GEORGIA: “Orchestrated reaction” against religious minorities’ buildings
The Jehovah’s Witnesses – who suffered more than a hundred violent attacks, mostly unpunished, between 1999 and 2003 – say that they have been able to build Kingdom Halls across Georgia in the last few years, including about ten in Tbilisi. “It’s strange, given all the attacks,” Jehovah’s Witness leader Genadi Gudadze told Forum 18 from Tbilisi on 24 October. “Sometimes life is surprising,” he added, laughing.
But the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been careful. “We don’t advertise that we’re building Kingdom Halls, but everyone round about knows what they are,” Gudadze reported. “They deliberately aren’t large or lavish, so don’t attract attention.”
Like other faiths, the Jehovah’s Witnesses choose not to place signs outside their places of worship. “We understand that in a normal country there should be such signs,” Gudadze added. “But we don’t want extra attention.”