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Carrying forward its commitment to religious freedom, the Church of Scientology has contributed towards bringing about peace in the war-torn former nation of Yugoslavia. Scientologists with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights investigated and broadly exposed the fact that leading psychiatrists had stirred up religious and ethnic hatreds in the area and fomented the “ethnic cleansing” which had victimized religious minorities and bathed the Balkans in blood. They also publicized that these psychiatrists who orchestrated the violence were operating off an agenda similar to the “racial hygiene” of Nazi psychiatrists during World War II. One of the psychiatrists exposed was Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was subsequently indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. CCHR provided the Tribunal with extensive documentation to support the charges against Karadzic.

The Church has also been effective in exposing the criminal activities of antireligious hate groups such as the Cult Awareness Network (CAN) in the United States and similar movements in Europe. It exposed not only CAN’s brutal tactics during its “deprograming” activities but its coercive recruiting and referral techniques and its financial motivations. CAN had been involved in violent “deprogramings” of members of many religions, including Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Baptists, Buddhists and others.

In 1996, CAN declared bankruptcy and went into liquidation after losing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit to a man affiliated with a Christian religion who had been assaulted by a CAN deprogramer. In 1997, CAN was revived by a new, multifaith board of directors, headed by a Baptist minister and Bible college professor. Restored to its original stated purpose – “To educate the public on religious rights, freedoms and responsibilities” —CAN now works with religious groups of all faiths to foster understanding and tolerance.

The work of Scientologists on behalf of religious freedom is nondenominational; it is carried out with the view that liberty of religious belief and practice is the cornerstone of freedom itself, and that when one religion is infringed upon, the rights of all men are endangered.


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