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Datum: 28.01.1997, Berliner Zeitung
Ressort: Politik
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USA fordern Religionsfreiheit für Scientology
Amerikanisches Außenamt kritisiert Bonn in seinem Menschenrechtsbericht scharf

Washington. rie Das US-Außenamt übt in seinem morgen erscheinenden Menschenrechtsbericht scharfe Kritik an Deutschlands Umgang mit Scientology. Wie aus einem Artikel in der "Washington Post" hervorgeht, wolle die Clinton-Administration die Religionsfreiheit für die Mitglieder der "Church of Scientology" sicherstellen. Bonn sei bereits auf diplomatischem Weg aufgefordert worden, "Menschen nicht wegen falscher Gedanken zu verfolgen", zitiert die Zeitung einen hochrangigen Vertreter der Administration."Wir werden unsere Politik nicht ändern, egal was ihr dazu sagt", soll ein deutscher Diplomat die Reaktion formuliert haben. Die USA seien ein großes Land, das Sekten dulden könne. Deutschland sei auf Grund der Geschichte besonders sensibel gegenüber Extremismus und sehe sich verpflichtet, Aktivitäeten von Gruppen, die das Wohl des Staates gefährden könnten, einzuschränken. Sowohl Washington als auch Bonn sehen die Meinungsverschiedenheiten jedoch als minimal an. Als "absolut unberechtigt" hat Außenminister Klaus Kinkel (FDP) die massive Kritik aus den USA zurückgewiesen. Er hoffe, darüber bald mit der neuen US-Außenministerin Albright zu sprechen.

Bonn ist nicht allein in seinem Kampf gegen Scientology. Die USA verwehrten der Sekte über Jahrzehnte den Status einer Religionsgemeinschaft, als die sie erst seit 1993 anerkannt ist. Australien verbot bereits vor 30 Jahren die Mitgliedschaft bei Scientology. Auch Italien und Frankreich ergriffen Maßnahmen gegen die Organisation.

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U.S. sees Bonn discrimination against Scientology

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON, The Reuters World Service via Individual Inc. : Scientologists are the target of discrimination in Germany and the group has prompted ``some unfortunate reactions'' by members of the German government, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

But department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the Scientologists and their supporters had, for their part, made ``outrageous'' comparisons of the Bonn government to Germany's former Nazi rulers.

Burns and other U.S. officials said the situation of the Church of Scientology in Germany would be addressed in the State Department's annual report on human rights around the world, due to be published on Thursday.

Four previous editions of the report have raised U.S. concerns over Bonn's attitude to Scientology, which Germany regards as a potential threat to the public.

One U.S. official said the relevant section in this year's report would be longer than before, reflecting the publicity the issue has received in the past year, but would otherwise be ``not a great departure'' from those in previous reports.

The Washington Post, however, reported on Monday that this year's survey would contain ``toughened language.''

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.

The church says it has documented more than 600 alleged human rights violations by the German government against Scientologists. The state of Bavaria recently passed a law banning Scientologists from holding public office.

Burns told a news briefing: ``The Scientologists in Germany are being discriminated against merely as a result of their belonging to that organisation, not because, in our view ... of any actions that they've taken.''

``There's no question that there have been some unfortunate reactions to the Scientologists by members of the German government, and by members of some of the city and regional administrations in Germany,'' he added.

But the U.S. spokesman praised the German Interior Ministry for concluding that there were no grounds for placing the group under surveillance by security agencies.

And, referring to advertisements placed in U.S. newspapers last year, Burns also accused Scientologists in the United States of having ``unleashed a public relations campaign against the German government which is simply wrong-headed.''

``The Scientologists and their Hollywood supporters are ... literally saying that the (German) government's treatment of the Scientologists is analogous to Hitler's treatment of the Jews ... in 1933 and 1934,'' he said.

``The Nazi treatment of the Jews in no way can be compared to what's happening to the Scientologists in Germany today. It is an outrageous historical claim,'' he said.

Nevertheless, reports of the impending human rights survey prompted a critical reaction in Germany. The Christian Social Union, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Bavarian-based coalition partner accused the State Department of falling for a Church of Scientology ``hate campaign against Germany.''

Scientology is a religious philosophy founded in 1954 by U.S. writer L. Ron Hubbard. Its headquarters is in Los Angeles.

According to materials circulated by the German Embassy in Washington, ``the federal (German) government has come to the conclusion that the organisation's pseudo-scientific courses can seriously jeopardise individuals' mental and physical health and that it exploits its members.''

The Church of Scientology denies those charges. REUTER@ [01-27-97 at 19:03 EST, Copyright 1997, Reuters America Inc.]


Germans Say Scientology Dupes United States

Source: Reuters

BONN, Reuters via Individual Inc. : The Christian Social Union (CSU), Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Bavarian-based coalition partner Monday accused the U.S. State Department of falling for a Church of Scientology hate campaign against Germany.

CSU general secretary Bernd Protzner urged Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel to intervene in Washington to head off criticism the State Department has been reported to be planning against Germany for restrictions on the controversial group.

``Influential circles in the U.S. State Department have obviously fallen for (Scientology's) hate campaign against Germany and have let themselves be used by the sect,'' the conservative CSU said in a statement.

It quoted Protzner as saying the planned State Department report proved German authorities were right to combat Scientology, which promises its members inner peace if they go through a costly personality analysis.

``This sect is subversive and able in a frightening way to make or influence public opinion,'' Protzner said. ``We must do everything permissible under the law to expose the secret lodge-style practices of this association and stop the further expansion of this octopus.''

The Washington Post reported Monday that the State Department's annual survey of global human rights conditions would criticize Germany for ``a campaign of harassment and intimidation'' against the church.

The Church of Scientology filed an application with the European Commission of Human Rights Friday, accusing the German government of discriminating against its members.

The church says it has documented more than 600 alleged human rights violations by the German government against Scientologists, and Bavaria recently passed a law banning Scientologists from holding public office.

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

In another German attack on Scientology, the Protestant Center for Ideological Issues said it had strong indications the organization had infiltrated government agencies in Poland and Russia and had links to Islamic fundamentalists.

Andreas Fincke, an official at the center, told Saarland Radio that Scientology had quietly infiltrated companies, management schools and consulting firms in Germany.

``There is still no organization you can ask to see whether a firm belongs to Scientology or not,'' he said. [01-27-97 at 14:21 EST, Copyright 1997, Reuters America Inc.]