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Trump consoles Jehovah’s Witnesses on Russia ban as he worships with them


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WASHINGTON DC – President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their wives attended Thursday evening meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington D.C.

The surprise appearance of the first families of the US drove many others to the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Though their visit was unannounced, ushers, preferably called ‘attendants’ by the religious organization received the Trump, Pence and wives and offered them front row seats.

Trump was seen shaking hands with almost the entire congregation after the service and also picked copies of the groups publications ‘Watchtower’ and ‘Awake!’.

White House spokesperson told the media present that “the surprise visit to the meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses is to console all its members across the globe over Russia’s ban on its activities”.

The presence of the dignitaries were acknowledged during the announcements segment of the service but Trump did not give a speech at the service.

Trump connection to the Jehovah’s Witnesses came to public after his in-law Jared Kushner purchased the religious group’s buildings in Brooklyn.

Russia’s Supreme Court ruled on April 20, 2017 that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization should be closed down and no longer allowed to operate legally in Russia, Human Rights Watch said today. The ruling, which affects more than 100,000 Jehovah’s Witness worshippers across Russia, is a serious breach of Russia’s obligations to respect and protect religious freedom.

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WASHINGTON DC – President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their wives attended Thursday evening meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington D.C. The surprise appearance of the first families of the US drove many others to the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Though their visit was unannounced, ushers, preferably called ‘attendants’ by the religious organization received the Trump, Pence and wives and offered them front row seats. Trump was seen shaking hands w

Fake Internet posts said President Donald Trump offered to give refuge to Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses after that country banned followers of the religion, but there is no record he made any such comments. "Trump warns Russia over Jehovah’s Witnesses ban and urges members to seek asylum in the U.S.," reads the headline on an undated story on States-TV.com. The post first appeared on or around April 24, 2017, on States-TV.com, HoustonChronicle-TV.com and Fox-News24.com. Facebook users fl

Oh no, not another one! A friend of mine sent me the first fake news about Trump offering the Witnesses asylum. This is how our conversation on messenger went: Me (initial enthusiasm): "Wow! Thank you for sharing"! (10 minutes later) "I am finding out that now that this may be fake news" Friend: "What makes you think so?" Me:This has been posted 5 days ago already and anything Trump says is reported on other news sites and so far I have not found anything about it at all in a

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Fake Internet posts said President Donald Trump offered to give refuge to Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses after that country banned followers of the religion, but there is no record he made any such comments.

"Trump warns Russia over Jehovah’s Witnesses ban and urges members to seek asylum in the U.S.," reads the headline on an undated story on States-TV.com. The post first appeared on or around April 24, 2017, on States-TV.com, HoustonChronicle-TV.com and Fox-News24.com.

Facebook users flagged it as possibly being fabricated, as part of the social media site’s efforts to clear fake news from users’ news feeds.

The post is keyed to a real event: Russia’s Supreme Court banned the religious organization on April 20, labeling the group as a danger for "extremist activities." The assets of the St. Petersburg headquarters and almost 400 chapters were designated state property. Its literature and website have also been banned.

From there, the story devolved into fairytale, claiming Trump warned that the move "is contrary to the constitution of the land of the Russian Federation."

"I request you to reverse the decision immediately before I use your own constitution against you," Trump is quoted. He also is credited as saying Jehovah’s Witness could find freedom in this country.

"As this is an infringement of your fundamental human right, I therefore urge you to seek asylum in the United States until your rights are fully reinstated," he said, according to the post.

The problem is, there is no record Trump said any of these things. Aside from a few examples of this same post being on multiple websites, we couldn’t find any official record of him personally addressing the subject at all.

We reached out to a White House spokesman to confirm this but didn’t receive a response.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner did release a statement on April 20 saying that the United States was "extremely concerned by the Russian government's actions targeting and repressing members of religious minorities, including Jehovah's Witnesses, under the pretense of combating extremism."

Toner also noted that religious freedom was critical to society.

"All religious minorities should be able to enjoy freedom of religion and assembly without interference, as guaranteed by the Russian Federation's constitution," he said.

But there’s no mention of Trump making any statement, and we couldn’t find one elsewhere. Reposts have circulated of the country’s 175,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses being harassed by Russian police since the ruling.

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Please do not share fake news. The website says it all: "see news go..." Totally fake. That's supposed to be Trump 'worshipping with' Witnesses? Does that look like a kingdom hall? And even the Vice President? Fake news designed to create sensation and confusion, disorder and uncertainty among Jehovah's Witnesses ,,

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Nigeria has a very high ratio of Witnesses in the population. The site currently has only three articles mentioning Jehovah's Witnesses, two of them from 2016, but one of them is list of the most popular religions in Nigeria, and JWs are listed 4th in a listing of 10.

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The other article is called:

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This is exactly the kind of fake news that could be seized upon by Witnesses from other countries who are not as familiar with Trump's style. I'd say that it was not designed to create confusion and uncertainty, but designed to create excitement and attention, even if short-lived (and short-sighted).

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Oh no, not another one! A friend of mine sent me the first fake news about Trump offering the Witnesses asylum. This is how our conversation on messenger went:

Me (initial enthusiasm): "Wow! Thank you for sharing"!

(10 minutes later) "I am finding out that now that this may be fake news"

Friend: "What makes you think so?"

Me:This has been posted 5 days ago already and anything Trump says is reported on other news sites and so far I have not found anything about it at all in any of the serious news sites. This website looks untrustworthy. If there is anything else I find out about it I will let you know

Friend: OK

Friend next day: I just found out that it's not fake mail. Trumps son in law married to Ivanka , he handled the sale of the New York properties. He spent a great deal of time at Bethel and knows what J.W.s is all about. I think they bought some of the properties in Brooklyn. That came from the N.Y. News paper. FYI.

Me: What came from the N.Y. news paper?

Friend: The fake mail. It's not fake

Me:So the report about Trump warning Russia about banning Witnesses and giving Witnesses asylum in the States you read in a N.Y. news paper?

Friend:I didn't read it. One of our brothers let our friend know about it. We know friends in Bethel. They keep in touch. That article about trump was real news.

Me: Ok, could you please ask them which news paper was it. I'm just interested. Thanks ?

Friend: OK

Needless to say she never got back to me about that, but sent other news articles (this time from reputable news sites) unrelated to this Trump thing, but related to the Witnesses in Russia.

I am just posting our conversation as an example of how some of us get easily sucked into this kind of thing. "I have friends who have friends who know friends in Bethel and they said...she said" kind of thing. But there is absolutely no concrete evidence for anything...Perhaps this is good in a sense that we can all learn not to be hasty in accepting "news", or anything for that matter until we have solid evidence it is true. Although the Bible itself gives that very advice, we still seem to have a hard time applying it, as we have seen with the plethora of fake news surrounding the Witnesses in Russia, which friends were spreading as supposed "facts".

 

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I think we just let our emotions get the best of us. We know that our brothers and sisters in Russia are going through a tough time, so in our efforts (or our human eyes) we wanted to have a little good news. But as Anna said we need to be careful about what we accept in our life especially during these last days.

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