Berlin - Sect experts have warned of increased activity by the Scientology organization in Germany. The group has also been gaining footholds in the new federal states, said Ursula Caberta y Diaz, Director of the Work Group on Scientology at the Hamburg Interior agency. Primarily in Sachsen, there is strong activities by the U.S. organization, which is trying to make contacts in companies and government agencies. Zwickau is regarded as one of its strongholds in Germany. There are also indications of Scientology activity from Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In the old German states, the organization is chiefly active in Hamburg, Bavaria and Nordrhein- Westphalia.
Caberta referred to Scientology's growing influence on the U.S. government. Since President Bill Clinton took office, the organization has frequently been supported by American agencies. In Hamburg, she said, there were open connections between the Scientology foreign office and the General Consulate. At the end of 1998 in Berlin, the U.S. Embassy financed a concert for jazz pianist Chick Corea, who is a professed Scientologist. The support for Scientology by U.S. agencies has taken on frightening proportions. Canadian Scientology expert Steven Kent also stated that the U.S. government was backing Scientology because the organization is acknowledged in the USA as a church, and it can therefore invoke religious freedom. The U.S. government is also connecting commercial interests with support for Scientology in foreign countries. For instance, the USA protested a boycott against the film "Mission Impossible" with U.S. film actor Tom Cruise, who also professes to be a Scientologist.
The sect commissioner for the SPD federal assembly faction, Renate Rennebach, said that the activities of Scientology are a good example of why consumer rights must be protected on the so-called psycho-market. Besides Scientology, similarly dubious groups are often behind many seminars given to strengthen personality. She said that consumers must have the right to withdraw from psycho-seminars. Rennebach announced that a piece of legislation proposed by the State of Hamburg in the past legislative period will be revamped.