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German foreign minister to discuss Scientology in Washington

November 2, 1997 GMT

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel on Sunday rejected renewed criticism from U.S. lawmakers over Germany’s treatment of Scientology and said he would bring the matter up during his visit to Washington this week.

A U.S. House panel passed a non-binding resolution Friday accusing some German officials of fostering ``an atmosphere of intolerance towards minority religious groups.″

It also called upon President Clinton to relay to Bonn Congress’ concern about alleged violations of the rights of Scientologists.

Kinkel called the resolution factually incorrect and contradictory to the spirit of U.S.-German relations. He said he would discuss the issue with U.S. officials on Wednesday.

``Scientology is not a religion or world-view society,″ Kinkel said. ``Its goals, at least in Germany, are directed at business activities.″

The German government has taken steps to outlaw the Church of Scientology. The group says its members suffer from officially sanctioned discrimination that includes bans on its members from joining political parties and the surveillance of the group as a threat to democracy, a step toward seeking an official ban.