Members of the Ukrainian Conservative Party and editors of several of the country's media have called on the president to launch a criminal case against "judo-Nazis" from the Chabad movement, Interfax news agency reported.
Chabad is a trend in Hasidism (Chassidism), a Jewish religious movement founded in Poland in the 18th century. It stresses the mercy of God and encourages joyous religious expression through music and dance. Hasidism spread rapidly in Ukraine, Galicia, central Poland, Belarus and Hungary. In the 20th century its stalwarts became the staunchest defenders of tradition against increasing secularism in Jewish life. Since the Holocaust, the main centers of Hasidism are in the U.S. and Israel.
In an open letter to Viktor Yushchenko, the public figures described the Chabad members them as "judo-Nazis" and demanded persecution of several rabbis for distributing their holy book Tania and teaching it in Judaic schools and synagogues, a practice which the signatories said would mean "children's retraction in this misanthropic religious system."
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