Germany's federal and state interior ministers have declared the Church of Scientology unconstitutional, clearing the way for a possible ban.
The ministers have asked Germany's domestic intelligence agency to examine whether the Church's legal status as an association could be challenged.
Scientology is not recognized as a religion in Germany.
So if a non-religious organization has parasitic and problematic aspects it can be banned. But if the members of a large religious organization held similar views and engaged in similar behaviors because of their beliefs about the supernatural then the German government would show more tolerance for it .
This exaltation of supernatural belief over this world origin belief is an enormous mistake. It empowers any group that wants to engage in unacceptable behavior. Do it in the name of God and suddenly the rules change. The original motive for it (to avoid any more religious wars among European peoples) doesn't even make sense. Islamic Jihadists aren't going to treat us better just because we tolerate Islam. They'll take it as a sign of weakness on our part and up their demands.
"Scientology works on the basis of massive repression, like a totalitarian organisation which wants to break the will of the people, which is precisely why we have to fight it," Ralf Stegner, interior minister of Schleswig-Holstein, said after yesterday's meeting.
What does Ralf think about Islam? I'd be curious to know.
Unlike these German security officials Ayaan Hirsi Ali knows real repression when she sees it:
"The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day." (Koran 24:2)
Absurd and parasitic Scientology is pretty mild stuff as compared to repressive Islam. Hirsi Ali recounts recent episodes of Muslim repression such as the Saudi case where a raped woman was sentenced to a couple of hundred lashes for being in the company of a man without her family around and the British school teacher in Sudan arrested and nearly whipped for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Mohammad". Hirsi Ali sees these episodes as stemming from the core nature of Islam.
It is often said that Islam has been "hijacked" by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Muslims are said to be moderates.
But where are the moderates? Where are the Muslim voices raised over the terrible injustice of incidents like these? How many Muslims are willing to stand up and say, in the case of the girl from Qatif, that this manner of justice is appalling, brutal and bigoted - and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, and how long ago it was said, this should no longer be done?
Usually, Muslim groups like the Organization of the Islamic Conference are quick to defend any affront to the image of Islam. The organization, which represents 57 Muslim states, sent four ambassadors to the leader of my political party in the Netherlands asking him to expel me from Parliament after I gave a newspaper interview in 2003 noting that by Western standards some of the Prophet Muhammad's behavior would be unconscionable. A few years later, Muslim ambassadors to Denmark protested the cartoons of Muhammad and demanded that their perpetrators be prosecuted.
But while the incidents in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and India have done more to damage the image of Islamic justice than a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the organizations that lined up to protest the hideous Danish offense to Islam are quiet now.
Imagine the German government banning Islam because it is repressive. If repressiveness is the standard that should trip illegalization then Islam crossed that line a long time ago.
In May last year a national poll was published in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allegmaine which indicated that attitudes towards Islam had worsened in the two years since 2004. 91% of respondents thought that Islam oppressed women (in 2004, the amount was 85%). 83% of Germans thought Islam was dominated by fanaticism (in 2004, the figure was 75%). 71% of Germans questioned felt Islam was intolerant, compared to 66% in 2004. 56% thought the "Clash of Civilisations" had already started. In 2004, 46% believed it had started.
The German survey also asked if strict limits should be imposed upon Islam in Germany, and nearly half (40%) agreed. Germans were asked if building of mosques should be forbidden in their nation while some Islamic states refused permission for churches to be built. Again, more than half (56%) agreed. More than half (61%) of the respondents agreed that there would perpetually be "major conflict between both faiths". The pollsters concluded: "If one looks at this from a pessimistic viewpoint it could be seen as the start of a downward spiral toward conflict...The clash of civilizations has already begun in the minds of citizens."
The argument is nothing new; in fact the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution has watched the group for years because of its recruitment practices. The federal government worries that Scientology, as a foreign organization, wants to win over adherents and influence German politics. "There is substantial evidence that the Scientology organization is involved in activities directed against the free democratic order," the agency has written in official reports.
Islam is winning adherents by conversion and by reproduction. Muslims have more babies than Germans do. The Germans would be lucky if their biggest problem was Scientology. But it is not.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 December 08 09:18 PM Cultural Wars Western|