Scientologists call for EU inquiry into ‘witch hunt’


The Church of Scientology is to ask the Council of Europe to investigate what it claims is "manipulation" of France's justice system to destroy religious minorities.

The religious organisation claims they are the victim of a "witch hunt".

A Church of Scientology demonstration outside a Marseilles court in 1999 where seven members were tried on fraud charges. The banner reads ‘Scientology in France for 40 years, a new religion will always be here’. Photo: Reuters

"The group has organised hearings throughout France since the 1996 publication of an official blacklist of 172 religious minorities. On Thursday the Church of Scientology also filed a complaint with the United Nations Commission for Human Rights in Geneva claiming there is an official "hate campaign" against its members in France, numbering around 10,000 people.

The complaint described 18 separate incidents of alleged persecution of Scientologists, ranging from an attempt to bomb the Church of Scientology in Angers, to the rejection of a young girl's request to join the Girl Scouts on the grounds that her parents were Scientologists.

Another case cited in the 25-page document cited the humiliation of a teacher in Paris who lost her job because of false reports circulated by French state anti-cult body MILS.

The Los Angeles-based group said the cases were part of a concerted "McCarthy-like campaign," of false propaganda and intolerance toward minority religions by the French agency, which contravened its members' human rights.

The Church of Scientology was founded in the United States in 1954 by late science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and counts several US celebrities, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, among the ranks of its eight million followers.