Germany drops attempt to ban Scientology
POTSDAM, Germany (AP) — Germany is dropping its pursuit of a ban on Scientology after finding insufficient evidence of illegal activity, security officials said Friday. Domestic intelligence services will continue to monitor the group, officials said. The German branch of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology has been under observation by domestic intelligence services for more than a decade. Top security officials asked state governments in December to begin gathering information on whether they had sufficient grounds to seek a ban.
The Church of Scientology welcomed the ministers’ decision to stop seeking a ban as the “only one possible.”
“There never was a legal basis to open such proceedings,” said Sabine Weber, a spokeswoman for Scientology in Germany.
Scientology further called on officials to end the observation, and what it called “the discrimination and the harassment that go along with it.”
Germany has said it considers Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation’s constitution, calling it less a church than a business that uses coercion to take advantage of vulnerable people.
A report on extremism last charged that Scientology “seeks to limit or rescind basic and human rights, such as the right to develop one’s personality and the right to be treated equally.”