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Bans sought on occult activities by Moscow lawmakers, leads to religious freedom concerns

 

(RNS) Moscow city lawmakers are calling on the Russian government to impose a ban on fortune tellers, magicians, witches and others who offer occult services. But some Russian experts in the United States are concerned that the measure may limit religious freedom.

The Moscow city government health commission has sent a draft law to national legislators that would criminalize uncertified individuals who sell medical or psychological advice to customers, reported MosNews, a Russian online newspaper.

A 1993 law in Russia banned mass healing - particularly healers claiming they could cure individuals through television and radio broadcasts. The current draft law would amend the 1993 law to ban all occult activities and fine violators. More than 100,000 occult service providers currently work in Russia.