Belgium refuses to recognize "Church of Scientology" as religion

IRNA, Brussels/July 21, 2005

The Belgian government has refused to recognise the Church of Scientology as an official religion.

Belgian Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx declined to discuss the matter with the group, which she described as a sect, local radio RV1 reported.

Belgium's six recognised religions receive state subsidies from the Ministry of Justice and include Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Anglicanism, Protestantism and Greek Orthodox.

The Buddhists and the Armenian Orthodox Church also applied for official recognition and received a far more positive response; the Armenian Orthodox Church will soon begin receiving subsidies while the Buddhists are still in discussion, said the radio.

In Belgium, Church of Scientology is already involved in a fraud investigation .

A person called Ron Hubbard founded the Scientology religion in Los Angeles, US, in 1954 with the aim, as he claimed, to "create a world without insanity, without criminals and without war."

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