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Friday, 13 October, 2000, 21:50 GMT
Russia rejects US complaint over religion

Russia has rejected suggestions by the United States that it is guilty of religious intolerance.

Last week the State Department urged Russia to thoroughly investigate incidents of alleged intolerance, including one in September in which masked attackers are said to have vandalized a Jewish school in the provincial town of Ryazan and terrorised students. The report also mentioned the alleged disruption of services by Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons. In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the American complaint had been made in the heat of a presidential election campaign.

It said that the leadership of the Russian Federation barred any violation of religious freedom or any manifestation of aggressive nationalism or xenophobia.

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