Scientologists file complaint against Belgium

Reuters, November 10, 1999

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Church of Scientology said Tuesday it had filed a complaint with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) against Belgium for alleged discrimination against religious minorities.

The complaint, filed ahead of an OSCE security conference in Istanbul next week, follows a raid last month by Belgian police on 25 offices and homes of Scientology members throughout the country.

Belgian court officials said then the raids were part of an investigation into alleged racketeering and fraud.

The Church of Scientology, however, has said the raids were tantamount to religious persecution.

"Recent events in Belgium have affected a number of religious minorities and culminated last month in the completely disproportionate actions taken against my own church and this office," Martin Weightman, director of the Church of Scientology's European Human Rights Office, told Reuters.

"It occurred one week after I addressed the OSCE 1999 yearly Review Conference exposing France for its discriminatory treatment of minorities. Belgium is next in line," Weightman said.

Weightman said there was intolerance in both Belgium and France, where a separate fraud probe into the Church of Scientology has also been held.

"We strongly hope Belgium is going to be condemned," Weightman said.

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