Germany moves to outlaw Scientology
Germany's top officials say they will seek to outlaw the U.S.-based Church of Scientology.
The announcement came Friday after a two-day conference of interior ministers of Germany's 16 states well as federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
Berlin Interior Minister Erhart Koerting, who presided over the two-day conference, told reporters that Scientology is an organization that is not compatible with the German constitution.
The government considers Scientology not a religion, he said,but a commercial enterprise that takes advantage of vulnerable people.
The ministers plan to ask Germany's domestic intelligence agency to begin preparing the necessary information to ban Scientology.
The agency has had Scientology under observation for a decade on allegations that it "threatens the peaceful democratic order" of the country.
Scientologists have long battled to end the surveillance, saying it is an abuse of their right to freedom of religion.
The U.S. State Department regularly criticizes Germany in its annual Human Rights Report for the monitoring practice.
During the summer, Germany initially refused to allow the producers of a movie starring Scientology follower Tom Cruise as Germany's most famous anti-Hitler plotter to film at the site where the man was executed, although it did not expressly state Scientology as its reason.