Russian Orthodox Church clergy allowed to enter politics

By Reuters Staff
February 3, 2011
russian orthodox medvedev

(President Dmitry Medvedev (C, bottom row), Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill (2nd R, bottom row) and Russian Orthodox Church hierarchs at the Kremlin in Moscow February 3, 2011/Alexander Nemenov)

Battle for alcohol in Muslim Russia is deadly business

February 2, 2011
vodka

(Men drink vodka in a car in Ingushetia's largest town Nazran, January 30, 2011/Diana Markosian)

God absent from Russian church’s new spiritual guide

By Reuters Staff
January 27, 2011

God is absent from a new spiritual guide the Russian Orthodox Church is drafting in tandem with Russia’s ruling party, a newspaper said on Thursday. Instead justice, patriotism and solidarity top the list of the guideline, dubbed “Eternal Values: The Foundation of Russian Identity,” which the Church is to publish with the dominant United Russia party, headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Moscow prison opens first prayer room for Muslims

January 24, 2011

butyrkaA prison where Soviet-era writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn was jailed and a third of inmates are Muslims from the North Caucasus and Central Asia, has become the first in Moscow to open a Muslim prayer room.

Orthodox Church asks Russian women to dress modestly

January 20, 2011

russian orthodoxRussian feminists have expressed outrage after the country’s increasingly powerful Orthodox Church proposed an official dress code to ensure that women dress more modestly.

Russia to launch Muslim TV channel to promote tolerance

January 19, 2011

snowy mosque (Photo: Workers clearing snow during windy weather in front of the Kul-Sharif mosque in Kazan, capital of the Tatarstan republic, March 11, 2010/Denis Sinyakov)

Russia will soon launch a Muslim television channel in the hope it will foster tolerance after the capital saw some of the worst clashes since the fall of the Soviet Union, state-run media have reported.

Russian firm plans halal reindeer meat exports to Qatar

By Reuters Staff
December 22, 2010

reindeer (Photo: A Nenets tribesman and his  herd of reindeers on the Yamal peninsula, north of the polar circle, August 4, 2009/Denis Sinyakov)

When rival energy producers Russia and Qatar talk business, it’s no longer only about natural gas — they’re talking reindeer meat, which Russia has promised to export and butcher according to Muslim dietary law. The prospect of Russia exporting halal reindeer meat products to the desert kingdom first came up last month when the governor of Russia’s Arctic Yamal Nenets region, where most of Russia’s gas is produced, was in Qatar for investment talks.

Russian extremism law targets religious minorities, dissenters

By Reuters Staff
December 16, 2010

jehovah (Photo: Alexander Kalistratov leaves a court building in Gorno-Altaysk, December 16, 2010/Alexandr Tyryshkin)

When armed Russian security officers forced their way into Alexander Kalistratov’s home, he hardly imagined they were after his books. The local leader of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Siberia now faces up to two years in prison if found guilty this week of inciting religious hatred for distributing literature about his beliefs.

On Tolstoy centenary, Russian Orthodox won’t lift excommunication

November 30, 2010

tolstoy 2The Russian Orthodox Church refused to rehabilitate him and the state chose to ignore him, but the official silence surrounding the 100th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy’s death has not muffled praise or quelled debate.

Russia’s Islamist rebels mull language switch to Arabic or Turkish

November 28, 2010

grozny (Photo: Workers clean blood from the sidewalk outside the parliament building in Grozny October 19, 2010 following a suicide attack there that killed four people/Kazbek Basayev)

Militants waging an Islamist insurgency in Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region have proposed using either Arabic or a Turkic language as a lingua franca for their affairs. The insurgents now communicate with each other largely in Russian, also the main language of the dozen or so Islamist web sites they are affiliated with, and of their video addresses.