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Friday 19 September 2014

Scientology under fire for drug crime claim

Sam Griffin

Published 16/01/2014 | 02:30

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The Church of Scientology's Flag Building, the centerpiece of a construction campaign for the church is seen on May 22, 2008 in Clearwater, Florida. The building occupies a full city block with a land bridge to another property, the Fort Harrison Hotel. Clearwater is the spiritual headquarters of the Scientology religion. Members of Scientology churches around the world watch satellited broadcasts of events that take place in Clearwater. A recent economic research study showed that Scientologists spend an estimated 96.7 million USD annually in direct purchases in the Clearwater community. These direct purchases result in an additional 156.8 million USD in indirect spending as this money gets re-spent in the community. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
The Church of Scientology's Flag Building in Clearwater, Florida.

THE Church of Scientology has been criticised after a propaganda video suggested it helped reduce Irish drug crime by 85pc.

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Several businesses in Dublin have also hit out at the church for filming their premises as part of a video shown at a New Year's Eve celebration in Clearwater, Florida.

The video, which is a presentation by Scientology leader David Miscavige, claims to show the work done by the controversial group around the world and includes a special feature on its efforts in Ireland.

It refers to Ireland as a country of "enduring beauty and beautiful sadness" but one that has "not been immune to decaying values of the 21st Century".

The group, whose most famous member is Tom Cruise, has premises on Abbey Street in Dublin's city centre where it has been 'testing' the public and also holding life-improvement classes.

In the video, the group says it has distributed more than 110,000 information booklets in various businesses around Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland and that this has resulted in an 85pc drop in drug-related crime.

Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show a decline in drug crime -- about 7pc in the past 12 months -- but nothing like the 85pc drop claimed in the video.

Among the businesses mentioned is a well-known and reputable pub in Temple Bar.

Last night a spokesman for the pub said he had "no knowledge" of the group distributing information from the bar.

A popular hair studio said it allowed Scientologists to film on its premises on the promise that the company's name would not be included and that the video would not appear online.

FAKED

The video also portrays interviews done by the group on BBC Radio Foyle in the north and Ocean FM in the north-west as well as pieces in a number of regional newspapers.

Both radio stations said the interviews had been faked.

"The BBC is an independent, impartial organisation. Any misuse of its brand is considered a serious matter and will be investigated," a spokesperson for BBC Radio Foyle said.

Niall Delaney from Ocean FM described the interview and the depiction of the station's studio as "bogus".

Despite several attempts to make contact with the group, nobody from the Church of Scientology spoke to the Irish Independent last night.

When taken to task by Ocean FM about the "interview" in the video, Scientologist Zabrina Shortt claimed the group had "re-enacted" an earlier interview with the station.

Irish Independent

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