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Russian Rights Group Concerned By Growing Literature Blacklist

Council of Muftis head Rawil Gainutdin has warned of unjustified bans on religious literature
A Russian human rights group has raised concerns about the country's official list of extremist literature, which appears to be growing rapidly, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

The list is maintained by Russia's Justice Ministry and includes printed works that are perceived as extremist by local courts.

The SOVA Center for information and analysis, a non-governmental organization that monitors cases of xenophobia and attacks on non-Russians, issued a report on March 24 stating that the number of banned publications nearly quadrupled in 2008, from 79 to 301.

The report warns that poorly informed authorities and pressure from law-enforcement bodies are the main factors behind expansion of the list.

The chairman of Russia's Council of Muftis, Rawil Gainutdin, recently offered to create a special council of experts to provide guidance at a federal level to avoid unjustified bans on religious literature, and Islamic literature in particular.