When the Inquisition raids minorities of  belief …

Since Georges Fenech was appointed at the head of Miviludes late 2008, spectacular actions violating freedom of conscience increased against minorities of belief or religion.

On October 13, 2009 the oecumenical monastery Moulin des Vallées is invaded by Georges Fenech in company of several members of Miviludes and journalists. An intrusion experienced and described by the inhabitants as a brutal raid which felt like “a rape”.

Questioning close to an interrogatory, abusive insinuations, inhabitants of the Moulin are wondering how Mr Fenech can legally enter a monastery, under cover of a ministerial investigation, while in fact this amounts to helping journalists to make an unauthorized report? Asked about this raid during a symposium organized by sociologists on religions on January 15, 2010, Mrs Amélie Cladière, Genral Secretary of Miviludes, tried to justify her president’s actions : “You understand, Mr Fenech has a culture of a judge of instruction …”

Except that Mr Fenech is no more a Judge of instruction and therefore has none of his powers.

This was not the first time. On Novembre 21, 2006, then a member of a parliamentary commission, Georges Fenech organized a surprise raid in the biblical community Tabitha’s Place, and then gave detailed comments to the press. The Protestant Federation of France criticized these facts, indicating that G. Fenech “apparently forgot the principle of equality and of the contradictory necessary to the fair administration of justice.”

On December 11, 2008 he initiated a raid on behalf of the Miviludes in the Catholic community “Amour et miséricorde” (Love and Mercy) and again spread through the media and even in the TV show “Les infiltrés” (“The infiltrated”) . Once again, there is no room for a possible contradiction by the religious group. To Dominique Balestrat, owner of the ground where the community was living, and a member of the group for 10 years, there is notunderstanding and sadness. He states in daily “Le Progrès” : “We, we welcomed Georges Fenech well, he told us that he came not for an investigation, but only to meet us. And here we are fed with slander. He did not come as an enemy. He came as a traitor.”

An unacceptable show

This policy induces the most striking abuses. Such is the climate than on Thursday January 7, 2010, comes the turn of the Centre of Chardenoux, headquarter of the editor of the magazine “Terre du Ciel” (Earth of Heaven), which was raided by the gendarmes at 8.45 am, with coercitive interrogatories of employees. All computers and workfiles were seized, so that the employees were unable to go on working. The men were armed and in combat uniform.

Although the reason is unknown, the questions asked to the managers of Terre du Ciel show that this operation comes under the “anti cult” fight.

This is all the more remarkable than the Sponsoring Comittee of Terre du Ciel, a Center of Research on Spiritualities in the world, includes several figures, among which Arnaud Desjardins, Michel Cazenave, André Chouraki, as well as several scientific searchers and figures involved in durable development. Moreover, Terre du Ciel has many friends who criticize on Internet « a police assault of an amplitude out of proportion with the given justifications », « the discrepancy, even anachronism » of the police raids, « unbearable iron methods of the State», « a completely absurd story, ubuesque! » [Translator’s note: this refers to a famous play by Alfred Jarry, “King Ubu”, where the main character is a cruel king acting in a most absurd way], an « aggression » or even « a search typical of a totalitarian state ». « To gear oneself up for surrounding Chardenoux, which houses gatherings of the finest international and French  intellectuals, is close to madness ! », wrote womeone else on the website.

« It is indeed rare that near military forces are deployed to search a company because the social regulations might not be perfectly complied with », writes the association Démocratie et Spiritualité which « does not contest the legitimate right of the state and social bodies to control any company, provided they use proportionned means and they respect the  presumption of innocence. »

Janine Tavernier, the former president of UNADFI from 1993 to 2001, claims that she resigned in September 2001 by fear of ideological drifts of the association. « This raid in Terre du Ciel is confirming my fears », she writes. Faced with such actions, I want to bring my support to this association which carries on, in a spirit of freedom and respect for individuals, actions for individual and global human progress. Is one guilty because one  thinks for oneself ?

Beyond the amazement and indignation in front of these unacceptable conditions in a state of law, some people point at the ignorance of those who lay behind this action : « One cannot but regret that such a place of freedom gets disturbed by the inconsiderate ignorance and fear of our officials ». Bernard Ginesty, former director of Témoignage Chrétien (Christian Testimony), writes: « it is unacceptable to see such a show to attack an institution and, even more, to take away its means of operating. The facts as they are reported […] clearly show that it is once more about initiatives meant to be « anti-cult», coming from people who have no culture whatsoever on this subject. »

And somebody else asks the question: « Who did set up this brutal and sinister scenario, as if spiritual research endangered the French state ? »

« If Terre du Ciel is hit, nobody is sheltered ». This plain statement shows the growing concern in front of the abuses of a witchhunt hiding itself under cover of « anti-cult fight ».

Such abuses which are due to the climate of Inquisition generated by the repressive methods of Miviludes cannot but generate questions. Questions in France, because of the violations of national law by an official body which has officially no repressive mission. Questions in Europe and on the international scene because of the violations of human rights and particularly of the freedom of beliefs.

Source : Ethique et Liberté

translation CAP LC

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