Striving for a "new world"

Frankfurter Neue Presse, February 26, 2000

Frankfurt. The Scientology Organization was founded in 1954 by American science fiction author Ron Hubbard in the USA. Exact membership figures are not known. According to a statement by Herder Lexicon, the sect is supposed to have between eight and 25 million worldwide. In Germany, the self-proclaimed "church" has operated with an estimated 30,000 members since 1970. Centers are in Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt.

The hierarchically structured organization is viewed by critics as a profit-oriented enterprize which operates with dubious methods. The areas in which the Scientologists are active include real estate. The sect is under suspicion of following objectives hostile to the Constitution. There are indications that Scientology wants to access state and society in an absolutist manner. The organization works toward a "new world." Free "personality tests" are offered in street recruitment. Then an attempt is made to sell a program of courses. So-called "auditing" promises individual concepts for "happier people."

Numerous courts are involved with Scientology. According to one decision by the Berlin Federal Administrative Court, the association must report as a commercial business with an estimated sales of 150 million marks of books, courses and "electrometers." The Cassel Federal Labor decided that Scientology is a commercial business and not a church. In the USA, the IRS national tax agency granted Scientology the status of a religious denomination after years of dispute.

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