In Belgium, where the cult recently opened lavish new European headquarters, Scientology only has a few members. The Belgian parliament itself labeled it a secte or cult in 1997. But it has been supported by several notable people, in particular a leading figure in the Flemish nationalist movement, Hugo Coveliers. He was among the speakers at the no-expenses-spared inauguration on 23 January 2010.
Among the others who spoke in support of Scientology were the deputy director of religious affairs of the Spanish ministry of Justice (in Spain Scientology was recently recognised as a religion), a member of the Hungarian parliamentary commission on drugs, who is responsible for the national anti-drug campaign, a professor of the University of Lille (in France), who specialises in international relations, and two Belgians: Professor Christopher Vonck, rector of the faculty of comparative religions at the University of Antwerp (in Flanders), and Hugo Coveliers.
In the small world of Flemish politics Coveliers counts as an important person. His entire career starting in 1954 has been within the extreme right (neo-Nazi, racist) parties of Flanders, formerly known as the Vlaamse Blok. In January he was still a Senator representing the Vlaamse Belang, the new name of the party of the Flemish extreme right but was not re-elected at the last elections on 13 June 2010 “no doubt victim of a general reaction against the extreme right.” [And perhaps also victim of a general reaction against Scientology. In France, Germany and even in the US it is no longer smart for politicians to be associated with the cult.]
Despite his own extreme racist and elistist beliefs, he complimented the CoS on their stand: “What has particularly impressed me is the way in which you help people, without making any distinctions about their origins.” His hosts did not find it necessary to define the Senator’s exact political position – to coin a phrase, they did not want to drown the fish!
Links between the extreme right in Belgium and Scientology are not new. In 2004 the Jeune Alliance Nationale, the youth wing of the New Belgian Front (FNB), and Marguerite Bastien, founder of the FNB, has had contacts with the cult since 1997. John Demol, another member of Vlaams Belang, even appeared in a Narconon publicity film and was unmasked by Anonymous. The VB spokesman said: “Whether the war against drugs is carried on by Scientology or some other organisation, what counts is the message.” Machiavelli also argued that the end could justify the means.
The same source confirms that several legal cases against Scientology should soon open in Belgium, where Scientology is clearly understood to be a cult.
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