In bad news for any Tom Cruise trips to Eastern Europe in the near future, a court in Russia has just banned the Church of Scientology in Moscow because they don’t consider it a religion.
In the latest in a long line of disputes between the Russian authorities and the U.S. organisation, the Moscow city court ruled that because the word ‘Scientology’ is actually a registered U.S. trade mark, it cannot be classified as a religion under Russian law.
The church opened their first branch in Moscow in 1994 and moved to fancy, expensive new headquarters near the city’s Red Square in 2011, but Russia has long been pushing to prohibit the organisation, which some countries treat as a legitimate faith but many others consider to be a cult.
A spokesperson from Russia’s Ministry of Justice said:
The representatives of the Church of Scientology have created many legal conflicts themselves by restricting the religious freedom through the use of trade marks.
For their part, the church slammed the court’s decision and pledged to appeal to Russia’s supreme court.
In a statement, the church’s Moscow branch added:
When decisions like this are handed down, actually everyone loses, and this decision affects not only the Church of Scientology of Moscow. This decision is a sign of disease in the justice system. The court upheld what representatives of the Church believe to be a biased policy pursued by the Ministry of Justice toward the Church of Scientology of Moscow.
It’s just the latest controversy the Church of Scientology has become embroiled in since it was founded in 1954 by science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard. I blame Xenu, to be honest…