New Scientology office revives German concern

15th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

15 January 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The opening by the Scientology movement of a seven- story capital-city office in Berlin triggered debate Sunday on whether to monitor the group as a possibly subversive organization. Police, who kept an eye on the opening ceremonies as neighbours took part in a protest demonstration, said later they counted 1,500 Scientologists from Germany and abroad at the Saturday event, while the Church of Scientology said 5,000 guests had attended. German authorities have been suspiciou

15 January 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The opening by the Scientology movement of a seven- story capital-city office in Berlin triggered debate Sunday on whether to monitor the group as a possibly subversive organization.

Police, who kept an eye on the opening ceremonies as neighbours took part in a protest demonstration, said later they counted 1,500 Scientologists from Germany and abroad at the Saturday event, while the Church of Scientology said 5,000 guests had attended.

German authorities have been suspicious of the movement, which does not practise divine worship but promises its devotees mental relief and a world without insanity. Recruiters often hail passers-by with offers of free mental-health checkups.

Neighbours who worry that their children will be lured into the building waved "No Brainwashing" banners during the celebrations.

Ehrhart Koerting, interior minister of the city-state of Berlin, who has previously said he has no power to order state police to monitor Scientology, said he would review whether the legal position had changed. Other German states keep the group under surveillance.

Germany's Greens party said Sunday Koerting's previous stance was beyond reproach, since Scientology had won a constitutional court ruling in Berlin that it was too small to constitute a threat.

Critics charge that Scientology's therapists seek out psychologically weak devotees and manipulate them to obtain funds.

DPA

Subject: German news

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