Shalva Papuashvili: The Center for Tolerance is headed by a person distinguished by his hostile rhetoric towards the Georgian Church, this also casts a shadow on the Public Defender as an institution; I hope this event will generate a response

I’m addressing the Public Defender – when the Center for Tolerance is headed by a person distinguished by his hostile rhetoric towards the Georgian Church, this also casts a shadow on the Public Defender as an institution; I hope this event will generate a response, Parliament Chairman Shalva Papuashvili stated.

As the Chairman of the Parliament stated, the Parliament of Georgia has a parliamentary ombudsman system, therefore it is important for the Public Defender of Georgia not to be discredited as an institution.

“Something practically unheard of was happening. Millions of believers – you, me, and others – were told that a Russian holiday is being marked on 7 January. By the way, apart from the fact that this was maintained by Kandelaki and other members of the opposition, this statement was also made by Mr. Beka Mindiashvili, who is the head of the Center for Tolerance that operates under the Public Defender. Therefore, I would also like to address the Public Defender – when the Center for Tolerance is headed by a person who publicly stated that celebrating Christmas on 7 January is anti-Western foolishness, resentment, and a whim, how can Levan Ioseliani, as a Christian person, accept this? He was insulted in the same manner as you, me, and millions of Georgian believers, when we were told that on 7 January we celebrate some fascist holiday that amounts to anti-Western foolishness, rather than Christmas. He said this, word for word – this is what the head of the Center for Tolerance tells us,” Papuashvili stated.

According to him, hopefully the ombudsman will respond accordingly.

“I am publicly addressing the Public Defender – I do not know what the purpose and composition of this Center for Tolerance is, but when it is headed by a person who demonstrates religious intolerance and who is directly engaged in anti-European radicalism, and this is not his only statement… He is distinguished by his hostile rhetoric towards the Georgian Church, including the Patriarch. Of course, this casts a shadow over the institution of the Public Defender. There is a parliamentary ombudsman system in place, and it is important to us, the Parliament, that no shadow should fall on the Public Defender of Georgia as an institution. Therefore, I hope that this event will generate a corresponding response. This hysteria, which was brought about in connection with the icon and the date of Christmas, led us to the point when, for the first time in the history of independent Georgia, a person dared to desecrate an icon in the church,” Shalva Papuashvili stated.

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