Scientologists Fight French Religious Intolerance

Panafrican News Agency, 23 October 2000

Cape Town, South Africa—Scientologists, including a number of South Africans, Monday reacted angrily to the French Government's perceived religious intolerance.

France has blacklisted 173 religions and is seeking to pass a bill that will look to dissolve sects that are considered undesirable. The list includes Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists and Seventh-Day Adventists.

This bill is expected to come before the French Senate at the end of October. Scientologists as well as an array of other religious denominations in Paris Monday held a huge march and rally in protest of this bill.

A number of South African Scientologists who are outraged at the bill flew to France to lend their voices to the protest.

The International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives early October passed unanimously a strong1y-worded resolution calling on President Bill Clinton to raise the issue of violations of religious liberty with the leaders of France, Germany, Austria and Belgium.

The Church of Scientology was recognised as a religion in South Africa in March when 12 of its ministers were granted the right to perform legal marriages.