Annika Vitamar: "If Jehovah's Witnesses are extremists, then most versions of Christianity can be called the same"European Union
"I have been researching Jehovah's Witnesses for many years. I visited Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, in the USA, in England, in Copenhagen, in Denmark. I have talked with many of Jehovah's Witnesses. They are a religious minority, but a minority that coexists peacefully with the rest of society. They go to the same schools, work in regular jobs. They do not separate themselves from society, but adapt to it.
The law on extremism is rather vague, it was created with the specific purpose of preventing incitement to violence and hatred on racial or religious grounds. But the law does not say what types of actions are extremist.
Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian organization, and Christianity by its nature claims to be exclusive. This means that Christian organizations claim to possess the absolute truth. If the extremists are Jehovah's Witnesses, then most Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant versions of Christianity can be called the same.
Jehovah's Witnesses are known for their opposition to violence, especially for their refusal to serve in the military and not to carry weapons. And yet there is a law accusing Jehovah's Witnesses of inciting violence, which in itself is ironic.
State laws on religious movements are often problematic, especially with regard to the worldviews of religious movements. Because such laws often apply to some currents, and do not apply to others, although they have a very similar worldview.
Dr. Annika Hvithamar, religious scholar, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).