Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Letter: French `Inquisition'

Sir: The witchhunt against Scientologists currently perpetrated by certain elements in France has many of the hallmarks, if not the violent finality, of past Inquisitions ("Scientologists `penetrated French state' ", 21 September).

The French government, working in cahoots with an anti-religious group, has a list of 176 so-called "dangerous sects", including many broadly accepted religions, such as the Baptists. The court case against several Scientologists is simply part of this modern-day Inquisition, and is being flanked by a full-scale propaganda attack in the French media, including outrageous statements by government officials, all highly prejudicial to justice.

The French government's "Inter-Ministerial Mission to Fight Against Sects" is in flagrant violation of France's human rights commitments, and continues to instigate paranoid attacks against the Church of Scientology, despite a ruling less than three months ago from the highest court in France that Scientologists have the right freely to practise their religion.

In a world with a sorry history of religious wars, persecution, intolerance and bloodshed, it appears that there are still some lessons to learn.