Russian Blogger Gets Probation for Anti-Christian Speech

Rafis Kashapov.  Source: islamnews.ruA Russian blogger from the Republic of Tatarstan has been convicted of inciting hatred and enmity against the Russian Orthodox faith in his web journal, and sentenced to 1.5 years probation.  Rafis Kashapov, who is part of a pro-Tatar group called the Tatar Public Center, wrote a series of blog entries under a headline of “No to Christianization!,” the Interfax-Religion news agency reported on April 25th.

The Republic of Tatarstan, located in the center of Russia’s European territory, has a slight majority of ethnic Tatars, who practice Islam.  Around 40 percent of the region’s residents are ethnic Russians, most of whom practice Russian Orthodox Christianity.

“The investigation and court has established that Kashapov placed articles titled “No to Christianization!” in his blog on the Internet,” the Investigative Committee of the Public Prosecutor’s Office wrote on its website.  “According to the conclusions of a complex psychological assessment, [the article] had information which incited ethnic discord.”

Kashapov published a total of five articles under the same headline.

According to the IslamNews online newspaper, Kashapov penned his entries in response to a simmering religious scandal from early 2008 (Rus) in the region’s second largest city, Naberezhnye Chelny.  Allegedly, children from Muslim families were being baptized by an Orthodox minister against their parent’s will at an area maternity clinic.

After the articles appeared, Kashapov’s home and the office of the Tatar Public Center were searched, and a case was launched against Kashapov.