Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Responding to a request of the chairman of the German Minister of Interior Conference, the interior affairs chief of the State of Saxony, Mr. Albrecht Buttolo, told the Associated Press (AP) today that he sees hardly any chance to ban the German Church of Scientology. His statement adds to heavy critique by the extremism expert of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Kristina Köhler, as well as speakers of all other Federal Parliament parties, who stated that it would not be a governmental task to ban a group like the Church of Scientology. The Berlin government expert Ulrich Battis added that a religious community like Scientology is almost impossible to ban.
The organization has been under investigation by the German government for over a decade by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution. A spokesperson of the Office stated recently that a ban of the organization would be "not realistic" at the moment and that there isn't enough evidence to support freezing its activities.
As German domestic security services prepared for a December 7 meeting, they found that the organization does operate in ways that may be perceived as hostile to the German constitution, but that at present the Church of Scientology has failed to successfully infiltrate German society; membership has stagnated. Investigators will initiate more intense surveillance through the Autumn of 2008 before deciding on whether to take further action.
A speaker of the Federal Ministry of Interior, senior agency of the Office for Protection of the Constitution, stated that the public request for a ban was organized by some State Ministers of Interior as a "warning shot" for Scientology. The Church of Scientology had been increasing its public activities in 2006 and has opened new 41,000 square foot headquarters in the German capital Berlin in 2007. Also, in November 2007 well-known Scientologist Tom Cruise was awarded the German media prize "Bambi", for courage in taking on the subject of German Resistance in the Third Reich in his newest movie Valkyrie. Cruise had been under public attack by the Federal Government first and refused permits for filming at historical sites. Later the Government dropped its concerns and decided to allow him to shoot scenes at the requested locations.
== Sources ==
Associated Press. "Kaum Chancen für Scientology-Verbot (Hardly chances for a Scientology ban)" — Net Tribune, January 1, 2008
dsl/spiegel/ap. "Lack of evidence: Agencies Warn Scientology Ban Doomed to Fail" — SPIEGEL Magazine, December 10, 2007
Friederike von Tiesenhausen. "Keine Märtyrerrolle für Scientology" — Financial Times Deutschland, December 10, 2007
Till-R. Stoldt. "Scientology-Verbot wird schwierig" — Die Welt am Sonntag, December 9, 2007
cro. "U-Turn by German Government: Berlin Lets Cruise Shoot Movie Scenes in Defense Ministry" — SPIEGEL Magazine, September 14, 2007