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Russians Protest Plans for Mormon Meetinghouse

Russians Protest Plans for Mormon Meetinghouse

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Russians of differing faiths have protested the renovation of a chapel owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A Russian online newspaper has reported that Orthodox Christians, Russian Muslims and Cossacks demonstrated in the city center Saturday against the Mormon church's plans to renovate its meetinghouse in Saratov, Russia.

Based on that outcry, local authorities revoked the building license obtained by the Mormon church in the southern Russian community. The Russian Constitution ensures all religions equal rights, and Mormon leaders have appealed to city leaders.

However, the church may have to go to court to get the building license reinstated.

Church spokesman Dale Bills says in all countries in which it operates, the church respects local laws and required procedures. He says they look forward to working with the appropriate Russian authorities to resolve concerns with this project.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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