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    Jehovah's Witnesses plans for stadium service in Russia blocked

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    Prosecutors in the northeast Russian city of Murmansk said on Friday that a planned series of Jehovah's Witnesses services in a stadium cannot go ahead, as they contravene a law on the use of sports facilities.

    MURMANSK, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - Prosecutors in the northeast Russian city of Murmansk said on Friday that a planned series of Jehovah's Witnesses services in a stadium cannot go ahead, as they contravene a law on the use of sports facilities.

    The statement said that according to Russian law, sports facilities cannot be used for religious purposes. The group had signed a contract with the Murmansk Central Stadium for services from July 18-20.

    In May 2007, the Murmansk branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which has around 800 members, clashed with the local administration when authorities refused to allocate land for the construction of a religious center in a densely-populated area of the city.

    The group, known in the West for persistent door-to-door evangelism, was formed in the 19th Century in the United States. It rejects the deity of Jesus Christ and claims that the Christian church has corrupted the Bible. The group's religious text is the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

    The Jehovah's Witnesses have been banned in some post-Soviet countries.

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