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  Scientology in the News: Press Office

Official Repression of Religious Rights


Why this page has been erected.

Germany today faces a crisis. Since reunification, international media have reported on growing xenophobia, violent attacks on "foreigners" and desecration of sacred Jewish symbols. This coverage has helped to publicize the rise in human rights abuses in Germany. But what has been reported is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • Government figures quoted by German MP Ulla Jelpke report that from January to November 1995, there were 406 racist, anti-semitic and neo-Nazi attacks in Germany. They included 33 anti-foreigner and two anti-Semitic firebombings, 282 anti-foreigner and eight anti-Semitic attacks against persons, 31 anti-Semitic cemetery desecrations and 5 anti-Semitic attacks that caused property damage. Government figures disclosed an additional 1,248 anti-foreigner and right-wing extremist and 662 other anti-Semitic crimes. Three hundred and fifty-one persons were injured in the attacks.

  • According to a report by Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, in 1994 acts of violence against "non-Germans" were more than 400 percent higher than in 1991.

  • The same report, published in April 1995, reported that almost 80% of cases brought to punish such criminal wrong-doing are dismissed before trial. Of those tried, only 10-15% are convicted. Less than half of those found guilty are sent to prison and fewer than 15% receive sentences in excess of two years.

It is not only "foreigners" who are the targets. This page has been erected to provide information and documentation of officially sanctioned discrimination against religious minorities in today’s Germany. Abuses against parishioners of the Church of Scientology form the major focus. But other minority groups are also targeted. In his 1995 annual report to the United Nations, the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance reported instances of discrimination by the German government against two religious groups, of which the Church of Scientology is one. And it is well known -- and documented by Helsinki Watch in its April 1995 report, Germany for Germans: Xenophobia and Racist Violence in Germany -- that Turks, Gypsies and Africans have been targeted by neo-Nazi skinheads and are viewed with hostility by the German government.

The real ugliness of discrimination in Germany today is that its most dangerous perpetrators are not street toughs. Some of them hold important state and federal government posts. Novelist Gunter Grass dubbed them "skinheads in neckties." If this fact is new to you, it is because international media has missed it or ignored it and has attributed xenophobia almost entirely to aggressively public neo-Nazis.

  • No other democracy in the world bars its own citizens from membership of political parties because of their religious affiliation.

  • In no other democracy are members of minority religions routinely fired from their jobs because of their religion, ruining their careers and prospects.

  • In no other democracy do local governments repeatedly intervene to stop street handouts by members of minority religions.

  • In no other democracy have members of minority religions been blacklisted, denied public facilities, denied the right to open a bank account and expelled from trade associations because of their church membership.

  • In no other democracy have federal and state officials repeatedly called for the banning of a religion.

The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, wrote that the price of Freedom is "Constant alertness, constant willingness to fight back. There is no other price." That is the spirit in which we have erected this page. We encourage members of groups in Germany that are experiencing officially-endorsed discrimination to contact us with details of the abuses they have suffered.

(If you would like a copy of any of the publications above, or wish to sign a petition calling for an end to officially sanctioned human rights violations against ethnic and religious minorities in Germany, e-mail with your street address and it will be sent to you by mail.)

For further information contact:
Leisa Goodman
(323) 960-3500

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