Scientologists act against Germany, condemn Greece




Source: Reuters


LOS ANGELES, The Reuters World Service via Individual Inc. : The Church of
Scientology filed an application with the European Commission of Human Rights on
Friday, accusing the German government of discriminating against its members.

In a statement from its Los Angeles headquarters, the Church of Scientology
International said the application directly to the European Commission in
Strasbourg was unprecedented in that the church was bypassing German courts.

``Scientologists in Germany continue to suffer systematic discrimination simply
due to their religious beliefs,'' said Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the
Church of Scientology International.

``Athletes, artists, teachers, musicians, dancers -- indeed Scientologists in
any profession -- know that they risk losing their job, their business or other
rights and entitlements if their religion is known.''

Jentzsch said that although more than 36 German courts have held that
Scientology is a religion entitled to constitutional protection, ``the German
government refuses to abide by its own laws and ignores its own courts, making a
direct application to the Commission necessary.''

He said the church had documented more than 600 alleged human rights violations
by the German government against Scientologists.

The church recently become embroiled in a controversy with Chancellor Helmut
Kohl's government over a new law in Bavaria banning Scientologists from holding
public office in the southern German state.

Kohl later dismissed as uninformed an open letter from a group of Hollywood
stars and directors likening Germany's attitude toward Scientology to the
infamous Nuremberg laws against Jews in pre-war Nazi Germany.

Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta are Scientologists, as is jazz
pianist Chick Corea.

In another statement, the Church of Scientology condemned as ``totalitarian and
fascist'' an Athens court's decision to close down a Scientology group in the
Greek capital.

According to the ruling obtained on Thursday by Reuters, the Greek judge banned
the Greek Centre of Applied Philosophy (KEFE), a Scientology group, saying it
obtained a licence as a non-profit, public interest organisation under false
pretenses.

Jentzsch said the court decision was based on forged signatures on a petition
and he vowed to ``bring Greece out of its Third World status as far as religious
freedom is concerned, and into compliance with international human rights
standards.''

He stressed that the Scientology association in Greece remained open. REUTER@

[01-24-97 at 21:13 EST, Copyright 1997, Reuters America Inc.]