Scientology foes seek 'Mission: Impossible' boycott

Scottsdale progress Tribune/August 9, 1996
The Associated Press.

Frankfurt Germany -- A youth organization Thursday appealed for a boycott for Tom Cruise's movie Mission Impossible, because the American actor is a Scientologist.

The call came after a leading politician said German authorities should put the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology under observation as an extremist group.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government says the organization has aims that threaten democracy and is not a church but a business enterprise with some traits of organized crime.

A youth organization belonging to Kohl's party said its members would go to the movie theaters where the German-dubbed version of Mission: Impossible starts playing Thursday, and pass out fliers alleging "dangerous wheeling and dealing of the Scientology organization."

"The tactic of Scientology is to connect it with the notion of success," said Burkhard Remmers, head of the Christian Democratic Union Youth Organization in Lower Saxony state. "That is aided by the many US stars who go on publicity tours in Europe. But Scientology does not mean success."

When Cruise made a publicity tour in Germany last month to promote the movie, he refused to talk about his religious beliefs.

"I'm a Scientologist, but that's an entirely personal matter," he said when the subject was raised at a news conference in Hamburg, where the city found an anti-Scientology information office.

Franz Riedl, a spokesman at Scientology's German headquarters in Hamburg, said the boycott call was "a rebellion of midgets" and part of politicians' attempts "to exploit Scientology's fame for their own careers."

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