Friday, October 30, 2009

France: Statement of the Church of Scientology

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27 Oct 2009: The Paris Court concluded today that the Church of Scientology can continue its religious activities in France. They could not ignore the large community of Scientologists who are happy to practice their religion.

Despite this, this whole heresy trial has been tantamount to a modern-day inquisition, religion on trial. We will of course contest it until correct justice has been carried out, and will take it all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if needed. As the Prosecutor pointed out in 2006 when requesting that the case be dismissed, there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. That the case nevertheless went to trial was simply the result of pressure, carefully orchestrated to poison the court.

Scientology is not going away and is expanding more than ever. We believe that no-one has the right to tell the people of France what to think and what to believe. We support the French Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. We believe that, in this case, the group MIVILUDES, set up to fight against religious minorities, and its president George Fenech, have been doing everything they can to destroy freedom, destroy peace and take away people’s rights. The international report on religious freedom by the US Department of State, recently issued, once again condemning religious discrimination in France, stated that “the discriminatory treatment against Jehovah Witnesses and Scientologists is still causing worry”.

Background information:

This case arises out of the five-month participation in 1998 by the main civil party in Scientology religious practices. These included the study of Scientology scriptures and the participation in spiritual counselling. A full refund of donations was given to the person concerned in November 1998, within weeks of their withdrawing their allegiance to the Church.

In 2006, the prosecutor recommended the case be dismissed because there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. Instead, the court succumbed to pressure from anti-religious extremists and turned it into a heresy trial in violation of the rights of the defendants under French law and under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The European Court of Human Rights has, on two recent occasions – ironically in Strasbourg, France – found that Churches of Scientology in Russia are entitled to the protection of religious freedom guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The prosecutor and the court yielded to pressure from anti-religious extremists in MIVILUDES. The President of MIVILUDES, Georges Fenech, has been condemned for election fraud. In February 2009, Mr. Fenech called on the government to initiate a so-called official “sect list” in France similar to the infamous list established by a Parliamentary Commission in 1995, the very same thing that the government stopped using four years ago because of the overwhelming prejudice it caused to the religious organizations on the list and its misuse by MIVILUDES officials to justify harassment and persecution of religious minorities. This is a man the government is permitting to shape its discriminatory policies against religious minorities and is the reason France is being condemned by international human rights organizations for religious discrimination and intolerance.

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954. Today there are more than 8,000 Scientology Churches, missions and groups in 165 countries. The Church sponsors the largest Human Rights education initiative in the world as well as the world’s largest non-governmental anti-drug programme. Scientology has expanded more in the last year than in the last five years combined and more in the last five years than in the last five decades combined.

We will continue to contest this until all defendants are given correct justice and acquitted.

For more information, contact:

Graeme Wilson on 01342 318 229 or press@scientology.org.uk
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anne Archer Hosts Sussex Charity Concert

(click on the images to see them full size)Marianne Rowell, Deputy Director of the L. Ron Hubbard Foundation with Anne Archer and Bob Mainstone
Photo by Thorsten Overgaard

Chick Corea jamming with Mark Isham
Photo by Thorsten Overgaard

Chick Corea, Hossam Ramzy and Mark Isham
Photo by Thorsten Overgaard

Soul and blues singer Mina Tank
Photo by Thorsten Overgaard

Jean-Philippe Ferrieux sparring with John Fordham of The Jive Aces
Photo by Thorsten Overgaard

Grand Finale

Last song: The whole line up singing "Stand by me"

Concert now in its 12th year, headlined by international Jazz icon Chick Corea

EAST GRINSTEAD, Sunday, October 18th: Academy Award nominated actress Anne Archer, presented cheques amounting to £50,000 to several different local charities on behalf of the L. Ron Hubbard Foundation and the Church of Scientology at the annual Gala Charity Concert at Saint Hill, East Grinstead.

Ms. Archer was the Master of Ceremonies, introducing each performer and also presenting the cheques on stage to the representatives of each charity, namely: the Sussex Air Ambulance; the Bluebell Steam Railway; East Grinstead charities the Town Museum, Furnihelp, and the East Grinstead Access Group for the elderly and disabled; Impact; and Crowborough charities the Town Mayor’s Charity Fund and the Community Hospital.

Bob Mainstone, representing the East Grinstead charities, said, "This donation will make a big difference to these charities in accomplishing their respective aims and is warmly appreciated."

More than 1,500 were in attendance to enjoy the concert and give their support, including Mayors, District Council Chairmen, Town Councillors, and community leaders from all over the South of England. Other guests flew in specially from all over Europe and as far away as the United States and Canada.

The event covered a wide spectrum of music including Chick Corea, jazz legend and 15-time Grammy Award Winner; Mark Isham, Grammy, Emmy and Clio Award Winning composer, who has scored over 100 films; Alexander Markov, internationally celebrated virtuoso solo violinist; David Pomeranz, songwriter and recording artist with 18 Gold and 22 Platinum records; Elena Roggero, the “Italian Queen of Jazz”; world-renown percussionist, Hossam Ramzy, and the UK’s top swing jive band – the Jive Aces.

Marianne Rowell, Deputy Director of the L. Ron Hubbard Foundation, said, "We, as the L. Ron Hubbard Foundation and the Church of Scientology, were delighted to give our support to these wonderful local charities tonight. This annual event is the highlight of our charity fundraising events and activities. Our warm thanks are due to all those who contributed."

Over the years the Saint Hill Gala Charity Concert has supported numerous charities, from the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and the RSPCA to the National Drug Prevention Alliance and the Bluebell Railway Trust. The concert follows the tradition that was started by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1960’s when he resided at Saint Hill Manor and supported many of the local charities.

The Gala Concert concluded a three-day jam-packed weekend of activities at the Church of Scientology with over 7,000 people from around the world, with conferences and seminars for parishioners and community leaders alike, encompassing the Church of Scientology’s social betterment programmes in the areas of human rights, drug education, common sense morals, and the volunteer ministry.

For more information, please contact:

Graeme Wilson
Public Affairs Director
Church of Scientology
Saint Hill Manor
East Grinstead
West Sussex
RH19 4JY

Phone: +44 (0)1342 318 229
E-mail: g.wilson@scientology.org.uk
Web: http://www.scientology.org.uk

In the media:
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Saint Hill Gala Charity Concert 2009: Outstanding!

(click on the images to see them full size)All the members of the nearly 2,000-strong audience I spoke to after the concert (that took place in an enormous and lavishly decorated marquee at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex) were blown away! It was an incredible evening, MC'ed by Hollywood actress, Anne Archer!

Chick Corea improvising alone

Chick Corea with Hossam Ramzy and Mark Isham

The Jive Aces: Vince Hurley goes headless
Photo by: Hy Money

The Jive Aces: high energy

The Jives Aces with Swing Xtreme

John Fordham and Ian Clarkson of The Jive Aces come up front

Alexander Markov

Mark Isham plays the James Bond theme tune

It's become somewhat of a tradition that the concert starts with a mellow trumpet piece by Academy Award-nominated trumpeter and film composer, Mark Isham. This year was no exception; and what an opening number it was, with Mark's version of the James Bond theme music.

Next up was the American multi-platinum award-winning singer, composer, lyricist, recording artist and Emmy Award nominee, David Pomeranz, whose professionalism and genuine emotion just poured out of him! His opening song, "I learned it all from you" was superb.

Next to take to the stage was award-winning soul and blues singer, Mina Tank who opened with a superb version of "La Bamba". She told me afterwards that it was the version from the film "August Rush". Her version of "I can't stand the rain" was also wonderful. The rain sound created by percussionist Hossam Ramzy was so real! The instrument looked like a tube about 3 feet long - anyone know what it's called?

Another outstanding performer to grace the stage was internationally celebrated violin virtuoso, Alexander Markov who I now know (thanks to Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and Vark) played Paganini's 24 Caprices Opus 1, No. 24 in A minor and No. 1 in E major and Vivaldi - Concerto No.2 In G Minor, Rv 315 'summer' - III Presto. He demonstrated pure mastery of his instrument with a spellbinding performance.

Gospel/blues singer and Christan preacher (Christians and Scientologists working together - nice!), Jesse Stevenson, got us tapping our feet again. He puts SO much feeling into everything he sings - I fear if he put in any more, he might explode! (It was Jesse plus choir - one member of which was my son, Harry - who closed the IAS Event on Friday with "Shoulder to Shoulder"). His "It's a man's world" was out of this world, then he gently slipped into Stevie Wonder's version of "For once in my life".

The Saint Hill Gala Charity Concert continues the tradition of supporting local and national committees and charities that L. Ron Hubbard began when he lived at Saint Hill Manor in the 1960s. So then came the cheque presentations and acceptance speeches of the five chosen charities, who were each awarded £10,000:
It is clear from the speeches that the £50,000 will go a long way and help these charities a great deal, and in the case of the Sussex Air Ambulance, even contribute towards saving many lives.

The Jive Aces then got us back into the swing (excuse the pun) with their very silly yet highly professional and extremely energetic performance. Two of their numbers were accompanied by amazing dancers from Swing Xtreme.

Then came multiple Grammy Award-winning American jazz pianist (read 'legend'), Chick Corea, who bedazzled us with his incredible keyboard skills and improvisation abilities which just flowed out of him - first on his own, then together with Mark Isham, and lastly with both Mark and Hossam Ramzy, the renown Egyptian percussionist, composer and music arranger. The piece they played was so perfect, you would have thought they had been rehearsing it for weeks - but they were actually making it up as they went along!

The last number, "Stand by Me", was performed as a grand finale by all those who took part in the concert which included Elena Roggero (I'm a big fan!).

It was a unforgettable evening of such talent and beauty, blasted at the audience at full pelt. After the concert, pretty much everyone was talking about what an incredible show we all just experienced! To all those I invited who couldn't make it: now do you see what you are missing? Make sure you keep the date of next year's concert free, which I imagine will either be on 17 or 24 Oct 2010.

Thanks are given to the following companies for their generosity:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

IAS Event 2009 (25th Anniversary)


International Association of Scientologists 25th Anniversary, Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex - 16th October 2009

IAS Event 2009: On our way in (all 7,000 of us) to probably the most
enormous and most lavishly decorated marquee in the world!

Sorry, but I can't tell you anything about the event last night because those Scientologists who weren't able to travel to Saint Hill will watch it at their own IAS Events in their own Churches of Scientology in every other part of the world, probably next weekend - so I don't want to give the game away. As much as I would love to tell which three amazing individuals won an IAS Freedom Medal this year; and what new amazing releases and announcements were made; and how the event started, and how it ends (!), I won't because I don't want to spoil it for you!

All I can say it that it was huge, with everything bigger, better and more amazing than last year.

The 4 tweets I made following the event sum up how I felt, and the impression I was left with:

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