Tom Cruise Lobbies in Berlin for Scientologists' Rights

Berlin, Jan 30--(AP) Actor Tom Cruise, a well-known Scientologist, has asked the U.S. ambassador to Germany to seek support for the organization's fight with the German government, diplomats said Wednesday.



Germany views Scientology as a potential threat to democracy, placing it under scrutiny by domestic intelligence agents in 1997. The church, which claims 8 million members worldwide, has denounced German treatment of its 30,000 adherents, such as banning them from public jobs.

The U.S. government, which has extended Scientology tax-free status as a religion since 1993, has criticized Germany's treatment of the Scientologists. The most recent State Department report on human rights highlights state-published anti-Scientology pamphlets, including one from Hamburg that ``claims that Scientology tries to infiltrate governments, offices, and companies, and that the church spies on its opponents, defames them, and "destroys" them.

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Embassy spokesman Mark Smith confirmed Cruise, 39, met with Ambassador Dan Coats for about 45 minutes, but he would not say what the two talked about. Cruise was in Berlin last week to promote ``Vanilla Sky.''

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The Associated Press
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