FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Karin Pouw

(323) 960-3500

October 28, 1997


STATEMENT BY THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

German government continues its propaganda campaign

International conference calls for Bill of Rights for Germany


      As a conference of 30 scholars and religious leaders from all over the world call for a Bill of Rights to protect religious freedom in Germany, the German Government is attempting to undermine the religious freedom demonstration in Berlin yesterday by use of intelligence and propaganda.

      First, the government pressured several important vendors and service providers to breach their contracts with march organizers. In the few days leading up to the event, organizers Freedom for Religions in Germany (FRG) found themselves without hotel reservations, generator power for outside rally and concert, and even transport services. Joerg Schoenbohm, Berlin Interior Minister, announced the government’s strategy for the march - in short, attempt to make nothing of it. While his intelligence services were busily sabotaging covertly Scientology’s every move, he was predicting there would be nowhere near the 10,000 estimated marchers.

      In their desperation, German saboteurs even sent out a fake press release two days before the march on the organizers’ letterhead announcing the march had been cancelled.

      Despite the obstacles thrown up by the government, well over 10,000 marchers appeared, an estimate made by veteran independent observers from the NAACP. Government controlled media outlets falsely reported the number of marchers, in some cases by a factor of 1/10th, in order to make Schoenbohm’s prediction come true.

      This is just a continuation of the government’s propaganda machine. The German government will stop at nothing to stifle free speech, independent thought and the right to peacefully assemble.

      Before the march, we confirmed that at least 7,800 Scientology parishioners from around the world had paid in full for transport to Berlin. The marchers stretched across an 8-lane boulevard and the rear was 3/4 of a mile behind the front line. Berlin police reported to the Associated Press that they estimated the demonstrators to number at least 6,000.

      The 7,800 Scientologists we know paid to travel to Berlin does not even include all the German Scientologists who traveled on their own and Muslims, Baptists, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Hindus, and Shintos who attended.

      Today’s interfaith religious freedom conference, entitled “Europe: The Danger of Intolerance” has issued a proclamation calling for an international research team to be assembled to “identify specific persons who have a vendetta against minority religions in Germany” and for the German President to issue an executive order calling for religious tolerance. We fully support that call to end religious discrimination and bring about equal rights for all religions in Germany.



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