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Religion IN BRIEF

French Urge Nations to Stop Sects' Growth

February 12, 2000|Religion News Service

In a report issued Monday, the French government called on nations worldwide to stop the growth of religious sects, and criticized the United States for offering too much religious freedom to "cults."

"The confusion maintained across the Atlantic between religious freedom . . . and prevention, even repression, of punishable sectarian excesses does not make dialogue any easier," said the report, issued by the Interministerial Mission for the Fight Against Sects.

A U.S. State Department report last year questioned freedom of religion in several European countries, including France.

One focus of the U.S. report was the French government's view of the Church of Scientology. France does not recognize Scientology as a legitimate religion.

Monday's report identified 200 sects in France, singling out the Order of the Solar Temple as particularly dangerous. Solar Temple adherents were involved in three mass suicides in the mid-1990s.

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