A book by investigative journalist Lars Bové of De Tijd newspaper claims that extensive surveillance by the Belgian State Security services on the Church of Scientology, which failed to find evidence of any wrongdoing, suggest a paranoid reaction to the Church and other sects operating in the country.
The Security services instigated cancellation of Government contracts with at least one private communications company because the company was thought to include people who were also members of the Church of Scientology.
The book also details the contents of Security Services reports which were leaked to the press as part of ongoing official attempts to discredit the Church, which included details of private meetings members of the Church had had with Belgian politicians.
Bové states: “The question of whether sects are really part of the role of the State Security also remains; in particular as we know that in other countries, similar services are not at all involved. Is it really justified in a democracy to let loose a secret service in the worlds of religion and philosophy? Using such a service to operate surveillance on religious or philosophical movements is very delicate.”
A secret report by “Committee I”, set up to oversee the Belgian Security services, concludes: “This role of the Belgian State Security is an exception in the world of information services. The most democratic countries even refuse to implicate their information services in the surveillance of religious movements because this would harm religious freedom.”
Read more at European InterReligious Forum for Religious Freedom