All Duma factions back tougher liability for insulting citizens' religious feelings

"The State Duma is pointing out the need to toughen liability for insulting the religious feelings of citizens, including the desecration of holy places, and also reiterates the importance of unavoidability of punishment for such actions," the State Duma said in a statement adopted at a plenary session on Tuesday.

The draft statement calling for the protection of believers' religious feelings was submitted by members of all four factions of the State Duma.

"Incidents of insulting citizens' religious feelings, including those involving violence, have recently become frequent," the document says.

The parliamentarians voiced special concerns about terrorist attacks "driven by religious reasons and aimed at destroying spiritual leaders and general destabilization of the situation."

"The killings of spiritual leaders, violence against believers, the cutting down of crosses, the destruction of churches, the blasphemous hooligan stunts, vandalism at cemeteries, insulting inscriptions - all these actions are aimed at destroying the centuries-old spiritual and moral foundations of Russia and discreditation of traditional values and essentially fan civil tensions and undermine the country's sovereignty," the document says.

"The State Duma condemns such criminal actions and calls for a tough response to the destructive forces praising anti-religious extremism, vandalism and hooliganism, and fanning in society hatred against the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organizations," the statement says.

The authors of the document believe all political forces in the country should unite their efforts to strengthen national unity and civil accord.

"This can be promoted by further religious education of society, including the spiritual education of the youth," the document says.

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