Speaking passionately last week at the European Parliament, Ivan Arjona, Scientology’s representative to European institutions, condemned worsening religious discrimination targeting his faith community specifically in Germany. He spoke at a conference bringing together Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Baha’is, Hindus and other minority faith leaders to discuss protecting their rights.
The event, titled “Fundamental Rights of Religious and Spiritual Minorities in the EU,” was hosted by French MEP Maxette Pirbakas and it convened leaders of diverse belief groups to share perspectives on challenges facing their communities across Europe.
In his hard-hitting remarks, Arjona revealed that in Germany, specifically in Bavaria, “to access a public job, [they] will ask you to sign a resignation from your religion.” Holding up documents, he showed that companies bidding on state contracts “need to sign a paper that [they] are not a Scientologist.”, even to clean bedsheets of hospitals or design city gardens. Already this year over 350 such discriminatory tenders have appeared in the EU transparency tenders website, as shown by Arjona at this meeting in the European Parliament.
He acknowledged that unlike current violent attacks against Jews and Muslims in Europe, present-day Scientologists do not face physical attacks, however, Arjona insisted that discriminating against any peaceful faith group contradicts EU principles of tolerance. “You would believe that after its history, a country like Germany, would not do this again, to ask people to resign from their religion… would you?” he asked pointedly.
In additional evidence of attempts to discourage interfaith solidarity, Arjona shared an example of a Jewish woman in Germany who runs a holocaust travelling exhibit, facing funding cuts simply for speaking at a Scientology event about shared values. Such retaliation for engagement between religions works against social cohesion, he warned, and the expecting living together in peace of citizens and religions.
Describing his own group’s efforts to assist Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other communities during the pandemic, Arjona explains that the Church of Scientology’s recognition as a religious community keeps growing including the latest recognition in Greece as a place of worship and in the Netherlands as a religious corporation of Public Benefit. He closed by praising examples of different religions supporting each other. “I believe we should all do the most possible efforts when state discrimination happens – stand by and say, you don’t discriminate me, you don’t discriminate them,” he appealed. Arjona called for a united stand against all policies dividing faith groups.