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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 1st June 2018 > Red, White and Green

Red, White and Green

HARGEISA, SOMALIA

Men coated with the colors of the Somali flag celebrate independence day on May 15, a little bit early. Following the festivities, many in Somaliland—an autonomous region that broke away from Somalia in 1991 but isn’t internationally recognized—began fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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BIBLE THUMPERS: RUSSIA IS CRACKING DOWN ON JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES It was just after sunrise on April 10th when the doorbell rang at Anatoly and Alyona Vilitkevich’s apartment in Ufa, an industrial city in central Russia. Their early morning visitors: masked police officers armed with automatic weapons. The police’s tactics that morning were the type often used to detain dangerous criminals. But Anatoly isn’t a suspected terrorist, murderer or drug trafficker. Police arrested him because he and Alyona are Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian evangelical movement known for its members’ door-to-door proselytizing. Jehovah’s Witnesses are also committed pacifists who historically have been persecuted by governments all over the world for their refusal to perform military service, or salute the flag. Some of the most brutal repression took place in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. And now it’s the Kremlin, with the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church, that’s ramping up the pressure. The state’s crackdown comes as part of a government-backed drive against minority “foreign” religions.