Scientology in the News: Headlines

The Intolerance File

Over the last several years, the Church of Scientology and its investigative journal FREEDOM have documented many human rights violations against minorities across the globe.

In Germany today, virtually all minority religions and racial groups have become targets of government-fostered oppression and xenophobia in Germany. This information has been made broadly known by the Church of Scientology through a public education campaign that has included booklets in English and German editions, public service messages in newspapers such as The New York Times and Washington Post and exposure in the pages of Freedom.

The Orange County Register published an editorial by its senior columnist, Alan W. Bock, January 29, 1995, citing oppressive German governmental actions and situations which leading to the Holocaust and drawing parallels to the re-birth of neo-Nazism and similar situations of ethnic cleansing in countries such as Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda.
Bock describes a recently-released book by the Christian Democratic Union, Germany's ruling party, entitled InSects - No Thanks! with cover art depicting adherents of minority religions - Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, Scientologists, Rosicrucians - as insects to be crushed."
Bock concludes with this point: "Never again? If we really mean it, we should concentrate on limiting state power and cultivating skepticism when a government starts telling us how evil or dangerous some group is."

In 1994 and into 1995, the International Association of Scientologists sponsored full page public service messages in the New York Times and Washington Post, detailing bigoted treatment of Scientologists and other minority groups in Germany. The campaign attracted much media attention and drew support from human rights activists the world over. Here is just a sample of the atrocities exposed in the Church's New York Times/Washington Post advocacy ad series.

In march 1933, Adolf Hitler took one of the first steps in his 12-year campaign against German Jews by launching a boycott of Jewish businesses. The boycott was flanked by a flood of denigrating anti-Jewish propaganda designed to create the impression that Jews were dangerous and subhuman.

The boycott provided a justification for violence. Under the direction of the SS and Gestapo, Nazi hooligans vandalized Jewish-owned shops and burned books deemed in un-German and impure. Jewish stores had their windows painted over with "Jude" to scare customers away.

Surrounded by this bigotry and violations of their human rights, German Jews protested and, in letters and cables to contacts abroad, called attention to the dangerous anti-Jewish agitation being carried on by the Nazi press.

The world heard the cries, but the world ignored them.

The tide of violence rose and, in the end, millions died. This horror could have been prevented had the world outside Germany acted.

Today, a similar scenario plays out in modern Germany. Attacks against a variety of ethnic and religious minorities abound. And among those who have been attacked and harassed the most are members of the Church of Scientology.

In recent weeks, we have run a series of public information advertisements in this newspaper to expose the unabating instances of bigotry and hatred to educate the American public about human rights violations in Germany today. At the same time, we hope to encourage those in Germany who can and must bring an end to the discrimination and intolerance.

The german response to the ads has been swift and retaliatory. Rather than put their house in order, those in power chose instead to react with hostility. In an uncontrolled outburst german federal minister of labor, Norbert Blum, called for a ban on the Church of Scientology. Thus he proved the very point of our information campaign.

At the same time, Member of Parliament Renate Rennebach demanded that Scientologist be put under "surveillance" due to the "serious damage to the reputation of the country (Germany) abroad, [caused by an] advertising campaign in influential American newspapers." Rennebach managed to repeat, almost verbatim, the rhetoric used by the Nazis -- they, too, labeled anyone who resisted their reign of terror "enemies of the German people."

These officials seem oblivious to the fact that a democratic government should not only be measured by its actions and utterances, but offer protection to majorities and minorities alike.

Though German officials are unwilling to admit the need for change, the rest of the world has expressed different sentiments. Calls and letters from Americans expressing concern have poured in unabated since the first ad ran in mid-September. Religious, ethnic and human rights groups have joined the numerous individuals who offered their support.

The President of the New York based Federation of Turkish American Associations, Inc. said in a written statement that he sent to the media:

"The killing of minorities and mainly the Turks by ruthless neo-Nazi groups is one the rise again.... We join the International Association of Scientologist in urging Chancellor Helmut Kohl to take strong and effective steps to stop hatred and discrimination against all religious and ethnic minorities in Germany." The Chairman of the Ga Adangbe Traditional Council of U.S., Inc., stated in an open letter to the press:

"Today neo-Nazism is finding no real resistance in Germany, and Africans are a major target. A group which works for the betterment and rights of African people, urge you to force Germany to end their support for racist acts in their country."

Concerned individuals and groups who seek to remedy the human rights abuses in Germany have joined forces to form a coalition called German Human Rights Alert, a group of ethnic, religious and human rights groups and academics. Its purpose is to bring to light abuses in Germany to effect the cessation of religious and ethnic apartheid in Germany.

Germany's present bears to chilling a resemblance to its past. In the 1930s and 1940s, the world closed its eyes while the climate was set for the Holocaust. The cables and letters told the story, yet no one listened. And no one acted.

Deprogramming, the illegal, often violent means of forcing a person to renounce their chosen beliefs has met with increasing criminal prosecution in recent years. At least a dozen deprogammers have faced criminal charges over these violent religious kidnappings in the past 10 years.

Jason Scott's ordeal began when his mother, Kathy Tonkin, was referred to a deprogrammer by the Cult Awareness Network, a group that promotes intolerance and hatred of both religious and secular organizations, through its association with deprogrammers and other hate groups. CAN deprogrammer and convicted jewel thief Rick Ross, for a fee, orchestrated the kidnapping and attempted deprogramming of Scott.

Scott filed suit in January, 1994, represented by attorney and Scientologist Kendrick Moxon.

On October 15, 1995 the Chicago Tribune reported on a $4.8 million jury award against an ex-con and his accomplices, the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), for conspiring to deprive Jason Scott, a member of the United Pentecostal Church, of his civil rights. This was the largest single award for a deprogramming victim in U.S. history. Scott was abducted and held for five days while a team of deprogrammers attempted to get him to renounce his religious beliefs. As told by the Tribune:

"On Jan. 18, 1991, three men grabbed Jason Scott of suburban Bellevue, handcuffed him, bound his legs with a nylon strap and, when he began to scream and bite, sealed his mouth with duct tape.

"They threw Scott, then 18, into the back of a van and drove to a beachhouse or the Pacific Ocean, where they kept him for five days in a bedroom with nylon webbing across the windows and guards at the room's two doors."

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