20 Dec 2004 16:00

Interfax announces launch of Internet information portal Religion

The Interfax International Information Group announces the launch of a new Internet information portal Religion (www.interfax-religion.ru), which will cover religious life in Russia and other countries.

"It is difficult to speak about giving a comprehensive and objective picture of the life of our society without covering religion. Hence we regard our new project as an important supplement to Interfax information products, primarily the political newswire," Chief Editor of the Interfax Political Information Service, Alexei Meshkov, said.

Religious leaders of Russia, including the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II, Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, Ravil Gainutdin, and Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar - welcomed the new information portal.

"Our times are witnessing an ample revival of the Russian Orthodox Church. Churches and monasteries are being built, theological and Sunday schools are being opened, and social and charity programs are being implemented," says a message of Patriarch Alexy II to readers of the portal. "Similar processes are underway in other religious communities, which are taking part in inter-religious dialog and pooling efforts to respond to common challenges, the most terrible of which is the challenge of terrorism acting under disguise of religion."

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church hopes that the new project of Interfax, which was prepared with the assistance of the Inter-Religious Council of Russia, "will give the society a better knowledge of lifestyles of our and other peoples and assist journalists from various countries in their professional duties."

"I value extremely high the role of Interfax in the prompt and objective coverage of the activities of religious organizations," Russian Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar said. "I sincerely wish the new website to grow and develop, become a link between people of various religions and nationalities, and strengthen peace between them."

Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis Ravil Gainutdin wished success to Interfax on behalf of the Council and the Religious Board of Moslems in the European Part of Russia and said he hopes that "the Internet religious portal will serve for the benefit of this country and the society at large."

All the requirements of modern users to such resources were taken into consideration in the www.interfax-religion.ru project. News, exclusive interviews, analytical articles, detailed monitoring of central, regional and religious editions, and reviews of specialized Internet resources will be posted on the website.

The new information portal of Interfax will also monitor television and radio programs. Another unique service is an access to the archives of all Interfax religious news, which were started in 1989 and have massed about 20,000 news items. The Memorial Dates section of the Internet portal will list main religious holidays and give key biographic information about the religious leaders of Russia, CIS and other countries.

"Information posted on the Religion website will be easy of access and, we hope, that will make the portal the largest information floor in Russia and the CIS for the exchange of opinions between representatives of various religions," Meshkov said. Interfax is open to cooperation with any authoritative religious organizations and editions, as well as governmental agencies, educational establishments, analytical and expert centers.