Soviets Adopt Religious Freedom Law

The Soviet legislature’s adoption Wednesday of a law guaranteeing freedom of religion has been welcomed by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.

Details of the new law, which was adopted by the Supreme Soviet, were not immediately available. But Shoshana Cardin, chairwoman of the National Conference, expressed hope that it would “enable all Soviet citizens to practice their individual faiths in dignity and free from the threat of persecution.”

Previously, the Soviets had paid only “lip service” to religious freedom, said Martin Wenick, the group’s executive director. He said he hoped the new law would allow people to “practice their religion without government interference.”

Cardin said there had been recent progress in the Soviet Union on religious freedom for Soviet Jews.

Under the new law, she said, “we look forward to official recognition of all those Jewish institutions not yet registered, support by the government for Jewish religious schools and places of worship, and assurance, through the actions of the authorities, that the new freedoms promised by today’s action will be enjoyed by all those Soviet Jews who seek to express their heritage and tradition through religious pursuits.”

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