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Kohl’s party ousts three Scientology members

December 19, 1996 GMT

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s governing Christian Democratic Union party expelled three of its members today because they belong to the Church of Scientology.

The dismissals came one day after Kohl’s government decided to set up a central office to coordinate its drive against the Church of Scientology and keep people linked to the group out of certain public jobs.

The Christian Democratic Union acted to distance itself from the public image of the Church of Scientology, the party said in a statement. The party did not release the names or positions of the three.

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The German government claims Scientology is largely a money-making organization with some traits of organized crime that seeks world domination and threatens democracy.

The U.S.-based church, which claims 30,000 members in Germany, denies it has political aims and accuses officials of Nazi-like persecution.

Kohl announced Wednesday’s move against Scientology after meeting governors of Germany’s 16 states.

Federal and state governments will work together to try to keep companies and people with Scientology links away from jobs such as those involving teaching and counseling, the statement said.

The Church of Scientology in Germany, in a statement from its press office in Munich, accused the government of ``spreading the propaganda of state church extremists.″

Founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, Los Angeles-based Scientology teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve human problems.