched 17 people in all and confiscated their electronic devices. Interrogations at the Investigative Department of the Northern Fleet's Polyarny Flotilla continued through the night until 7 am the next day (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      At Roman Markin's home, officers broke down his front door in the early evening, forced him and his 16-year-old daughter to lie on the floor during the search, and threatened them with weapons. Investigators questioned the 16-year-old until 3 am.

      During another search, an elderly man opened the door to the riot police, who then "pushed him so violently that he fell", the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses claims. They also hurt two women who were visiting the flat, and forced two teenage siblings to stand against the wall with their arms outstretched.

      Vladivostok

      Valentin Osadchuk remains in pre-trial detention in Vladivostok, where he is to be held until 20 June. He was formally charged on 27 April under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"), according to the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      Forum 18 understands Osadchuk's prison address to be:

      Primorye Region

      690106 Vladivostok

      Partizansky prospekt, 28b

      Investigation Prison No. 1

      Two women, aged 66 and 83, have also been named as suspects under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity") and placed under travel restrictions, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses also reported on 10 May. The FSB security service initiated the case against them and Osadchuk on 9 April. According to Jehovah's Witnesses, the investigation involved video surveillance, followed by raids on people's homes on 19 April.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Officials from the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization say Russian law-enforcement officers have carried out “mass searches” on members’ homes in the Urals region of Orenburg and in the Far Eastern city of Birobidzhan.
      Jarrod Lopes, a spokesman for the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York, on May 17 said 150 law-enforcement personnel raided more than 20 adherents’ homes in Birobidzhan, the capital of Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region.
      The raids came after searches had been carried out on May 16 in the Orenburg region near the border with Kazakhstan in which 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses were questioned and three were taken into custody, Lopes said.
      The spokesman said a criminal case had been initiated against an adherent of the Christian sect, Alam Aliyev, and that a trial was expected on May 18.
      Russia’s Supreme Court in July 2017 upheld a ruling that the Jehovah’s Witnesses should be considered an extremist organization, effectively banning the denomination from the country.
      The original ruling, issued in April 2017, was the first time an entire registered religious organization had been prohibited under Russian law.
      Long viewed with suspicion in Russia for their positions on military service, voting, and government authority in general, the Jehovah’s Witnesses -- which claim some 170,000 adherents in Russia and 8 million worldwide -- are among several denominations that have come under increasing pressure in recent years.
      The sect began operating in Russia and across the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
      Russia's treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses has raised concerns from governments and religious organizations in the West.
      “The treatment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses reflects the Russian government’s tendency to view all independent religious activity as a threat to its control and the country’s political stability,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said after the Supreme Court ruling last year.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      ST. PETERSBURG, May 3. /TASS/. The St. Petersburg city court has upheld the decision to confiscate from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania in New York the compound in the community of Solnechnoye on the Gulf of Finland and convert it to state property, the St. Petersburg courts’ press service said on Thursday.
      Earlier, a court of lower instance found that officially the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia in 2000 donated the real estate compound on the coast of the Gulf of Finland to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, registered on US territory. However, according to the courts’ press-service, the Administrative Center continued to use the facilities as before, which was a reason enough to declare the transaction fictitious and void. The property was taken over by the state.
      The compound consists of sixteen items - plots of land, homes and buildings more than 880 million rubles ($13.9 million) worth.
      Earlier, TASS reported that the defendants had disagreed with the lower instance court’s ruling and filed an appeal at the St. Petersburg city court. In particular, they argued that substantive law had been violated and anti-extremist law sanctions were used against them without a reason.
      Russia’s Supreme Court had declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and outlawed its activity in Russia.


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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The criminal trial in Krasnoyarsk Region of a fourth local Muslim accused of "extremism" for meeting with others to study the works of Muslim theologian Said Nursi appears imminent. Other criminal trials on similar charges of Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims continue.
      The criminal trial appears imminent of a further Muslim from Krasnoyarsk Region charged with "continuing the activities of an extremist organisation" for meeting to study the works of the late Turkish Muslim theologian Said Nursi, Forum 18 has found. Among the three Muslims already on trial in Krasnoyarsk on the same criminal charges is a Muslim whose previously unknown trial began in January.

      The latest case brings to six the total number of people known to be on trial or soon to come to court for alleged involvement in "Nurdzhular", which Muslims in Russia deny even exists. Two Jehovah's Witnesses are also on trial for extremism-related offences (see below).

      Criminal cases were opened in April against a further seven Jehovah's Witnesses for allegedly continuing to meet after the nationwide ban on Jehovah's Witness activity came into force in July 2017 (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      If convicted under Criminal Code Article 282.2, both Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims who read Nursi's works could be jailed for up to ten years under Part 1 ("Organisation of the activities of a banned extremist organisation") or up to six years under Part 2 ("Participation in the activities of a banned extremist organisation").

      Typically, Muslims who study Nursi's writings meet in private homes, with one or more expounding on a particular book. They also pray, eat, and drink tea together. They do not seek any state permission for such meetings.

      Law enforcement agencies interpret such meetings as organised activity by "Nurdzhular" (derived from the Turkish for "Nursi followers"), which was ruled "extremist" and prohibited by the Supreme Court in 2008, despite the fact that Muslims in Russia say that no such association even exists.

      Courts have banned many Russian translations of Nursi's books, despite their not calling for violence or the violation of human rights (see Forum 18's Russia "extremism" religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Subsequently, people who have met to study Nursi's books have been prosecuted under Criminal Code Article 282.2 ("Organisation of" or "participation in" "the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      Since the 2017 liquidation of the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre as an "extremist" organisation, Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are now also in danger of being prosecuted under Criminal Code Article 282.2 if they continue to meet for worship or Bible study. In some towns, this was already a danger after earlier "extremism" bans on local communities.

      Punishments

      Amendments to the Criminal Code in July 2016 introduced harsher penalties for "extremism"-related offences (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      An individual charged since then (such as the two Muslims recently charged in Krasnoyarsk Region) could be sentenced to the following under Criminal Code Article 282.2 ("Organisation of" or "participation in" "the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"):

      Part 1 – a fine of 400,000 to 800,000 Roubles (or two to four years' salary); or six to 10 years' imprisonment followed by restrictions on pursuing certain jobs and activities for up to 10 years and restrictions on freedom for one to two years;

      Part 2 – a fine of 300,000 to 600,000 Roubles (or two to three years' salary); compulsory labour for one to four years with possible restrictions on pursuing certain jobs and activities for two to six years; or two to six years' imprisonment followed by restrictions on pursuing certain jobs and activities for up to five years or restrictions on freedom for up to a year.

      A fine of 300,000 Roubles (42,000 Norwegian Kroner, 4,350 Euros or 5,300 US Dollars) is about eight months' average wages for those in formal work.

      For any defendant whose alleged offence took place before 20 July 2016, earlier provisions remain in place, with fines of 300,000 to 500,000 Roubles, compulsory labour of up to five years or prison sentences of two to eight years under Part 1, and fines of up to 300,000 Roubles, compulsory labour of up to three years, or prison sentences of up to four years under Part 2.

      Krasnoyarsk: Further trial begins 

      Two further Muslims in Krasnoyarsk Region, Sabirzhon Shamsidinovich Kabirzoda (born 4 May 1991) and Yevgeny Igoryevich Sukharev (born 9 April 1990), are facing prosecution under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activities of a banned extremist organisation").

      Kabirzoda and Sukharev are friends of two Muslims who are already on trial in Krasnoyarsk for alleged involvement in "Nurdzhular", a fellow Muslim who is following the case told Forum 18 on 20 April. Kabirzoda and Sukharev, however, are being tried separately, having been charged much later.

      Tajik-born Kabirzoda, who appears to work as a plasterer in Krasnoyarsk, is already on trial at the city's Soviet District Court, where prosecutors lodged his case on 22 December 2017. By this time, he had already been a suspect since December 2016 in the case against two other Muslims who read Nursi's works, Andrei Dedkov and Andrei Rekst (see below).

      This investigation was carried out by Krasnoyarsk Region FSB security service, which has repeatedly failed to respond to Forum 18's questions about the case.

      Kabirzoda has undergone nine hearings so far before Judge Marina Shtruba, with the next due on 14 May, according to the court website. He is not in custody or under house arrest, a fellow Muslim told Forum 18 on 26 April, and may not be under travel restrictions, "just an obligation to attend court".

      Kabirzoda was added on 20 November 2017 to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) "List of Terrorists and Extremists", whose assets banks are obliged to freeze.

      Sharypovo: Trial imminent?

      The trial appears imminent of Yevgeny Sukharev, from the Krasnoyarsk Region town of Sharypovo. He is also accused of involvement in the "Nurdzhular cell" allegedly run by Andrei Dedkov.

      After an investigation by the Krasnoyarsk Region branch of the Investigative Committee, Sukharev was charged on 12 February 2018 and his case lodged at Sharypovo City Court on 27 March 2018. No date has yet been set for his first hearing before Judge Inga Gavritskaya.

      Sukharev is currently under travel restrictions. He does not yet appear on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists".

      In the Investigative Committee document officially charging Sukharev, seen by Forum 18, he is described as having been a "follower" of Said Nursi since October 2012. From July 2014 to March 2015, the document continues, Sukharev went to Turkey to study Nursi's teachings. He is accused of bringing banned books and brochures into Russia on his return.

      The document also outlines various gatherings at Sukharev's or his friends' homes in Sharypovo and Krasnoyarsk. At these meetings, Sukharev is accused of quoting from Nursi's writings, "applying knowledge and skills he acquired by studying the Risale-i Nur collection, using this literature as a single set of propaganda, influencing the religious feelings of those present with the goal of a step-by-step transformation of their personalities and change in their worldview in accordance with the ideology of [Nurdzhular], pursuing a goal of Islamisation of the population and creation of an Islamic state".

      Investigators name Andrei Rekst and Sabirzhon Kabirzoda as having been present at a "lesson" at which Sukharev quoted from Risale-i Nur. They refer to Andrei Dedkov only as "a person against whom separate criminal proceedings are underway", who organised the cell of which Sukharev was allegedly a part.

      According to the charges, the FSB security service raided Sukharev's rented flat in Sharypovo on 24 March 2017, "and on that same day Sukharev's criminal activity in Krasnoyarsk Region was thwarted". Officers seized several volumes from the Risale-i Nur collection (mainly single copies, Forum 18 notes, with a few duplicates) as well as Mary Weld's "Islam in Modern Turkey", a biography of Nursi which has also been banned in Russia as "extremist".

      Krasnoyarsk: Trials of Muslims continue into second year

      Andrei Nikolayevich Dedkov (born 16 June 1979), the alleged leader of the Krasnoyarsk "Nurdzhular cell", has now been on trial at Soviet District Court in Krasnoyarsk for just over a year. There have been 19 hearings in his case so far before Judge Sergei Tupeko, the latest on 17 April 2018. He is under travel restrictions, having been released from pre-trial detention in March 2017 after nearly twelve months.

      Dedkov's next hearing is due on 3 May, according to the court website.

      On 18 April, state drug control officers searched Dedkov's home and those of three other Krasnoyarsk Muslims for narcotics, a fellow Muslim who reads Nursi's works told Forum 18 the following day. The officers found nothing, but took all four men to the drug control service's headquarters and questioned them, before letting them go.

      "A special interest was shown in the messaging apps the Muslims used," their fellow Muslim added, and their phones were confiscated for further examination.

      This is the third time Dedkov has been prosecuted for allegedly organising "Nurdzhular" activities. The first case against him ran out of time in 2012. The second ended in conviction in 2015, but the consequent fine was dropped after the statute of limitations again expired during the appeal period (see F18News 21 January 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2141).

      Andrei Gennadyevich Rekst (born 14 March 1994), who is at home on bail, will next appear before Judge Radomir Larionov at Krasnoyarsk's Sverdlovsk District Court on 4 May. He has also had 19 hearings over the last year, the most recent on 26 April.

      Dedkov and Rekst were initially detained in March 2016, after the FSB security service had carried out surveillance of several Muslims in Krasnoyarsk for much of 2015 (see F18News 29 June 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2193). For holding gatherings to read and discuss Nursi's works, they were charged under Article 282.2, Part 1 (Dedkov) and Part 2 (Rekst).

      Both Rekst and Dedkov appear on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists".

      Prosecutors have also succeeded in having religious literature seized from Rekst's flat prohibited as "extremist". Judge Natalya Bogdevich of Sverdlovsk District Court upheld the prosecutors' suit on 28 March.

      If the ruling comes into force, Said Nursi's books "Admonition of the soul", "Tract on the wonders of the Koran", "Mesnevi Nuriye", and "The path of positive service" (all from the Risale-i Nur collection of Nursi's writings; all Russian translations from Turkish, published by Sözler) will be banned from distribution in Russia.

      Forty titles by Nursi are already on the Justice Ministry's Federal List of Extremist Materials (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Sergei Mikhailov, representing the Sözler publishing company, told Forum 18 on 19 April that he is preparing an appeal against the ban on the latest Nursi works to Krasnoyarsk Regional Court.

      Novosibirsk: Trial of Muslim, investigation of another continue

      The trial of Imam Komil Olimovich Odilov (born 18 August 1975) is continuing at Novosibirsk's October District Court. He has undergone seven hearings so far, with the next due on 3 May, according to the court website. The court has still not questioned Odilov, his lawyer, Yuliya Zhemchugova, told Forum 18 on 19 April.

      Prosecutors have charged Odilov under Article 282.2, Part 1, with organising a "cell" of "Nurdzhular" in Novosibirsk. He denies the charges and insists that the alleged organisation does not exist and that he has never engaged in extremist activity (see F18News 1 March 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2358).

      Odilov has been on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists" since January 2016.

      Odilov's is the only one among six related prosecutions to have come to trial so far.

      Prosecutors have closed the criminal cases against three of Odilov's fellow suspects – Uralbek Karaguzinov (born 21 July 1954), Mirsultan Takhir-ogly Nasirov (born 8 October 1997), and Bobirjon Baratovich Tukhtamurodov (born 9 July 1975) – under Criminal Code Article 76.2, which permits the "release from criminal liability" of people who have committed a minor or moderate-severity first offence upon payment of a judicial fine.

      The cases against Karaguzinov and Nasirov were ended at October District Court in November 2017. The two men have since been removed from the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists". Tukhtamurodov's prosecution ended on 7 March 2018, also by order of October District Court – as of 27 April, his name remains on the Rosfinmonitoring list.

      The FSB in Novosibirsk is also investigating Imam Ilhom Zavkidinovich Merazhov (born 1 July 1970) under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1, and Timur Muzafarovich Atadzhanov (born 21 April 1988) under Article 282.2, Part 2. Merazhov is currently living abroad. Atadzhanov's whereabouts are unknown.

      This is the second time that Odilov and Merazhov have been prosecuted under Article 282.2, Part 1. In May 2013, they each received one-year suspended sentences for allegedly organising "Nurdzhular" activity in Novosibirsk.

      The men were among nine people detained by the FSB at an Azerbaijani cafe in Novosibirsk in December 2015 (see F18News 21 January 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2141). Most were released the next day after interrogation and searches of their homes, but Odilov was kept in custody for nine months before being allowed home under travel restrictions in September 2016.

      The Novosibirsk FSB, which was responsible for the investigation, has repeatedly refused to answer Forum 18's questions about the case.

      Dagestan: Trial of Muslim continues

      The trial of Ilgar Vagif-ogly Aliyev is continuing at Izberbash City Court in Dagestan. He has had eight hearings so far, the latest on 11 April.

      He has not been added to the Rosfinmonitoring list.

      Prosecutors have charged Aliyev under Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activities of a banned extremist organisation") for holding gatherings of fellow Muslims to study Nursi's works (see F18News 1 March 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2358).

      Aliyev is being held in Investigation Prison No. 2 in Derbent, a fellow Muslim told Forum 18, and is taken from there to Izberbash on each day of the trial.

      Oryol: Trial of Jehovah's Witness continues

      The trial of Danish Jehovah's Witness Dennis Ole Christensen (born 18 December 1972) began at Oryol's Railway District Court on 26 February. There have been five hearings so far, the latest on 25 April. Judge Aleksei Rudnev has scheduled further hearings on 14, 15, 16, 28, 29, and 30 May.

      Prosecutors accuse Christensen of "continuing the activities" of the banned and liquidated Oryol Jehovah's Witness community, and have charged him under Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activities of a banned extremist organisation") (see F18News 20 February 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2355).

      Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that the ban on their activities (nationwide from July 2017, in several towns beforehand as a result of local liquidations) does not amount to a prohibition of their faith, and that they retain the right under the Russian Constitution to pray together.

      Christensen's lawyer Viktor Zhenkov told the court on 23 April that the defence intends to seek clarification as to "what should be considered the consequences of liquidation of a legal entity, and what is the inviolable human right to freedom of religion".

      The case materials come to 2,500 pages, according to the jw-russia.org news website, which is administered from outside Russia. Court proceedings have been twice adjourned (on 26 February and 3 April) to allow Christensen more time to familiarise himself with the evidence against him (previously, Oryol's Soviet District Court had limited him to two weeks).

      Prosecutors complained at the 3 April hearing that asking for more time was "an intentional drawing out of proceedings", jw-russia.org reported on 9 April. Judge Rudnev, however, agreed to the defence request and granted Christensen six more meetings with his translator. The judge refused, however, to allow the defence team to view the prosecution's material evidence (video recordings, photographs, and items seized in searches).

      As the trial proceeds, Christensen remains in custody at Investigation Prison No. 1 in Oryol. On 22 February, Judge Rudnev extended his detention period to 1 August 2018. Danish Embassy officials, who have been in contact with Christensen, report that he is in good health and has not been mistreated in the prison.

      On 27 March, Christensen was added to the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists". This means that his bank accounts have been frozen and no transactions worth more than 10,000 Roubles per month are allowed.

      When Judge Rudnev asked Christensen on 23 April if he understood the accusations against him, Christensen responded that he understood only partially, since the charge was "formulated so broadly", the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18 on 24 April.

      Lawyer Anton Bogdanov pointed out that the indictment "does not contain the essence of the charge, or a description of the places and times of the commission of the alleged criminal actions or of methods, consequences, or other significant circumstances, without which it is impossible to issue a judicial decision".

      On 24 April, the court began questioning witnesses. This will be followed by the questioning of Christensen himself, then the final arguments from prosecution and defence, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses explained.

      Police and FSB security service operatives arrested Christensen at a Bible study meeting on 25 May 2017. Video footage posted online by local news site Orlovskiye Novosti shows armed personnel in body armour and balaclavas, accompanied by others in civilian clothes, entering a Kingdom Hall. The congregation inside was prevented from leaving while officers searched the building. Interrogations and searches of people's homes continued into the following morning, Jehovah's Witnesses reported (see F18News 22 June 2017 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2290).

      The registered Jehovah's Witness organisation in Oryol was ruled "extremist" and ordered liquidated in June 2016. Christensen's prosecution is derived from this local ban, and not the nationwide prohibition on Jehovah's Witness activities, which came into force in July 2017, after the case against him was initiated.

      Prokhladny: Trial of Jehovah's Witness continues

      The 70-year-old Jehovah's Witness elder Anatolya Akopovich Akopyan has so far undergone sixteen hearings in his trial at Prokhladny City Court in the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkariya, according to court records. The latest of these took place on 15 March, when Judge Oleg Golovashko ordered further "expert analysis".

      Akopyan has been charged under Article 282, Part 1 ("Actions directed at the incitement of hatred [nenavist] or enmity [vrazhda], as well as the humiliation of an individual or group of persons on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, attitude to religion, or social group") (see F18News 20 February 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2355).

      Prosecutors accuse Akopyan of giving sermons which "degraded the dignity" of Orthodox and Muslim clergy, condoning Pussy Riot's demonstration in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in 2012, and giving banned "extremist" literature to his community.

      The case against Akopyan is based on the testimony of five witnesses who are not member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, but who claim to have attended meetings at which they heard the allegedly extremist sermons and were given banned texts to distribute. This is despite the fact that their mobile phone records show that they were nowhere near the Jehovah' Witnesses' building at the times in question, defence lawyers have claimed.

      Expert Irina Balova, who analysed the statements allegedly made by Akopyan, gave evidence at hearings on 14 and 15 March, the jw-russia.org news website reported on 20 March. Judge Golovashko found shortcomings in this testimony, including the fact that Balova had ignored the absence of a punctuation mark which could give a sentence an entirely different meaning. At the request of defence lawyers, he decided to appoint a new expert for a fresh psycho-linguistic examination.

      If convicted, Akopyan may receive the following possible punishments: a fine of 300,000 to 500,000 Roubles; or 2 to 3 years' income; or compulsory labour (prinutdelnaya rabota) for 1 to 4 years with a ban on working in one's profession for up to 3 years; or 2 to 5 years' imprisonment.

      Akopyan remains under travel restrictions, but has not been placed on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists" as of 27 April. (END)

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Wearing balaclavas and carrying machine guns, police in four Russian cities have raided the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses over the past two weeks and brought members of the religious group in for questioning, sources connected to the group told Newsweek.
      In Russia, where the Orthodox Christian Church has deep ties to the highest levels of the Kremlin, the government has labeled Jehovah’s witnesses an “extremist” sect. The ruling was made exactly one year ago, in April 2017, and came into force just a few months later when Russia’s Supreme Court dismissed an appeal. The group’s administrative center in St. Petersburg, Russia was consequently dissolved, and Jehovah’s witnesses were forced to begin worshiping in secret in their homes after almost 400 local chapters shuttered.
      Meanwhile, many say they have faced systematic harassment by security forces. Since January, members of the group say they have had their homes raided on at least seven separate occasions, four of which took place in April.
      “It’s a new wave of persecution. We don’t know what’s happening,” Yaroslav Sivulsky, a Jehovah’s Witness from Russia who is now living in exile in Latvia, told Newsweek Thursday. “If they wanted to they could put any number of Jehovah’s Witnesses in prison because they know the Jehovah’s Witnesses are worshipping at home and they can find them easily.”
      There are around eight million Christians worldwide who self-identify as Jehovah’s Witnesses, an estimated 175,000 of whom live in Russia. Members of the group, which was founded and remains headquartered in the United States, are often seen knocking on doors and standing in the streets, looking for opportunities to speak with bystanders about their faith. But only a handful of countries, including China, Vietnam, and Russia have banned the group outright.
      All of those countries were included on a recent list of places of particular concern in the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report for 2018. It is the second year in a row that Russia has been included on the list.
      “The [Russian] government continued to target ‘nontraditional’ religious minorities, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientologists, with fines, detentions, and criminal charges under the pretext of combating extremism,” the report read. “Most notably, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned outright, as was their translation of the Bible, and their followers persecuted nationwide.”
      The report’s findings are in line with what many Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia describe.
      “On April 20, law-enforcement officers searched the homes of several of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including three former members of the local religious organization in Ivanovo. Igor Morozov was taken to the police station. Mr. Morozov was later released, but is not allowed to leave Ivanovo,” Jarrod Lopes, a representative of the Jehovah’s Witnesses world headquarters, told Newsweek about one of the latest events in Russia.
      “On April 19 in Vladivostok, Russia,   police raided a religious service attended by Valentin Osadchuk and three elderly women. All four were taken to the police station and interrogated. Valentin remains in custody and has been charged under Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code, ‘organizing the activity of an extremist organization.’ Mr. Osadchuk is being kept in pretrial detention until June 20, 2018,” Lopes added.
      These events follow on the heels of similar events in the Russian cities of Polyarny, Ufa, Oryol, Belgorod, and Kemerovo, he noted. Russia also brought extremism charges against a 46-year-old Danish Jehovah’s witness named Dennis Christensen. He was held in pre-trial detention for 11 months, and on April 3 a judge in Oryol quickly adjourned his preliminary hearing after he asked for more time to review the materials of his case. He could be jailed for 10 years if found guilty. 
      “The Russian authorities’ ruthless persecution of Jehovah’s Witness adherents has been picking up steam,” Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Dropping the case against Christensen would be a good first step toward ending the raids and other criminal cases against people who are merely practicing their faith.”

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    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      FSB starts detaining Jehovah’s Witnesses on Kola, dozens flee to Finland
      Criminal cases are initiated after FSB and Rosgvardia raided six addresses in the closed navy town of Polyarny.
      ByHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      April 20, 2018
      Last April, a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout the country, arguing the religious group to be extremist.
      On Friday, Murmansk regional authorities’ newspaper Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. reports about raids made by FSB and the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) in Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula.
       
      Two local residents were detained under suspicions of being members of the administrative centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, organizing teaching and meetings where reading of banned religious literature took place. Searches were carried out at six addresses in Polyarny.  
       
      The town is home to a naval yard and several of the diesel-powered submarines and other warships of the Northern Fleet have Polyarny as homeport.
       
      The extremist law banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia provides for a maximum sentences of 6 to 10 years in jail.
      Meanwhile, a wave of practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses are fleeing Russia. More than a thousand people are now seeking asylum in several European countries, including Finland, the newspaper Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. reported earlier this winter.
       
      It all started last summer, and that’s when the first Witnesses sought asylum in Finland, spokesperson Veikko Leininen with the organization’s Finnish branch told the newspaper.  Many dozens at least are still to come, he said.
      Press adviser Therese Bergwitz-Larsen with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can’t go into details about particular reasons for asylum seekers coming to Norway.
      Unfortunately, we can’t say anything in general on the background for reasons to apply for asylum, since the number [from Russia] is so small, Bergwitz-Larsen tells the Barents Observer.
      Statistics from UDI show that 15 persons came from Russia the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. this year. In Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , 58 Russian asylum seekers came to Norway.
      In Russia, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are estimated to about 175,000. That be, before the organization was declared extremist. Viewed with skepticism for denying military service, voting and refusal to take blood, the members are seen as both a threat to themselves, their children and public safety.
      Also during Soviet times, the Witnesses were persecuted.   
      Human Right Watch recently called on Russian authorities to drop charges against Danish citizen Dennis Christensen adherent for practicing his faith. Christensen has been in pretrial custody for 11 months in the town of Orel. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. argues that Russia is a member of Council of Europe and  a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefore is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association.
      My note: Russia passed a law in 2015 that basically stated that any CE or ECHR resolution or ruling they disagreed with could be ignored. I think it is a very good idea when governments start rounding up people for gas chambers, concentration or slave labor camps, or prison ... just be somewhere else.
      You may have to abandon everything you and your family ever worked for, with the clothes on your back, but at least when they upholster the living room furniture you left behind ... it won't be with YOUR SKIN.
       
       
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Siberian Jehovah's Witnesses try to shield property from confiscation
      JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES' REAL ESTATE DEAL RULED FICTITIOUS
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      The Seversk city court ruled a transaction regarding real estate belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses to be fictitious. The property was transferred to federal ownership; similar cases are now being reviewed in another two district courts in Tomsk oblast. How and why this is happening is the topic of this RIA Tomsk article.
      The prosecutor's office acted as the initiator of a judicial investigation in Seversk (a satellite town of Tomsk). It sent a plaintiff's declaration to the Seversk city court for challenging the real estate deal on the part of Jehovah's Witnesses in Seversk. According to the prosecutor's office's account, the transaction bears a fictitious character and is intended to prevent the transfer of the property to the ownership of the Russian federation.
      Earlier, federal news media reported that in October 2016, a court issued a warning to the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" regarding extremist activity. In March 2017, the Russian Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court for finding the organization extremist, preventing its activity, and liquidating it, and it also suspended the activity of the movement within Russia. The lawsuit was granted on 20 April 2017.
      After the filing by the Russian Ministry of Justice (25 March 2017) of the administrative plaintiff's declaration in the Russian Supreme Court for the liquidation of the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" and 395 local religious divisions that are part of its structure, the organization's property was transferred by the court to state income.
      However law enforcement agencies thought that local religious organizations, on order from the administrative center, undertook measures for shielding assets on the basis of fictitious transactions.
      Seversk precedent
      An example of such a transaction was discovered in the ZATO [closed administrative territorial formation] of Seversk in Tomsk oblast. The oblast prosecutor's office challenged the sales transaction of the premises of a house of worship by the Seversk organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.
      "The prosecutor's office of Tomsk oblast filed plaintiff's statements in the Seversk city court regarding the illegal alienation of immovable property of local religious organizations, the North Tomsk Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seversk Jehovah's Witnesses, by fictitious transactions. They had been eliminated from the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities in August 2017," a source in law enforcement agencies of the region explained.
      He said that on 10 March 2017, the Seversk religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses concluded a fictitious contract for sale of a building belonging to the organization and located in Seversk at 3 Komsomolskaia Street. At the same time, funds were not received in the organization's account. The investigation does not rule out the possibility that the money simply was appropriated by the leadership of this organization, which includes local bureaucrats.
      "The investigation established that Andrei Sergeevich Ledyaikin acted as the seller; he is a member of the committee of the 'Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia,'" the source stressed.
      The prosecutor's office of Tomsk maintained that this transaction was fictitious and aimed at the prevention of the transfer of the building and land to federal ownership. The court recognized the correctness of the prosecutor's office. In addition, similar cases now are ongoing in the October court of Tomsk and the court of Asino.
      Religious or commercial structure?
      According to information from public sources, the parent organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is registered not as a religious but as a commercial structure. More precisely, as a publishing house created in the U.S.A. The activity of Witnesses was prohibited in Russia on 20 April 2017 by the Russian Supreme Court for extremist activity. This was by no means a unique incident; this organization is considered dangerous in 37 countries, primarily Muslim countries.
      In the opinion of a docent of the history faculty of Tomsk State University, Dmitry Konikov, the Jehovah's Witnesses are not a purely religious organization. "But it is still incorrect to call Jehovah's Witnesses just a commercial organization. The commercialization of their activity is a rather recent trend," Konikov told RIA Tomsk.
      He said that to define some religious movement as a sect requires understanding from which doctrines its adherents derive.
      "A sect, like a heresy, is always the denial of belief in some doctrines asserted by a 'mother' church or teaching. At the same time, in the protestant movement there are many kinds of protestant churches and a single canon simply does not exist; there is no main line from which to depart is considered a heresy," the scholar explained.
      Perhaps the most blatant scandal involving Jehovah's Witnessses occurred several years ago in France, news media write. There a court ruled them to be a commercial structure and ordered recovery from the organization of unpaid taxes of more than four million euros. In the opinion of French authorities, the Witnesses conducted not religious but commercial activity. Of course, they appealed the decision to the European court.
      Some history
      According to historical information from TASS, the Jehovah's Witnesses are an international religious organization. It was founded in the 1870s in the U.SA., in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, by a preacher, Charles Russell. The Jehovists deny a majority of Christian doctrines, including the creation of the world, the immortality of the soul, and the doctrine of the Trinity.
      Characteristic of this religious movement is the expectation of the imminent end of the world and the establishment of paradise on earth, where those whom the Jehovists consider to be worthy will live eternally. At the same time, it should be noted that none of their predictions of the end of the world have come true.
      The doctrines of the movement have frequently been revised. Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that while studying the Bible they come to new conclusions and reject older "mistakes" (for example, veneration of the cross). Jehovists do not recognize governmental institutions and civic obligations, they refuse service in the army, and they forbid blood transfusion, including for children.
      Unconditional submission to the will and goals of the organization is required from each adherent to the teaching. Nobody has the right to depart from it independently. The movement cultivates and supports among its devotees hostility to those who do not acknowledge its teaching. Because of this, Jehovists are often accused of inflaming religious hatred and many call it a sect.
      The main activity of Jehovah's Witnesses is the spreading of their teaching and the sale of their own literature. In the U.S.A. they have the possibility of conducting propaganda on radio and television. In order to advance its goals the movement uses a number of legal entities, the oldest and most well known of which is the "Watchtower Society." The funds of the organization are collected by contributions and sale of printed products, purchased and produced by adherents.
      The movement has a multi-layered administrative structure, headed by the Governing Body, consisting of ten to fifteen persons; as a rule, membership in it is life-long. The total number of active members of the movement is estimated to be about eight million persons. Jehovah's Witnesses' activity is forbidden in many countries, including China, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 March 2018)
      Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations passed by the LPR parliament bans the activity of religious groups in the Republic, acting LPR Culture, Sport and Youth Minister Dmitriy Sidorov told a news briefing at Lugansk Media Centre.
       Jehovah Witnesses sect whose members helped Ukrainian secret services and neo-Nazi groups ~ LPR parliament approves law banning religious groups’ activity in Republic ~
      “We removed the notion of religious group from the law (on Freedom of Conscience),” Sidorov said. “It was necessary for clear understanding of the faith professed by this or that organisation.”
      “Relgious groups are expressly forbidden. A religious group is an organisation comprising five members which has no direct relation to any of the traditional faiths,” the official said.
      “A ban on religious groups’ activity outlaws all Jehovah witnesses and the like who have been operating in Ukrainian territory. In LPR they are expressly prohibited, too,” he said.
      Under the law,  all religious organisations in LPR should go through mandatory registration to legalise their activity.
      Earlier, LPR State Security Ministry stopped the activity of a Jehovah Witnesses sect whose members had helped Ukrainian secret services and neo-Nazi groups.
    • Guest Nicole
    • By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
      How will it end the proscription of Jehovah's Witnesses?   I wish to state that the purpose of this article, like all the ones posted so far, is not to see who is right. Humanly speaking, we are all brothers and neighbors to the Russians when even a single brother suffers, we all should suffer with them - Romans 24:15 There is no controversy desire towards the Governing Body, and even on their current scriptural understanding. However, even the author of this article recognizes the supreme importance of paying attention to scripture and explain how, this, decodes current events. Aware that the current situation in Russia will have to expand to other nations (and that includes ours), with the utmost humility and attention we must approach to Scripture without hiding uncomfortable truths. This, despite the delicate and far from cheerful topic, will show how Jehovah knows everything and has everything under control. What can we expect in the near future, particularly in relation to the proscription of Jehovah's Witnesses? Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The proscription of Jehovah's Witnesses and the preaching is a Bible prophecy?   As we all know the situation that has developed in Russia in the latter period it is anything but cheerful. The April 20, 2017 the work of our brothers has been declared illegal and the recent appeal, which occurred on July 17 in Moscow, has done nothing but confirm this unjust sentence. This judgment, in addition to imposing the closing of the administrative center with all the consequences, forbids all religious activities. The official story is that the decision of the Supreme Court is located at the following link   As recognized by the brother Anderson appealed the options, at least in Russia, they have ended. There are no degrees or higher possibility of further appeals in this nation. Brother Mark Sanderson acknowledged, in one of the last video you can find in tv.jw.org site, which because of this ruling is to be expected that religious persecution increases. At Brother Lett question whether there is still a possibility of appeal, Brother Sanderson replied that he would turn to the European Court of Human Rights. With the so-called "provisional measures" the European Court could intervene even trying to block the ruling. Obviously it is not at all certain that a judgment in favor of Jehovah's Witnesses by the European Court of Justice to have the least effect on a sovereign state. The European Court certainly can not decide for a sovereign state, nor a state like Russia, but it is a possibility. So Lett specifically asked, "Mark, you see a parallel in the Bible with the events they have witnessed in the Supreme Court?" Sanderson responded by quoting Matthew 5:11: "... lying against you will say all sorts of evil things" and on this there is little to argue that, whatever they say, and minus any errors, you really ridiculous to compare Jehovah's witnesses to terrorist groups. So Brother Sanderson talked about the excellent experience in the various embassies and how they astound themselves because "their Jehovah's Witnesses" were receiving such treatment. "Jehovah's Witnesses have faced the concentration camps in the Nazi era; it has not stopped the exile in Siberia; we did not stop the hard labor in the Gulag ... and all this thanks to the protection of our God, Jehovah" ( these were the words of brother Sanderson). It 'great to hear this declaration of trust in our loving Father, Jehovah. We all know that, whatever happens, Jehovah will find the right solution in the best and the right time. As mentioned, he has everything under control. However doi every one of us knows very well that whatever idea we can do about a particular issue, it is always the Word of God that we must address. It is absolutely true that our dear brothers, in history, "they faced the concentration camps, were not stopped by exile in Siberia, were not stopped by the hard labor in the Gulag" and all this has happened thanks to ' Jehovah's help, but what we really should ask is ... "what is Jehovah's will for us in the time we're living in?" By studying the history of Israel it is not a mystery to assert that they, many times, fed false expectations about the will of Jehovah. So another question you should ask is ... "What is happening in Russia these days is a specific Biblical prophecy or is part of the general hatred by all nations as mentioned Brother Sanderson?" This question is crucial because if the proscription in Russia is one of many "diatribes" caused by this world, no different from what happened in Mali or Burundi, then the period we are living is not particularly relevant. This situation will have ups and downs, we will be downsized or abolished and we have to wait for something else, something, to see fulfilled prophecies. If this event is similar to what happened in the past, then it's all in doubt (also time) and we have to find something else to observe and which make our scriptural reflections. On the other hand if this event has something special, that is scripturally relevant, then it is up to us to dig in the Scriptures to understand what is really happening, why, and where does that lead. First we try to isolate those involved trying not preclude us to explanations other than those to which we are accustomed. The subjects involved are basically two: the Russian nation and our brothers (recognized and characterized by the work of preaching). To begin with we can see how in Daniel are talking about some horn would have "thrown down the truth" and that the daily sacrifice would be phased out, which, as we know, is the work of preaching - Daniel 8: 9- 12 Who is this horn? Whatever idea we may have about it, we must take into account the words the angel addressed to Daniel. Speaking of this horn, among other things explains the angel ... "And in his heart he will give great tunes, and when freedom from anxieties bring to ruin many. It will rise against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand "- Daniel 8:25 The official intention identifies this horn as the Anglo-American empire but at this point we have a scriptural issue because from Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of Daniel we understand clearly that it is the king of the north to be "broken without hand" by Michele - see Daniel 11: 40-44; 12: 1 So, unless we do not want to assert that the book of Daniel it contradicts, or the Anglo-American empire is the king of the north, or the horn may not be the Anglo-American empire. It is the king of the north to suppress the daily sacrifice, to throw truth to the ground, so the only thing to do is to try to understand the identity of this king. Who embodies, today, this king? They are still made outlandish assumptions * (see footnote) but it is clear that to answer this question we must always be borrowed from the Scripture. Seeing by what logic the various rival kings have changed their identity over the centuries, we can immediately weed out many possibilities. The king of the north may not appear at random. As you can also see in the mirror summary of the book "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy!" on pages 228 and 246 (Italian edition), f inora we managed to ricostru ire the identity of their king because or the bloodline or the occupied territories. We pay attention to this. At one point, the identity of the two kings changes (see chapter fourteen) and the whole question is played on the territory of Syria. Syria depicts King of the North while Egypt the king of the south. However, with the intervention of Rome between the two contenders, Antiochus IV (Syrian) should abandon its claims on Egypt. This puts an end to the rivalry between the two kings. Less than a hundred years after Syria became a Roman province. E 'for this reason that we are able to identify Rome as king of the north: the political / geographical connection. It is not the power to identify it as such, although, of course, be a king can face a confrontation with his powerful enemy. Roma not appeared from nowhere drove off, so to speak, the last king of the north (in this case, Syria). The various kings, therefore, may change his identity (the bloodline is not binding) but the next power, to assume the role of the new king, it has to start from the last conquered territory. At least that's the logical thread that is visible around the guide to Daniel. In addition to this it is obvious to assert that the identity of the two kings is not interchangeable . This means that the king of the north can not become king of the south and vice versa. Unlike this distinction it would be meaningless. Following this logic we come to the last two historical re: the Anglo-American Empire and the Third Reich of Hitler (see the book already mentioned on page 268). So far we all agree, is not it? This is also the official understanding. Since it has not been a single dominant king in all the earth, and is therefore not Armageddon arrived, we have to see who won this war in order to understand who their king. Who are the "kings" of the victorious World War II, ie those that led to the defeat of the Third Reich? We can see more on page 257 of the same book. In this photo there are three characters: Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister). Franklin Roosvelt (US President) and Iosif Stalin (Soviet Premier). We have seen that the king of Daniel are not interchangeable. If we have established that the Anglo-American empire is the king of the south, it must remain so. So the logic is very simple and the picture looks even want to take the answer. The United Kingdom, represented by Churchill, may not be the next king of the north and can not be the United States represented by Roosevelt. They are both the king of the south and those remain. That's why all the diatribes on the identity of the king of the north are absolutely useless. Only Russia can be the king of the north regardless of whether today may have a different geography and though there are many post-Soviet states. Russia was not incorporated from any other power, as happened in Syria, and therefore no other nation could have taken its place. There are many other interesting details that go perfectly with this nation;     So Russia is the horn which Daniel saw in reference to the last days and is the nation that has abolished the daily sacrifice. This is precisely what happened April 20, 2017, or should we wait for some other development? We do not know. It may be that there is a twist, and perhaps the European Court will manage to overturn the decision of the Russian Supreme Court. If so, then the abolition of the daily sacrifice (described in Daniel) is still a future event , however due to this king. We can only wait and assess the events as they happen. If this suppression is actually the one described in the scriptures ... what can we expect? Let us allow the Scripture to speak. Daniel 8: 9-12 says, "And one of them popped another horn, small, and it was great toward the south and the east and toward the Decoration. He went on to become great until the army of heaven, so that dropped to the ground part of the army and of the stars, and trampled on. and it gave great arias to the Prince of the army, and he was taken off the [sacrifice] continuous, and he was thrown down the established place of his sanctuary. and gradually it was given a military itself, along with the [sacrifice] continuously, because of transgression, and continued to throw truth to the ground, and acted and had success. " According to these words are we to expect a miraculous deliverance, a "protection" as well as his brother flashed Sanderson? Maybe a political change in our favor? Unfortunately not. On the contrary, comparing other scriptures it understands that this king "will reduce the powerful ruined" including the "holy people" and act effectively. The only way to understand whether this proscription is exactly as described in Daniel, is to see if it will expand to other nations. Furthermore, if this proscription is that described in Daniel, what it is to say that on April 20 are started the 2300 evenings and mornings - Daniel 8:13, 14, 26 What will happen in these 2300 days? What will happen at the end of these 2300 days? If you're curious, go see the articles on this topic. We pay attention to the prophecy. We pray constantly, and we trust in Jehovah.   Footnote *: Today we discuss whether the king of the north will be China but for the reasons listed above that is not possible. Of course it is possible that China will ally with Russia widening in this way the king of the north identities just as the UK did in his time, with the United States. No chance for Isis, the European Union or some other power that, ultimately, may ally itself with Russia.    
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      ST. PETERSBURG, January 17 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – A ruling to confiscate property worth 881.5 million rubles ($15.5 million) belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses organization banned in Russia has been appealed, the St. Petersburg courts’ press office has told RAPSI.
      The appeal was filed by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania registered in the U.S.
      The Jehovah's Witnesses assets included 16 property items in St. Petersburg, according to prosecutors.
      A court earlier found that the Administrative Centre of Jehovah's Witnesses transferred its property complex to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania under a donation agreement on March 1, 2000. However, the court declared the deal fraudulent because the Jehovah's Witnesses continued using the property after its transfer to the foreign organization, and confiscated the property complex in profit of the Russian Federation.
      In April 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia ordered liquidation of the Jehovah's Witnesses managing organization and all its 395 local branches. In August, the Administrative Centre of Jehovah's Witnesses was added to the list of banned extremist organizations.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization has had many legal problems in Russia. Since 2009, 95 materials distributed by the organization in the country have been declared extremist and 8 Jehovah's Witnesses’ branches have been liquidated, according to the Justice Ministry.
      Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization based in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2004 several branches and chapters of the organization were banned and shut down in various regions of Russia.
    • By Bible Speaks
      Persecution in Russia of Witnesses.
      They are denying alternative service to military service, which is legal in Russia.
      Interviewed by the military commissioner, he replied:
      When asked what will happen to Jehovah's witnesses after the prohibition of centralized and local organizations (those who were previously supporters of this doctrine often chose ACS), the military commissioner replied: " there is no cult, no problems ! If the candidate declares his wish to take an alternative service, referring to his membership of this banned organization in Russia, we will not even consider this request. "
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The U.S. government banned all use of Kaspersky Lab Inc. software in federal information systems, citing concerns about the Moscow-based security firm’s links to the Russian government and espionage efforts.
      All agencies will be required to identify any Kaspersky products they have used within 30 days and develop plans to discontinue their use, according to a directive from Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
      “This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products,” DHS said Wednesday in a statement. “The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.”
      Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-13/u-s-bans-use-of-kaspersky-software-by-all-federal-agencies




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    • Apartheid means segregation. We mingled in the day and worked together but each night we went home to our own towns. There were many terrorist incidents and demonstrations in 1976 which ended in a shooting of rioters. Steve Biko was held in custody and then died - similar to events now in USA. There was police brutality against an ethnic majority (they were the majority) because they were feared....by the whites. The whites did not want to relinquish to the majority vote because they feared what
    • And to think that Utopia, the Thomas More book of the 1500s that coined the word, describes a society in which religion is integral, with the Christian (Catholic) faith preferred as the most reasonable. I didn’t know that about S Africa. Any thoughts on ‘Cry the Beloved Country’—a favorite of mine? I was surprised many years later to discover that the author opposed the ending of apartheid. To a friend from Europe years ago, a more naive me mentioned how now that China has come int
    • While I agree with you - the CIA atrocities and mingling in affairs of other countries is beyond our imagination - crooked and evil.  BUT China are spinning the above tale to their own people.  The propaganda inside china is now in top gear.  Everything in the west is bad.... just like the propaganda in the mosques. USA is the source of all problems in the world. (while I am sure they are - their exploitive behavior was also the source of China's wealth until now - especially when making Ap
    • They were actually very open about it. Western countries could share in the Chinese market, and make use of Chinese labor and factories and supply chains only if they agreed to turn over their technology and/or give up much of their long term profits. Capitalists often think in the short term. As you say they aren't good with long term plans. The financial services company I worked for for 20-some years wanted to open up offices in China and we had to consider their offers. (I had to work on sta
    • I have not read the 2005 version nor the 2016 version of this book (Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Perkins), but I have heard people for years corroborate and document exactly what he claims has been done. I have no idea if he himself was personally involved in so much of it, of course, but this has been documented for years. I once listened to many hours of the "secret recordings" from the White House phone of Lyndon Johnson. These were once aired on a Cable C-Span channel ma
    • I would say the press is more sympathetic to cultural communist ideas.  I see too much evidence of it. While our prisons are every inch as bad as any other due to privatization, so far the constitution still protects our right to freedom of religion - I guess not for long - because the constitution has been eroded over the past 25 years by congress with many laws which have taken away our personal liberties. Patriot Act is one of them.  They can put JWs in jail under this law without due pr
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Apprenons à connaître et accomplissons les voies de Jéhovah 
      “ Fais-moi connaître tes manières agir, [...] pour que je te connaisse. ” — EXODE 33:13.

      MOÏSE avait été élevé dans la maisonnée de Pharaon et instruit dans la sagesse prisée par la noblesse égyptienne. Cependant, il savait qu’il n’était pas égyptien : ses parents étaient hébreux. Alors qu’il était dans sa quarantième année, il alla rendre visite à ses frères, les fils d’Israël. La vue d’un Égyptien en train de maltraiter un Hébreu lui fut insupportable : il tua l’Égyptien. Moïse choisit d’épouser la cause du peuple de Jéhovah, persuadé que Dieu se servait de lui pour délivrer ses frères (Actes 7:21-25 ; Hébreux 11:24, 25). Lorsque l’incident vint à se savoir, la maison royale d’Égypte considéra Moïse comme un hors-la-loi, et il ne dut son salut qu’à la fuite : pour être utilisé par Jéhovah, il lui faudrait d’abord apprendre à mieux connaître Ses voies (Exode 2:11-15). Mais se laisserait-il enseigner ? — Psaume 25:9.
      Au cours des 40 années suivantes, Moïse vécut en exil et fut berger. Au lieu de s’aigrir du fait que ses frères hébreux ne l’avaient apparemment pas reconnu à sa juste valeur, il accepta cette situation permise par Dieu. De nombreuses années passèrent sans que personne ne semble prêter attention à lui, mais Jéhovah le façonnait. Plus tard Moïse écrirait, non de son propre chef, mais sous l’influence de l’esprit saint de Dieu : “ Or, Moïse était de beaucoup le plus humble de tous les hommes vivant sur la terre. ” (Nombres 12:3). Jéhovah l’a effectivement utilisé en lui confiant des responsabilités extraordinaires. Si, nous aussi, nous cherchons l’humilité, Jéhovah nous bénira. — Sophonie 2:3.
      Chargé d’une mission
      Un jour, près du mont Horeb, dans la péninsule du Sinaï, un ange parla à Moïse au nom de Jéhovah. “ Vraiment, j’ai vu là détresse  de mon peuple qui est en Égypte, lui dit-il, et j’ai entendu leur cri de plainte de ceux qui les poussent aux travaux forcés. Je connais bien les douleurs "qu’ils subissent". Aussi je descends pour les délivrer de la main des Égyptiens et pour les faire monter de ce pays vers un pays bon et vaste, vers un pays ruisselant de lait et de miel. ” (Exode 3:2, 7, 8). Dans cette perspective, Jéhovah avait une mission à confier à Moïse, mission à remplir, cette fois, selon Ses instructions.
      L’ange de Jéhovah ajouta : “ Maintenant viens ; que je t’envoie vers Pharaon, et fais sortir d’Égypte mon peuple les fils d’Israël. ” Moïse hésita. Il ne se sentait pas à la hauteur, et en cela il n’avait pas tort. Toutefois, Jéhovah lui fit cette promesse : “ Je serai avec toi. ” (Exode 3:10-12). Jéhovah allait lui accorder le pouvoir d’accomplir des signes miraculeux attestant qu’il était bien son messager. Aaron, le frère de Moïse, l’accompagnerait et lui servirait de porte-parole. Et puis Jéhovah leur enseignerait quoi dire et quoi faire (Exode 4:1-17). Moïse s’acquitterait-il fidèlement de cette mission ?
      Au début, les anciens d’Israël crurent Moïse et Aaron (Exode 4:29-31). Mais, peu après, “ les préposés des fils d’Israël ” les accusèrent de les avoir fait “ sentir mauvais ” devant Pharaon et devant ses serviteurs (Exode 5:19-21 ; 6:9). Tandis qu’ils sortaient d’Égypte, les Israélites frissonnèrent en voyant les chars égyptiens à leur poursuite. Avec devant eux la mer Rouge et derrière eux les chars de guerre ils se crurent pris au piège, et le reprochèrent encore à Moïse. Quelle aurait été votre réaction ? Les Israélites ne possédaient aucun bateau, et pourtant, conformément aux instructions de Jéhovah, Moïse leur ordonna de lever le camp. Dieu fit alors reculer les eaux de la mer Rouge. Le fond de la mer s’étant asséché, Israël put traverser. — Exode 14:1-22.
      Une préoccupation plus importante que la délivrance
      Lorsqu’il avait exposé sa mission à Moïse, Jéhovah avait souligné l’importance de Son nom. Il était capital de respecter ce nom et Celui qu’il représente. Moïse lui ayant demandé Son nom, Jéhovah avait répondu : “ Je deviendrai, ce que je décide. ” Moïse devait aussi dire aux fils d’Israël : “ Jéhovah le Dieu de vos ancêtres, le Dieu d’Abraham, le Dieu d’Isaac et le Dieu de Jacob, m’a envoyé vers vous. ” Jéhovah avait ajouté : “ C’est là mon nom pour des temps indéfinis et c’est là mon mémorial de génération en génération. ” (Exode 3:13-15). Aujourd’hui encore, Jéhovah est le nom par lequel Dieu est connu de ses serviteurs sur toute la terre. — Isaïe 12:4, 5 ; 43:10-12.
      Face à Pharaon, Moïse et Aaron transmirent leur message au nom de Jéhovah. Mais Pharaon leur répondit avec arrogance : “ Qui est Jéhovah pour que j’obéisse à sa voix en renvoyant Israël ? Je ne connais pas du tout Jéhovah ; d’ailleurs je ne renverrai pas Israël. ” (Exode 5:1, 2). Pharaon avait beau se révéler impitoyable et fourbe, Jéhovah ordonna à Moïse de lui délivrer message après message (Exode 7:14-16, 20-23 ; 8:1, 2, 20). Moïse voyait bien que Pharaon était irrité. Était-il vraiment judicieux de retourner le voir encore et encore ? Israël rêvait de liberté ; Pharaon s’obstinait à la lui refuser. Qu’auriez-vous fait à la place de Moïse ?
      Moïse délivra de nouveau un message, par ces mots : “ Voici ce qu’a dit Jéhovah le Dieu des Hébreux : ‘ Renvoie mon peuple pour qu’il me serve. ’ ” Dieu dit également : “ J’aurais déjà pu avancer ma main pour te frapper, toi et ton peuple, par la peste, afin que tu sois effacé de la terre. Mais, en fait, c’est pour cela que je t’ai laissé exister : c’est pour te faire voir ma force et afin qu’on proclame mon nom dans toute la terre. ” (Exode 9:13-16). Compte tenu de ce qu’il réservait à l’impitoyable pharaon, Jéhovah se proposa de faire la démonstration de sa puissance d’une manière telle qu’elle servirait d’avertissement à tous ceux qui le défient ; à Satan le Diable, entre autres, celui que Jésus Christ surnomma plus tard “ le chef du monde ”. (Jean 14:30 ; Romains 9:17-24.) Comme prédit, le nom de Jéhovah fut proclamé sur toute la terre. Grâce à sa patience, les Israélites furent préservés, et une foule immense et bigarrée se joignit à eux pour l’adorer (Exode 9:20, 21 ; 12:37, 38). Depuis lors, la proclamation du nom de Jéhovah a permis à des millions d’autres personnes d’embrasser le vrai culte.
      En relation avec un peuple difficile
      Les Hébreux connaissaient le nom divin. En effet, lorsqu’il s’adressait à eux, Moïse employait ce nom. Mais ils ne firent pas toujours preuve du respect qui convient envers Celui qui le porte. Peu après que Jéhovah les eut délivrés miraculeusement d’Égypte, que se passa-t-il quand les Israélites ne trouvèrent pas rapidement d’eau potable ? Ils murmurèrent contre Moïse. Ensuite, ils se plaignirent de la nourriture. Moïse les avertit que ce n’était pas seulement contre Aaron et lui qu’ils murmuraient, mais contre Jéhovah lui-même (Exode 15:22-24 ; 16:2-12). Au mont Sinaï, Jéhovah donna au peuple la Loi dans un déploiement de manifestations surnaturelles. Pourtant, les Israélites désobéirent en adorant un veau d’or qu’ils avaient fabriqué, tout en prétendant donner “ une fête pour Jéhovah ”. — Exode 32:1-9.
      Quelle ligne de conduite Moïse devait-il adopter face à un peuple que Jéhovah lui-même qualifiait de peuple au cou raide ? Moïse adressa à Jéhovah cette requête : “ S’il te plaît, si j’ai trouvé faveur à tes yeux, fais-moi connaître tes voies, s’il te plaît, pour que je te connaisse, afin que je trouve faveur à tes yeux. ” (Exode 33:13). Aujourd’hui, les surveillants chrétiens qui prennent soin des Témoins de Jéhovah font paître un troupeau bien plus humble. Ce qui ne les empêche pas de faire cette même prière : “ Fais-moi connaître tes voies, ô Jéhovah ! Enseigne-moi tes sentiers. ” (Psaume 25:4). La connaissance des voies de Jéhovah leur permet de traiter des situations d’une manière conforme à sa Parole et à sa personnalité.
      Ce que Jéhovah attend de son peuple
      Ce que Jéhovah attendait de son peuple, il le révéla d’abord oralement au mont Sinaï. Moïse reçut plus tard deux tablettes de pierre sur lesquelles étaient écrits les Dix Commandements. Tandis qu’il descendait de la montagne, il vit les Israélites en train d’adorer le veau en métal fondu. Sous le coup de la colère, il brisa les tablettes en les jetant par terre. Jéhovah écrivit de nouveau les Dix Commandements, sur des tablettes que Moïse avait cette fois-ci taillées lui-même (Exode 32:19 ; 34:1). Ces commandements n’avaient pas changé par rapport à la première fois. Moïse devait en tenir compte dans ses manières d’agir. Dieu a aussi bien fait comprendre à Moïse quel genre de personne Il est, pour lui montrer comment devait se conduire son représentant. Les chrétiens ne sont pas sous la Loi mosaïque, mais dans ce que Jéhovah a dit à Moïse on trouve de nombreux principes fondamentaux qui n’ont pas changé et qui demeurent valables pour tous Ses adorateurs (Romains 6:14 ; 13:8-10). Examinons-en quelques-uns.
      Accorder à Jéhovah un attachement exclusif. La nation d’Israël était présente lorsque Jéhovah déclara qu’il exigeait un attachement exclusif (Exode 20:2-5). Pour en avoir eu de nombreuses preuves, les Israélites savaient que Jéhovah est le vrai Dieu (Deutéronome 4:33-35). Jéhovah établit clairement qu’il ne tolérerait aucune forme d’idolâtrie ou de spiritisme de la part de ses serviteurs. Peu importaient les pratiques des autres nations. L’attachement à Dieu n’était pas une simple formalité : tous devaient aimer Jéhovah de tout leur cœur, de toute leur âme et de toute leur force vitale (Deutéronome 6:5, 6). Cela devrait se remarquer dans leurs paroles, dans leur conduite, à vrai dire dans chaque aspect de leur vie (Lévitique 20:27 ; 24:15, 16 ; 26:1). Jésus Christ fit, lui aussi, clairement comprendre que Jéhovah exige un attachement exclusif. — Marc 12:28-30 ; Luc 4:8.
      Obéir strictement aux commandements de Jéhovah. Les Israélites avaient besoin qu’on leur rappelle qu’en concluant une alliance avec Jéhovah ils avaient fait le vœu de lui obéir strictement. Ils bénéficiaient d’une grande liberté individuelle, mais, dans les domaines où Jéhovah leur avait donné des commandements, ils étaient tenus d’y obéir pleinement. Ce faisant, ils montreraient leur amour pour Dieu et en retireraient des bienfaits, eux et leurs descendants, car toutes les exigences de Jéhovah étaient pour leur bien. — Exode 19:5-8 ; Deutéronome 5:27-33 ; 11:22, 
      Accorder la priorité aux choses spirituelles. Les Israélites ne devaient pas laisser la satisfaction de leurs besoins physiques détourner leur attention des activités spirituelles. Ils ne devaient pas axer leur vie uniquement sur des objectifs profanes. Jéhovah délimita une période hebdomadaire qu’il déclara sacrée, période destinée exclusivement aux activités liées au vrai culte (Exode 35:1-3 ; Nombres 15:32-36). Il fallait également prendre le temps d’assister, chaque année, à de saintes assemblées décrétées par Jéhovah (Lévitique 23:4-44). C’était là l’occasion de se remémorer les actes de puissance de Jéhovah, de se rappeler ses voies et de lui exprimer sa gratitude pour toute sa bonté. En exprimant son attachement à Jéhovah, le peuple augmenterait sa crainte et son amour pour lui, et cela l’aiderait à marcher dans ses voies (Deutéronome 10:12, 13). Les principes salutaires contenus dans ces instructions sont bénéfiques aux serviteurs de Jéhovah encore aujourd’hui. — Hébreux 10:24, 25.
      Une juste appréciation des qualités de Jéhovah
      Autre chose allait aider Moïse à traiter correctement le peuple : une bonne connaissance des qualités de Jéhovah. En Exode 34:5-7 on lit que Dieu passa devant la face de Moïse en proclamant : “ Jéhovah, Jéhovah, Dieu miséricordieux et compatissant, lent à la colère et abondant en bonté de cœur et en vérité, conservant la bonté de cœur à des milliers, pardonnant la faute et la transgression et le péché, mais en aucun cas il n’accordera l’exemption de punition, faisant venir la punition pour la faute des pères sur les fils et sur les petits-fils, sur la troisième génération et sur la quatrième génération. ” Prenez le temps de méditer sur ces paroles. Demandez-vous : ‘ Quel sens revêt chacune de ces qualités ? Comment Jéhovah les a-t-il manifestées ? Comment les surveillants chrétiens peuvent-ils les mettre en œuvre ? Comment chacune d’elles devrait-elle influencer notre manière d’être ? Arrêtons-nous simplement sur quelques exemples.
       
      Jéhovah est un “ Dieu miséricordieux et compatissant ”. Si vous possédez l’ouvrage de référence Étude perspicace des Écritures, pourquoi ne pas lire ce qui est dit sous l’entrée “ Miséricorde ” ? Où bien, faites des recherches à ce sujet à l’aide de la bibliothèque Jw.org. Servez-vous des outils de recherche pour trouver des versets qui traitent de la miséricorde. Vous constaterez que la miséricorde de Jéhovah non seulement permet parfois un allégement de la punition, mais s’accompagne d’une tendre compassion. Elle pousse Dieu à prendre des mesures pour apporter le soulagement à son peuple. La preuve en est que Dieu combla les besoins physiques et spirituels des Israélites durant leur périple vers la Terre promise (Deutéronome 1:30-33 ; 8:4). Jéhovah fit preuve de miséricorde à l’égard de ses serviteurs d’autrefois : il leur accorda son pardon lorsqu’ils commirent des fautes. À combien plus forte raison devrions-nous nous témoigner de la compassion aujourd’hui ! — Matthieu 9:13 ; 18:21-35.
      La miséricorde de Jéhovah est associée à la compassion. Si vous possédez un dictionnaire, lisez la définition de “ compatissant ”. Puis rapprochez-la de versets qui montrent que Jéhovah est compatissant. Dans la Bible, la compassion manifestée par Jéhovah est teintée d’un intérêt plein d’amour pour les défavorisés au sein de son peuple (Exode 22:26, 27). Quel que soit le pays, les étrangers, mais aussi d’autres personnes, se trouvent parfois désavantagés. En enseignant à ses serviteurs d’autrefois l’impartialité et la bonté à l’égard des étrangers, Jéhovah leur rappela expressément qu’eux aussi avaient été étrangers, en Égypte (Deutéronome 24:17-22). Qu’en est-il de nous, qui forme le peuple de Dieu aujourd’hui ? En faisant preuve de compassion nous contribuons à nous unir et à attirer d’autres personnes vers le culte de Jéhovah. — Actes 10:34, 35 ; Révélation 7:9, 10.
      Cependant, l’empathie à l’égard des gens d’autres nations ne devait pas passer avant l’amour pour Jéhovah et pour ses normes morales. Les Israélites avaient d’ailleurs reçu la consigne de ne pas adopter les coutumes des nations voisines, ni leurs traditions religieuses, ni leur conduite immorale (Exode 34:11-16 ; Deutéronome 7:1-4). Cela s’applique à nous aujourd’hui encore. Nous sommes censés être un peuple saint, comme notre Dieu, Jéhovah, est saint. — 1 Pierre 1:15, 16.
      Afin que Moïse ait une juste appréciation de Ses voies, Jéhovah lui a fait clairement comprendre que, s’il n’approuve pas le péché, il est néanmoins lent à la colère. Il laisse aux gens le temps d’apprendre ses exigences et de s’y conformer. Dès lors qu’il y a repentance, Jéhovah pardonne le péché, même s’il n’exempte pas de la punition pour les fautes graves. Il a prévenu Moïse que la conduite des Israélites aurait une incidence, bonne ou mauvaise, sur les générations à venir. S’ils comprennent bien les voies de Jéhovah, ses serviteurs seront moins tentés de lui attribuer la responsabilité de situations dans lesquelles ils se sont placés eux-mêmes, ni de conclure qu’il tarde à agir.
      Si vous souhaitez approfondir votre connaissance de Jéhovah et de ses voies, continuez à faire des recherches et à méditer lorsque vous lisez la Bible. Examinez attentivement les aspects fascinants de la personnalité de Jéhovah. Réfléchissez dans la prière à la façon de l’imiter et de mieux conformer votre vie à son dessein. Il vous sera ainsi plus facile d’éviter les pièges, d’entretenir de bonnes relations avec vos frères et sœurs qui suivent la Parole de Dieu comme guide d'action, de pensée, de sagesse et d’aider d’autres personnes à connaître et à aimer notre Dieu majestueux.
      Le peuple de la terre que Dieu uni ensemble à son amour véritable sont tous ceux qui chaque jour, lisent la Parole de Dieu et inclus dans leur coeur la sagesse essentielle venant de Jéhovah le Très Haut. Chaque serviteur de Dieu se purifie intérieurement d'une eau purifiante que garde chaque serviteur à l'affût des danger de ce monde et qu'il modèle ses pas vers la voie que Dieu lui à donner pour préserver l'espoir de la promesse de notre Dieu.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Mettez votre confiance en Jéhovah
       
      Ouvrons nos bibles en Psaumes 37:3,4 regardons un conseil de notre Dieu Jéhovah:
      “Aie confiance en Jéhovah et fais le bien; (...) délecte-toi en Jéhovah.” — PSAUME 37:3, 4.
      AU PREMIER siècle de notre ère, les chefs religieux juifs prétendaient adorer Dieu, mais ils n’avaient pas confiance en lui: ils violaient ses commandements et persécutaient ses représentants (Matthieu 15:3; Jean 15:20). En conséquence, "leur maison fut abandonnée" par Jéhovah (Matthieu 23:38). En l’an 66, les armées romaines détruisirent Jérusalem et son temple, ce qui entraîna la mort d’un grand nombre de chefs religieux et de leurs disciples. Cependant, les personnes qui avaient confiance en Jéhovah furent protégées, car elles avaient suivi l’avertissement de ses porte-parole et elles étaient allées se réfugier dans un lieu sûr. — Matthieu 24:15-22; Luc 21:20-24.
      En ces derniers jours du système de choses,  mettons-nous notre confiance en Jéhovah, le vrai Dieu? Obéissons-nous à ses commandements et fesons-nous sa volonté, ou bien imiton-nous les chefs religieux du Ier siècle que Dieu abandonna? Quelle mode de vie avons-nous de besoin à notre époque, pour espérer bénéficier de la protection divine parce que nous avons confiance en Jéhovah et que nous agissons pour le bien’? — Psaume 37:3.
      Il y a plusieurs années, le pape Jean-Paul II a déclaré que “la survie de l’humanité tout entière était gravement menacée”. Il a mis l’accent sur “les résultats qu’obtiennent divers groupements religieux lorsqu’ils s’unissent pour tenter de conjurer cette menace”. C’est la volonté de Dieu, a-t-il dit, que les responsables religieux “travaillent ensemble” à “la paix et [à] la réconciliation”. Toutefois, si telle est sa volonté, pourquoi Dieu n’a-t-il pas béni les efforts qui sont accomplis en ce sens depuis des siècles? Parce que ces religions ne mettent pas véritablement leur confiance dans le moyen que Dieu a prévu pour instaurer la paix: son Royaume céleste (Matthieu 6:9, 10). Au lieu de cela, elles accordent leur soutien à la politique et aux guerres des nations. En conséquence, au cours des guerres, les croyants d’une nation ont tué les croyants d’une autre nation, et ils ont même tué certains de leurs coreligionnaires. Ainsi, des catholiques ont tué des catholiques, des protestants ont tué des protestants, et il en fut de même dans bien d’autres religions. Cependant, de véritables frères spirituels peuvent-ils s’entre-tuer, tout en prétendant servir Dieu?
      Jésus a établi le critère d'un mode vie qui apporte l'Amour et la protection de son Père,  lorsqu'ils a dit à ses disciples: “Je vous donne un commandement nouveau: que vous vous aimiez les uns les autres, et que, comme je vous ai aimés, vous aussi aimez les uns les autres. Par là tous saurons que vous êtes mes disciples: si vous avez de l’amour entre vous.” (Jean 13:34, 35). Par conséquent, ceux qui pratiquent le vrai mode de vie spirituel doivent s’aimer les uns les autres. Il s’agissait "d’un commandement nouveau”, car Jésus a déclaré: “Que, comme je vous ai aimés, vous aussi vous vous aimiez les uns les autres.” Jésus était disposé à se dessaisir de sa vie pour ses disciples; et ceux-ci doivent être prêts à faire de même: non pas ôter la vie à leurs compagnons dans la foi, mais sacrifier si nécessaire leur vie. C’est en ce sens que ce commandement était nouveau, car la Loi mosaïque n’allait pas si loin.
      Voici ce qu’on peut lire dans la Parole de Dieu: “Si quelqu’un déclare: ‘J’aime Dieu’, mais qu’il haïsse son frère, c’est un menteur. En effet, celui qui n’aime pas son frère, qu’il a vu, ne peut pas aimer Dieu, qu’il n’a pas vu. Et voici le commandement que nous tenons de lui: que celui qui aime Dieu aime aussi son frère.” (1 Jean 4:20, 21). Grâce à cet amour, ceux qui placent leur confiance en Jéhovah connaissent une véritable unité internationale. Paul déclare, en effet, en 1 Corinthiens 1:10: “Je vous exhorte, frères, (...) à parler tous en parfait accord, et à ce qu’il n’y ait pas de divisions parmi vous, mais que vous soyez étroitement unis dans le même esprit et dans la même pensée.” — Voir 1 Jean 3:10-12.
      Selon une encyclopédie (The World Book Encyclopedia), 55 millions de personnes ont été tuées lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, exceptés les Témoins de Jéhovah, des membres de toutes les grandes religions ont pris part à ce massacre. Aucune de ces vies humaines n’a été ôtée par un témoin de Jéhovah, car les témoins ont obéi au commandement de s’aimer les uns les autres et ils ont refusé de prendre part aux guerres des nations. Nombre d’entre eux ont été livrés au martyre en raison de leur neutralité, mais ils avaient pu dire, reprenant les paroles de l’apôtre Paul: ‘Nous sommes purs du sang de tous les hommes.’ — Actes 20:26.
      L’aumônier catholique appartenant à l’unité qui a lâché la bombe atomique sur le Japon en 1945 a récemment déclaré: “Depuis 17 siècles, l’Église présente la guerre sous un jour respectable. Elle fait croire aux gens qu’il s’agit là d’une honorable profession chrétienne. Ce n’est pas vrai. On nous a endoctrinés. (...) Jésus n’a jamais enseigné le dogme de la guerre juste. (...) Rien dans la vie ou l’enseignement du Christ ne laisse supposer que s’il est condamnable d’utiliser la bombe atomique pour réduire en cendres les humains, il n’est pas condamnable de le faire au moyen du napalm ou d’un lance-flammes.”
      Voici ce qu’on pouvait lire dans un quotidien londonien (Catholic Herald): "Les premiers chrétiens (...) respectaient scrupuleusement les paroles de Jésus et refusaient, même au prix de leur vie, de se laisser enrôler dans l’armée romaine. L’Histoire du monde aurait-elle été différente si l’Église était restée attachée à ce principe? (...) Si, aujourd’hui, les Églises toutes ensemble condamnaient la guerre (...), et qu’ainsi tous leurs membres se sentent tenus d’être, comme les premiers chrétiens, des objecteurs de conscience, la paix régnerait sur la terre. Toutefois, nous savons que cela n’arrivera."
      Les multiples religions du monde ont donc gravement transigé avec les lois de Dieu. Elles n’ont pas montré plus de confiance que les Pharisiens. “Publiquement ils déclarent connaître Dieu, mais ils le renient par leurs œuvres, car ce sont des gens détestables, désobéissants et non approuvés pour quelque œuvre bonne que ce soit.” (Tite 1:16). En conséquence, comme il avait abandonné le judaïsme hypocrite du Ier siècle, de même, à notre époque, Dieu a abandonné ces religions qui agissent contre les lois morales de Dieu. — Matthieu 15:9, 14.
      Ceux qui ont confiance en Jéhovah survivront
      Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les solutions humaines aux problèmes du monde. Bien plutôt, confiez-vous en Celui qui peut tenir ses promesses (Josué 23:14). Voyez, par exemple, les événements qui se sont produits au VIIIe siècle avant notre ère, aux jours du roi Ézéchias de Juda. À son sujet, la Bible déclare: “Il faisait ce qui est droit aux yeux de Jéhovah.” (2 Rois 18:3). À l’époque d’Ézéchias, l’imposante Puissance mondiale assyrienne se dressa contre Jérusalem. Le porte-parole de Sennachérib, roi d’Assyrie, vint exiger la reddition de Jérusalem. Il déclara: “Voici ce qu’a dit le roi: ‘Qu’Ézéchias ne vous trompe pas, car il ne peut vous délivrer de ma main! Et qu’Ézéchias ne vous fasse pas vous confier en Jéhovah.’” — 2 Rois 18:29, 30.
      Que fit Ézéchias? La Bible nous dit: “Ézéchias se mit à prier devant Jéhovah et dit: ‘Ô Jéhovah, Dieu d’Israël, qui es assis sur les chérubins, toi seul tu es le vrai Dieu de tous les royaumes de la terre. Tu as fait, toi, les cieux et la terre. Incline ton oreille, ô Jéhovah, et entends. Ouvre tes yeux, ô Jéhovah, et vois, et entends les paroles de Sennachérib, qu’il a envoyées pour provoquer le Dieu vivant. (...) ô Jéhovah, notre Dieu, s’il te plaît, sauve-nous de sa main, pour que tous les royaumes de la terre sachent que toi, ô Jéhovah, tu es Dieu, toi seul.’” — 2 Rois 19:15-19.
      Jéhovah a entendu cette prière et a envoyé le prophète Ésaïe auprès d’Ézéchias pour lui dire: “Voici ce qu’a dit Jéhovah au sujet du roi d’Assyrie: ‘Il n’entrera pas dans cette ville, et il n’y lancera pas de flèche, et il ne se présentera pas devant elle avec un bouclier, et il n’élèvera pas contre elle un rempart de siège.’” Ézéchias devait-il rassembler une armée pour affronter l’Assyrie? Non, il devait placer sa confiance en Jéhovah; et c’est ce qu’il fit. Que se passa-t-il? “L’ange de Jéhovah sortit et abattit dans le camp des Assyriens cent quatre-vingt-cinq mille hommes.” En outre, Sennachérib fut châtié pour avoir défié Jéhovah et ses serviteurs; en effet, il fut plus tard assassiné par ses propres fils. Ainsi, conformément à la parole de Jéhovah, pas une flèche ne fut lancée contre Jérusalem. — 2 Rois 19:32-37.
      Alors que doivent faire les gens de toutes les nations pour survivre à la fin de l’actuel système de choses?
      Des événements semblables vont se produire à notre époque. Ceux qui se confient en Jéhovah survivront aux attaques et à la destruction du monde. “Ceux qui connaissent ton nom se confieront en toi, car tu ne quitteras assurément pas ceux qui te cherchent, ô Jéhovah!” (Psaume 9:10). Néanmoins, avant de détruire ce monde cruel, Jéhovah invite tous les humains sincères à s’approcher de lui pour trouver la sécurité. Ceux qui acceptent son invitation constituent une “grande foule” de personnes qui “viennent de la grande tribulation” et qui sont issues de toutes les nations. Ces personnes survivront à la fin du système de choses actuel parce qu’elles ont confiance en Jéhovah et le servent “jour et nuit”. — Révélation 7:9-15.
      La “grande foule” répond à l’appel qui retentit de plus en plus puissamment dans le monde entier, conformément à la prophétie consignée en Ésaïe 2:2, 3: “Et il adviendra sans faute, dans la période finale des jours, que la montagne de la maison de Jéhovah [son véritable culte] se trouvera solidement établie (...). Et assurément de nombreux peuples iront et diront: ‘Venez et montons à la montagne de Jéhovah (...) et il nous instruira de ses voies, et nous marcherons dans ses sentiers.’”  verset 4 dit: “Et ils devront forger leurs épées en socs de charrue et leurs lances en cisailles à émonder. Une nation ne lèvera pas l’épée contre une nation, et ils n’apprendront plus la guerre.”
      Un bel avenir
      Jéhovah offre le plus bel avenir qu’on puisse imaginer à ceux qui mettent leur confiance en lui. Lorsqu’il remplacera les vieilles structures de la société par de nouvelles, les humains qui vivront sur la terre ne connaîtront ni la crainte, ni la méfiance, ni la misère, ni l’injustice, ni le crime. Il n’y aura plus de guerres ou d’avortements pour priver les humains de la vie. Révélation 21:4 promet même que “la mort ne sera plus; ni deuil, ni cri, ni douleur ne seront plus”, cela pour toujours.
      Comme Jésus l’a promis, avec le temps la terre deviendra un paradis (Luc 23:43). Ceux qui mettent leur confiance en Jéhovah pourront vivre éternellement dans ce Paradis, car la mort disparaîtra. Les paroles de Michée 4:4 se réaliseront: “Ils seront assis chacun sous sa vigne et sous son figuier, et il n’y aura personne qui les fasse trembler.” Vous imaginez-vous vivre dans une société où vous pourriez avoir confiance en tout le monde? Pourquoi en sera-t-il ainsi? Parce que, comme le dit Ésaïe 54:13, “tous tes fils seront des personnes enseignées par Jéhovah, et la paix de tes fils sera abondante”.
      Toutefois, la confiance que les millions de Témoins de Jéhovah portent à Dieu leur procure dès aujourd’hui des bienfaits. Par exemple, les serviteurs de Jéhovah ont moins de risques de contracter le cancer du poumon parce qu’ils obéissent à ses lois et à ses principes relatifs au tabac. Vivant dans un milieu moralement pur, ils sont moins menacés par l’épidémie mondiale des maladies sexuellement transmissibles, telles que le SIDA. Parce qu’ils ne se droguent pas, ils sont à l’abri de maladies que de nombreux toxicomanes par voie intraveineuse ont contractées, maladies qui peuvent altérer les facultés mentales et entraîner la mort. Étant donné qu’ils n’acceptent pas de transfusions sanguines, les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont bien mieux protégés contre les maladies véhiculées par le sang. Chaque année, aux États-Unis, l’une de ces maladies, l’hépatite virale, tue ou lèse de façon permanente plus de dix mille personnes ayant reçu du sang.
      Même si certains de ceux qui se confient en Jéhovah meurent à cause de leur âge, de la maladie ou bien des suites d’un accident, Jéhovah viendra à leur secours. Il les ramènera à la vie par le moyen de la résurrection. C’est pourquoi l’apôtre Paul nous encourage à ‘avoir confiance, non pas en nous-mêmes, mais dans le Dieu qui relève les morts’. — 2 Corinthiens 1:9.
      Jéhovah soutiendra toujours ses serviteurs fidèles
      Souvenez-vous que “le monde entier gît au pouvoir du méchant”, Satan le Diable (1 Jean 5:19). Par conséquent, si vous vous confiez en Dieu, Satan et le monde qu’il domine s’opposeront à vous; ils essaieront de saper votre foi en vous ridiculisant ou en vous persécutant, comme ils l’ont fait à Jésus. Après qu’il eut été cloué sur le poteau de supplice, “les passants parlaient de lui en mal, hochant la tête et disant: ‘(...) Si tu es fils de Dieu, descends du poteau de supplice!’ Pareillement les prêtres en chef aussi se moquaient de lui, ainsi que les scribes et les anciens, et disaient: ‘Il en a sauvé d’autres; il ne peut pas se sauver lui-même! (...) Il a mis sa confiance en Dieu; qu’Il le délivre maintenant, s’Il veut de lui.’” — Matthieu 27:39-43.
      Trois jours après ces événements, Dieu a délivré Jésus en le ressuscitant d’entre les morts. Les moqueurs de la génération d’alors ont été quant à eux massacrés ou emmenés en esclavage par les armées romaines. Puisque le Christ, en sa qualité de Roi du Royaume céleste de Dieu, présidera à la résurrection, si ces individus sont ressuscités, il leur faudra se soumettre à celui-là même dont ils se seront moqués 2 000 ans auparavant! Oui, Jéhovah défend ses serviteurs, qui diront: “En Dieu j’ai mis ma confiance. Je n’aurai pas peur. Que peut me faire l’homme tiré du sol?” — Psaume 56:11.
      Voici ce que Jéhovah déclare à propos de ses serviteurs: “Béni l’homme valide qui met sa confiance en Jéhovah, et dont Jéhovah est devenu l’assurance! Et certes il deviendra comme un arbre planté près des eaux, qui envoie ses racines près du cours d’eau; et il ne verra pas quand la chaleur arrivera, mais son feuillage restera touffu. Et dans l’année de la sécheresse il ne s’inquiétera pas, et il ne cessera pas de produire du fruit.” Il dit également: “Maudit l’homme valide qui met sa confiance dans l’homme tiré du sol et qui fait de la chair son bras, et dont le cœur se détourne de Jéhovah! Et assurément il deviendra comme un arbre solitaire dans la plaine déserte et il ne verra pas quand le bien arrivera.” — Jérémie 17:5-8.
      En ces temps décisifs, donc, "ayons confiance en Jéhovah et faisons le bien; résidons sur la terre et agissons avec fidélité. De plus, délectons-nous en Jéhovah, et il nous donnera les demandes de notre cœur". (Psaume 37:3, 4.) Que soient exaucées les demandes que vous ferez, entre autres celle de goûter le don de la vie éternelle dans le monde nouveau et juste promis par Dieu, Celui en qui nous pouvons avoir confiance!

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric, merci pour cet exposé sur Hanna, Bonne journée. Michel
      ENTRETIEN AVEC DIEU.pptx
      · 3 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LA FOI D'HANNA ENVERS DIEU APPORTE SA RÉCOMPENSE
      UNE femme de foi adresse une prière à Jéhovah. Convaincue que c’est Dieu qui l’a relevée de la poussière, transformant son abattement en exultation, elle le loue à haute voix.
      Cette femme, c’est Hanna. Qu’est-ce qui explique son spectaculaire changement d’état d’âme ? Pourquoi est-elle à présent si joyeuse ? En quoi ce qu’elle a vécu peut-il nous être utile ? Intéressons-nous à son histoire.
      Une famille sous pression
      Hanna est l’une des deux femmes d’Elqana, un Lévite de la région d’Éphraïm (1 Samuel 1:1, 2a ; 1 Chroniques 6:33, 34). Bien que n’entrant pas dans le dessein originel de Dieu pour l’humanité, la polygamie est autorisée et réglementée sous la Loi mosaïque. Elle est néanmoins une source fréquente de discorde. La vie de cette famille, qui pourtant adore Jéhovah, en témoigne.
      Hanna est stérile, tandis que Peninna, l’autre femme d’Elqana, a plusieurs enfants. Peninna se comporte en rivale. — 1 Samuel 1:2b.
      Pour une Israélite, la stérilité est un déshonneur, et même un signe de la défaveur divine. Mais, dans le cas de Hanna, rien n’indique que son incapacité de procréer soit liée à la désapprobation de Dieu. Peninna ne la console pas pour autant ; elle se prévaut au contraire de son statut de mère pour l’humilier.
      Au sanctuaire de Jéhovah
      Malgré ces tensions, la famille entreprend le voyage annuel en direction du sanctuaire de Jéhovah, à Shilo, pour y offrir des sacrifices. L’aller-retour de quelque 60 kilomètres se fait vraisemblablement à pied. Cet événement doit être particulièrement pénible pour Hanna. En effet, Peninna et ses enfants reçoivent plusieurs portions du sacrifice de communion, alors que Hanna, elle, n’en reçoit qu’une seule. Peninna trouve là une opportunité supplémentaire de la blesser et de la mettre dans l’embarras ; il semble que Jéhovah ait “ fermé sa matrice ”, et elle ne manque pas de le lui rappeler. Tous les ans, c’est le même calvaire. Tous les ans, Hanna pleure et cesse de manger. Ces voyages qui normalement devraient la mettre en joie la plongent dans une profonde détresse. Hanna se rend néanmoins chaque année au sanctuaire de Jéhovah. — 1 Samuel 1:3-7.
      Voyez-vous en quoi Hanna est un bel exemple ? Comment réagissez-vous lorsque vous êtes déprimé ? Vous isolez-vous et évitez-vous les contacts avec vos compagnons chrétiens ? Ce n’est pas ce qu’a fait Hanna. Les rassemblements avec les adorateurs de Jéhovah étaient pour elle une habitude de vie. Même face à des circonstances éprouvantes, il devrait en être de même pour nous. — Psaume 26:12 ; 122:1 ; Proverbes 18:1 ; Hébreux 10:24, 25.
      Elqana tente de réconforter Hanna et il l’amène à exprimer ses sentiments profonds. “ Hanna, pourquoi pleures-tu et pourquoi ne manges-tu pas ? Pourquoi ton cœur a-t-il mal ? lui demande-t-il. Est-ce que je ne vaux pas mieux pour toi que dix fils ? ” (1 Samuel 1:8). Peut-être n’a-t-il pas conscience de la malveillance de Peninna. Et peut-être Hanna préfère-t-elle se taire plutôt que de se plaindre. Quoi qu’il en soit, cette femme spirituelle se tourne vers Jéhovah dans la prière pour retrouver la paix intérieure.
      Le vœu de Hanna
      Les sacrifices de communion étaient consommés dans le sanctuaire. Après avoir quitté la salle à manger, Hanna prie Dieu (1 Samuel 1:9, 10). “ Ô Jéhovah des armées, implore-t-elle, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. ” — 1 Samuel 1:11.
      La prière de Hanna est précise. Elle demande un fils, et elle fait le vœu que cet enfant sera toute sa vie un naziréen de Dieu (Nombres 6:1-5). Ce vœu nécessite l’approbation de son mari, et certaines actions ultérieures d’Elqana montrent qu’il approuve l’engagement pris par sa chère femme. — Nombres 30:6-8.
      À cause de la manière dont Hanna prie, le grand prêtre Éli la croit ivre. Il voit effectivement ses lèvres frémir, mais il ne l’entend pas parler. C’est qu’en fait Hanna prie dans son cœur, avec ferveur (1 Samuel 1:12-14). Imaginez ce qu’elle ressent lorsque le grand prêtre l’accuse d’être ivre ! Pourtant, elle lui répond respectueusement. Comprenant alors que Hanna était en train de prier “ dans l’abondance de [son] inquiétude et de [son] dépit ”, il lui dit : “ Que le Dieu d’Israël accorde ta requête. ” (1 Samuel 1:15-17). Sur ces paroles, Hanna s’en va ; elle mange et “ son visage ne par[aît] plus soucieux ”. — 1 Samuel 1:18.
      Que nous enseigne tout cela ? Lorsque nous prions Jéhovah à propos de nos inquiétudes, nous pouvons lui exprimer ce que nous ressentons et lui adresser des requêtes sincères. Si nous avons fait tout notre possible pour résoudre le problème, alors nous devrions laisser les choses entre ses mains. C’est ce qu’il y a de mieux à faire. — Proverbes 3:5, 6.
      Après une prière fervente, il est fréquent que des serviteurs de Jéhovah ressentent une sérénité comparable à celle que Hanna a éprouvée. Voici ce qu’a écrit l’apôtre Paul au sujet de la prière : “ Ne vous inquiétez de rien, mais en tout, par la prière et la supplication avec action de grâces, faites connaître vos requêtes à Dieu ; et la paix de Dieu, qui surpasse toute pensée, gardera vos cœurs et vos facultés mentales par le moyen de Christ Jésus. ” (Philippiens 4:6, 7). Après nous être déchargés de notre fardeau sur Jéhovah, nous devons le laisser s’en occuper. Puis, comme dans le cas de Hanna, il n’y a plus lieu de s’inquiéter. — Psaume 55:22.
      Un fils “ prêté ” à Jéhovah
      Dieu se tourne alors vers Hanna. Peu après, elle porte un enfant. Elle met au monde un garçon (1 Samuel 1:19, 20). C’est l’une des rares fois où la Bible fait état de la responsabilité de Dieu dans la naissance de l’un de ses serviteurs. L’enfant d’Elqana et de Hanna, Samuel, deviendra effectivement le prophète de Jéhovah, un prophète qui jouera un rôle important dans la mise en place de la monarchie d’Israël.
      Il est certain que Hanna parle de Jéhovah à Samuel dès sa petite enfance. Mais oublie-t-elle le vœu qu’elle a fait ? Absolument pas ! “ Dès que le garçon sera sevré, je devrai l’amener ; il devra paraître devant Jéhovah et habiter là pour des temps indéfinis ”, déclare-t-elle. Et en effet, une fois l’enfant sevré — peut-être à l’âge de trois ans ou un peu plus —, elle l’amène au sanctuaire, comme elle l’avait promis. — 1 Samuel 1:21-24 ; 2 Chroniques 31:16.
      Après avoir offert un sacrifice à Jéhovah, Hanna et son mari présentent Samuel à Éli. Hanna tient certainement la main de son petit garçon lorsqu’elle dit à Éli : “ Pardon, mon seigneur ! Par la vie de ton âme, mon seigneur, je suis la femme qui se tenait près de toi, en ce lieu, pour prier Jéhovah. C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde ma requête, ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah. Oui, tous les jours qu’il sera, c’est quelqu’un de demandé pour Jéhovah. ” Ainsi commence, pour Samuel, une vie au service de Dieu. — 1 Samuel 1:25-28 ; 2:11.
      Le temps passe ; bien sûr Hanna n’oublie pas son fils. Les Écritures relatent : “ Sa mère avait coutume de lui faire un petit manteau sans manches, et elle le lui montait, d’année en année, quand elle montait avec son mari pour sacrifier le sacrifice annuel. ” (1 Samuel 2:19). Hanna prie sans aucun doute pour Samuel. Tous les ans, lorsqu’elle lui rend visite, elle l’encourage à coup sûr à demeurer fidèle dans son service pour Dieu.
      Pendant l’une de ces visites, Éli bénit les parents du garçon. Il déclare à Elqana : “ Que Jéhovah t’assigne une descendance de cette femme, à la place du prêt qui a été prêté à Jéhovah. ” C’est ainsi que le couple est récompensé par la naissance de trois autres fils et de deux filles. — 1 Samuel 2:20, 21.
      Quel formidable exemple pour les parents chrétiens ! Beaucoup de mères et de pères se montrent, eux aussi, disposés à prêter, figurément parlant, leurs enfants à Jéhovah ; en effet, ils les encouragent à entreprendre une forme de service à plein temps, même si cela implique que leur fils, ou leur fille, vive loin d’eux. De tels parents aimants méritent des louanges pour les sacrifices qu’ils font. Jéhovah les récompensera.
      Une prière qui déborde de joie
      Comme Hanna est heureuse, elle que la stérilité affectait tant autrefois ! Les Écritures ne contiennent que peu de prières faites par des femmes. Mais, en ce qui concerne Hanna, elles en rapportent deux. La première expose ses sentiments alors qu’elle est humiliée et affligée. La seconde exprime son exultation et son action de grâces ; elle commence par ces mots : “ Oui, mon cœur exulte en Jéhovah. ” Hanna se réjouit ensuite que ‘ même la stérile ait mis au monde ’. Et elle loue Jéhovah, celui “ qui élève [...], qui relève le petit de la poussière ”. Vraiment, il est celui qui “ de la fosse aux cendres [...] fait remonter le pauvre ”. — 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
      Cet épisode de la vie de Hanna, dont le récit a été inspiré par Dieu, montre que les imperfections, voire la malveillance, des autres peuvent nous blesser. Toutefois, nous ne devons pas permettre à ce genre d’épreuves de nous priver de notre joie de servir Dieu. Jéhovah est, par excellence, Celui qui entend la prière, qui répond aux appels à l’aide de ses fidèles et qui les délivre de l’affliction. Il leur accorde une paix profonde et de nombreuses autres bénédictions. — Psaume 22:23-26 ; 34:6-8 ; 65:2.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      1 Samuel 2 : 1-10
      Hannah pria Dieu en ces mots:
      Mon cœur se réjouit au sujet de Jéhovah
      ma force grandit grâce à Jéhovah.
      Ma bouche s’ouvre toute grande contre mes ennemis,
      car je me réjouis de tes actes sauveurs.
      Il n’y a personne qui soit saint comme Jéhovah,
      il n’y a personne qui soit comme toi,
      il n’y a pas de rocher comme notre Dieu.
      Arrêtez de parler avec orgueil ;
      que rien d’arrogant ne sorte de votre bouche,
      car Jéhovah est un Dieu qui sait tout
      et il juge les actions avec justice.
      Les arcs des hommes forts sont brisés,
      mais les hommes faibles reçoivent de la force
      Ceux qui mangeaient bien doivent trouver du travail pour avoir du pain,
      mais les affamés ne souffrent plus de la faim.
      La femme stérile a donné naissance à sept fils,
      mais celle qui avait beaucoup de fils est devenue stérile.
      Jéhovah tue et il garde en vie,
      il fait descendre dans la Tombe et il en fait remonter.
      Jéhovah fait devenir pauvre et il fait devenir riche,
      il abaisse et il élève.
      Il relève le petit de la poussière
      et fait remonter le pauvre du tas de cendres
      pour les faire asseoir avec les princes
      et leur offrir une place d’honneur.
      À Jéhovah appartiennent les fondations de la terre ;
      sur elles, il pose le monde
      Il veille sur les pas de ses fidèles,
      mais les méchants seront tués dans l’obscurité,
      car ce n’est pas par la force que l’homme triomphe. 
      Jéhovah anéantira ceux qui combattent contre lui ;
      pour exprimer sa colère, il fera gronder le tonnerre dans le ciel.
      Jéhovah jugera jusqu’aux extrémités de la terre,
      il donnera du pouvoir à son roi et il fera grandir la force de son oint.
       
       
       


      · 1 reply
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