Church of Scientology fails to obtain registration in Kazakhstan (1/2)
(in Russian with English subtitles)
KTK television news report, November 15, 2012 (in Russian)
Transcript of the video subtitles:
The Church of Scientology in Kazakhstan and hundreds of its followers now find themselves outside the law. The disciples of L. Ron Hubbard failed to secure re-registration, so this nominally religious association must wind down its activities in Kazakhstan.
The "black list" of the Kazakhstan Agency for Religious Affairs now also includes a number of other similar organizations. Yevgeniya Bodrova reports.
Reporter (Yevgeniya Bodrova):
New branches of the Church of Scientology are always opened with great fanfare. Its members are fond of staging all kinds of activities that attract attention. In Kazakhstan, all of this is now illegal. Scientologists are prohibited from conducting services and calling their association religious.
Marat Azilkhanov, Deputy chairman, Kazakhstan Agency for Religious Affairs
The religious experts who conducted the analysis concluded that this organization is not religious. In other words, it is not recognized as a religion.
Experts found that what Scientologists do is anything but religious. The main goal of those who follow the teachings of founder L. Ron Hubbard is to sell as many books, services, and tickets to seminars as possible. Mr. Hubbard is even credited with the famous quote: "If you want to get rich, invent a new religion."
Yulia Denisenko, President, Association of Help Centers for Victims of Destructive Religious Movements (in Astana):
This is a plain marketing scheme. The focus is on selling a product, the sessions for the so-called "clearing" of "engrams" that are recorded in your head. Without these sessions, you cannot attain salvation, and the world will perish in a horrible catastrophe.
Meanwhile, the number of Hubbard's followers is growing worldwide, but so is the number of people who suffer because of his teachings. Victims speak of persons being literally turned into zombies. An Almaty woman, Nataliya, tried to pull her son out of this pseudo-church, but she was physically attacked.
Nataliya, Mother of a member of the Church of Scientology:
Two girls accompanied my son and brought him before me. My very own son didn't recognize me. I was shocked. He had glassy eyes. I was so upset that I sprang forward and slapped him in the face. That's when it started. There were five men in the room. They all rushed at me, one kicked me, one pulled my hair, ...
The Scientologists categorically disagree with the state agency's decision and insist that they must be allowed to continue their so-called missionary work.
Anastasia Minaeva, Director of Official Affairs, Church of Scientology of Almaty:
We have no intention to close. We intend to continue our activity as a religious association. There are people who practice Scientology, many of them. By all means, they want to continue to practice Scientology together.
But even after being denied re-registration, Scientologists still have a way to fully legally continue to operate in Kazakhstan, for example, by calling themselves a social organization instead of a religious one. The church already has many entities with this status in various regions.
When re-registration ended, the number of religious institutions in Kazakhstan had dropped by a third. The procedure applied to both traditional religious groups and non-traditional ones. Those that are funded from outside the country will now be especially carefully monitored and required to report all foreign income to taxation authorities.
Yevgeniya Bodrova, Mikhail Korchevsky, Nurbolat Kulmanov, Capital Bureau,KTK