FECRIS - MASTERS OF DISCRIMINATION
Documented abuse case histories:
Below is a documentation about discrimination related to FECRIS groups/members. The examples describes a wide spectrum of discrimination, from smaller harassing acts, such as spreading rumors about a religious group to a landlord and thereby getting event-places canceled, up to very severe violent crimes, such as kidnapping.
FECRIS through its member groups has discriminated numerous religious groups over the years. The discrimination normally follows a pattern of first spreading sensationalized, twisted and often false information about a certain group and at the same time classify the group derogatorily as a "sect", or even as a "destructive sect". These derogatory classifications has then from time to time been picked up by some media who uses these sweeping generalized classifications to create a "frightening" headline and story around it. There are numerous case-histories documenting the damaging consequences this pattern of discrimination has had for innocent individuals who belongs to groups who never has been involved in anything criminal despite what some sensationalized headlines say about them.
Below are some examples of such discrimination which has been instigated by FECRIS member groups.
FECRIS member groups: UNADFI/ADFI (Paris), CCMM (Paris)
(Lille) Jean-Francois is a member of the Unification Church since 25 years. He has been actively harassed by members from ADFI who have initiated many actions against him, for example by creating very negative media-reports about him, where parts of what he had said have been cut out so that an unfavorable impression was given when he show was aired. Many times he also have booked room for meetings which have been canceled after the owner of the room have been pressured from different persons. The most serious hostilities he and his group have been exposed to, is however two bomb attacks, no one could be taken for these deeds, but it is more than likely that they have a connection to the harassing media-campaigns directed towards his group.
(Marseilles) Alain is a radio host, he does not belong to any spiritual movement himself. In 1996 he wanted to do a radio program where also representatives of Scientology should get the chance to talk, not only representatives from the anti-religious groups ADFI and CCMM. This was refused by the radio-director, Alain however in a later show said himself that the picture he had gotten while meeting individual Scientologists was positive and did not at all fit into the negative picture presented by anti-cultists. Two days after the show, Alain was fired on the spot from the radio-station.
FECRIS-member group: SADK (Dudingen), ASDFI (Lausanne)
(Bern) The Hare Krishna member Sandro Passera was in March 1989 kidnapped by four men to be deprogrammed. The deprogramming had been coordinated with the parents of Sandro, who both were SADK-members. Leading deprogrammer was an Englishman called Martin Faiers, member of the English FECRIS-member "FAIR". The four deprogrammers took Sandro to an isolated holiday home. As Sandro had resisted the kidnapping, he had been handcuffed and sprayed with narcotic gas. Two days later, after the Hare Krishna community had alerted the police on the situation, the police stormed the house and freed Sandro. The four deprogrammers were arrested, the leading deprogrammer, Martin Faier, later got a 6 months prison sentence with probation, the two parents got 10 months prison sentence with probation. In connection to the court-hearing, Martin Rossi, a representative of SADK, shouted into the courtroom "We support and approve of the deed of Sandros parents".
FECRIS-member: FRI (Stockholm)
(Falkenberg) Sara Gustafsson is a member of a small Christian group called the bridge-builders. In 1988 when she was coming out from her work-place in Gothenburg, she was taken away to be deprogrammed. She was kept for 13 days against her will, always monitored and continuously pushed to change her belief. The main deprogrammer was FRI-member Eva Pehrsson (Pohl), who later got sentenced for this crime by Swedish court.
(Stockholm) Jakob Kristensen is a Swedish Hare Krishna member who in 1987 was exposed for a humiliating deprogramming attempt by three deprogrammers who worked together with his father, FECRIS/FRI-member Waldemar Kristensen. Jakob was taken to a room where the windows were closed. It was clarified that he would be kept there until he was cooperative. He was forced to sit on a wooden chair for 15 hours and was not allowed to sleep. When he needed to go to the bathroom, he was only allowed to do so with the door open. He was being pressured to do things against his religious belief like eating meat, smoke and drink. After being kept under this pressure for two weeks, Jakob finally managed to escape from this terrible situation and he filed a police complaint.
FECRIS has in their application to become an NGO amongst other things pointed out that they have "ethical principles" which includes "Respect of religious, philosophical and political pluralism". The above mentioned deprogramming-case must by any neutral observer be considered as a heavy violation against these ethical principles. Consequently, if these principles are not only empty words, it could be expected (and demanded) that a member association of FECRIS (FRI in this case) would act against a member of their group, who so clearly violated these principles in the above case.
So what did actually happen afterward in this case? Instead of correcting the member (Waldemar Kristensen) who had done this violation, he was instead promoted to chairman of FRI.
This gives a clear picture that FECRIS own statements about "ethical principles" is not trustworthy.
Instead of correcting the person involved, he is basically encouraged by getting the top-position of the organization! That FRI instead should have corrected him, become even more obvious in 1997 when a new similar incident happened. Waldemar had a person from a smaller Christian group in his home to "rehabilitate" him. In connection to a disagreement, suddenly Waldemar starts attacking the Christian person violently with an axe, the attacked person manages to lock himself in in a separate room, and thereby block the way for Waldemar, and finally the police is called to the place. To be noticed is that
Waldemar at the time of this attack was still the chairman of the Swedish FECRIS-member FRI.
FECRIS-members: AGPF (Bonn), EGMR (Hannover/Neidloh), Sektenberatung (Bremen) Sekten-info (Essen)
(Hanover) In 1995 a hate-campaign was initiated against a 55 year old teacher, Mrs Enzenberger, in Hanover because she was classified as a sect-member (Scientologist). An EGMR/AGPF-member called Knackstedt held a very agitative speech against Scientology and managed to create a hysterical atmosphere which among other things led to demonstrations in the schoolyard against the teacher and numerous negative media reports about her. This all happened despite the fact that Mrs Enzenberger actually was an appreciated teacher, a fact confirmed by both students and teacher colleagues. However, due to the hysteria created by the German FECRIS-representative Knackstedt around this case, Mrs Enzenberger is taken off from her job as a teacher.
The discriminatory attitudes and actions of EGMR has also been proved from a yearly report from mid 80-ies where they describe how they try to sabotage for religious minorities by going to landlords and act to get them to cancel contracts for religious groups. EGMR writes that "they are alert when public buildings and schools are rented to events for destructive sects". "We try to prevent such events by informing the often unsuspecting landlords."
In a final judgment on 19th December 2001 by the Munich State Court, Ms. Heide-Marie Cammans, founder of Sect-info Essen, German FECRIS group was ordered to stop telling or spreading a wide variety of falsehoods about Takar Singh (an Eastern religious group) or else she would be fined up to 500,000 DM or if not paid, she would be sentenced to jail for up to 6 months. These included such allegations as the person being a criminal, using torture on children and rape. The book they were distributing about that group was also forbidden to be sold. The name of the book was "The new prophets" (German: Die Neuen Heilsbringer, Auswege oder Wege ins Aus?) Case Nr. Az: 908736/99 Munich I State court, 9 civil chamber (German: Landgericht Munchen I).
If the "ethical principles" of FECRIS would be anything more than just empty words, one would expect a correction and even condemning of Cammans for having publicly spread such humiliating lies about a group. But again, no correction whatsoever could be noticed from FECRIS, instead leading FECRIS-members such as Friedrich Griess (vice President) and Ingo Heinemann (leader of AGPF) on their Internet-homepages still today promotes this book "The new prophets" despite the court-order against it. (internet-ref: griess.st1.at/gsk/gsklit.htm, www.agpf.de/buecher.htm#Allgemeine%20Literatur
Another member-group of AGPF, Forum Critical Psychology, has a similar anti-religious attitude, which is clearly communicated directly on the first page of their homepage. There it is shown Christian, Islamic and Jewish symbols together with a Nazi-swastika, and they throw it all in the garbage (See attached picture). A leading member of this group, Colin Goldner, has also stated that he supports the idea of "zero-tolerance towards irrational elements" (Indicating religious ideas to be generally irrational, hardly a "respect for religious pluralism" which FECRIS so pompously claims they are standing for on their homepage).
Based on this and similar stories, authorities in Germany started to react, and in 1992 Germany's Federal Supreme Administrative court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the government to fund a group such as AGPF that is acting against religions. When AGPF was investigated in this question, it was found that three of seven member groups had left AGPF 1986 due to "the missing disapproval of deprogramming by the board of AGPF".
That AGPF and Sect-Info Essen deals with new religious movements in a way that cannot be considered objective or neutral was made clear in a decision by the German Federal Supreme Administrative Court on 27 March 1992, when the court decided that it would be against the law for the state to support by funding organizations such as AGPF and Sect-Info Essen. (The case was raised by the new religious OSHO-movement, Ref. Case Nr. 7C21-90LU66, see attached document).
Below are a few examples of how the court motivated their decision. "According to the findings of the administrative court of appeals the interested party (AGPF) deals with the so-called new religious movements (among which is the Osho movement) in a critical or even invalidating way." (page 13 of decision)
"The state cannot disconnect from these legal obligations by asking for the help of some private association which makes use of freedom of opinion as per the constitution in a way which is close to slander. Thus the states' duty of being neutral in supporting as in this case as well as to prevent an arbitrary or disproportionate limitation of the basic right as per paragraph 4 is also leading to the necessity of a special legal authorization." (page 19 of decision)
(Bonn) The German FECRIS member AGPF, represented by its leading member Ingo Heinemann, board member of FECRIS, has publicly announced on the Internet that the criteria of "discrimination against religion" should be excluded from the national implementation of the European Directive on Equal Treatment in Employment (2000/43/EG, 2000/78/EG), in Germany as it could be "misused" (documentation on this can be seen on AGPFs homepage). AGPF tries to create the impression that "protection clauses" (slang-term: "sect-filter") are valid to be used by companies and promotes discriminatory measures. Certainly this leads to the conclusion that an anti discrimination law in alignment to EC Directive 2000/78/EC would be a "threat" for AGPF (as the promoter of such discrimination) and companies (as the clients of AGPF) following their "advises".
FECRIS-member: GSK (Wienna)
Below is what the Norway-based Christian group Smiths friends (also called the Norwegians) writes on their homepage (www.norweger.at) about the vice president and webmaster of FECRIS, Mr Friedrich Griess.
"For almost twenty years we, as a Christian community, have been faced with the fact that Mr. DI F. Griess is trying to drag our group through the mud by defamatory statements which are proved to be false. The statements of Mr. Griess about "Smiths friends" are in gross contradiction to the opinions of almost the entirety of experts! Mr. Griess is not an expert who works scientifically, no recognized specialist who informs the population about religious groups and possible dangers in a serious and factual-objective manner. Repeatedly he has been prohibited the dissemination of his untruths by court order, yet he has been unrestrictedly flooding public authorities, ideology offices, newspaper editorial offices and individuals in Austria and abroad with his "circular notices" and extensive omnibus volumes for years. Because of his false accusations Mr. Griess had to agree repeatedly during the course of several cases before the Vienna Commercial Court to refrain from his false statements about the "Norwegians", which will be fined otherwise."