A.C.T. Home For Controversial Sect

The Canberra Times/March 2, 1997

By Norman Abjorensen

A Japanese-based religious sect, under investigation in a number of countries, has been given a hectare of prime land in Canberra for a national headquarters. Documents providing for the use of the land in Holder were signed with the Sukyo Mahikari organisation in December, according to ACT government officials. An official announcement is to be made next weekend at a national gathering of sect members in Canberra.

Officials involved in the process were not aware of any investigations into the activities of Sukyo Mahikari, according to sources. A parliamentary commission in Belgium is examining the activities of the sect there, and a number of other European countries have also begun scrutinising it. In Singapore, officials are reviewing the sect's tax status as a charity in view of the funds being channelled offshore.

The head of Sukyo Mahikari in Australia, Dr Andris Tebecis, who has just returned from a visit to South Africa where, he says, the sect has the blessing of the President, Nelson Mandela, says he is surprised at allegations levelled against it by former members. Dr Tebecis said there seemed to be a vendetta against the organisation. "We have a lot of people prominent in public life as members, and I am a member of Rotary," he said. Dr Tebecis said he could not understand why former members such as his one-time number two, Garry Greenwood, a former Canberra photographer, could claim that the organisation was anti-Semitic.

Mr Greenwood has published a widely circulated book on the Internet, All the Emperor's Men, alleging it is a sinister and racist organisation whose financial dealings are highly questionable. "It is nonsense to claim that our teachings are based on the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Dr Tebecis said. "I am certain that most of our members would never have heard of them." Dr Tebecis said he was most reluctant to get into a slanging match with his organisation's critics, but he did want to emphasise that Sukyo Mahikari stood for peace and unity of religious thought, not division. "I don't think it is possible to accuse us of being anti-Semitic as we have many Jews among our members, even a rabbi from Melbourne. "We are compatible with all religions and I think the composition of our membership bears that out," he said.

This article obtained from Mahikari Under investigation In Europe

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