Inaccuracies foundThe author lumps the Church of Scientology in with offshoots of Christianity. The Scientology religion is not an offshoot of any other faith. It is its own faith tradition and is, in fact, the only major world religion to emerge from the 20th century.
A recent opinion piece by Naresh Koirala (‘The scourge of cults’, TKP Online, May 12) contains inaccurate information about the Church of Scientology that I would like to correct for your readers.
The author lumps the Church of Scientology in with offshoots of Christianity. The Scientology religion is not an offshoot of any other faith. It is its own faith tradition and is, in fact, the only major world religion to emerge from the 20th century. If anything, its roots are in Eastern beliefs, such as Buddhism, whom we count as close cousins. Scientologists in Nepal are active in the Church’s humanitarian programmes and social initiatives in the fields of drug abuse prevention, mentoring, human rights education and disaster relief.
The author also misstates the status of the Church of Scientology in Europe, particularly in Germany and France. Churches of Scientology in Germany are registered as nonprofit idealistic associations, clearly stating their religious aims, and as such their formal legal status is no different from that of many other well-recognised religious communities, such as Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bahá’ís. Further, over the past three decades the German courts—in more than 50 decisions—have decided that the Church and its members enjoy the protection of freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 4 of the Basic Law (Constitution) of Germany.
In France, all religious communities carry out their activities in the form of associations under the Law of 1901 on Associations and/or under the Law of 1905 on Separation of Church and State. The Church of Scientology is no exception and has duly registered churches under these laws, clearly stating their religious aims. As such, the Church’s formal legal status in France is no different from that of mainstream religious communities, including, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish.
As for Europe overall, on April 5, 2007, the European Court of Human Rights issued a unanimous landmark decision in favour of the Scientology religion, upholding the religious freedom of Scientologists and their religious associations throughout the 47 nations that have signed and ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by the Council of Europe in 1950.
Karin Pouw, via email.