SCIENTOLOGIST FROM GERMANY GRANTED ASYLUM - 1997-11-09
A German member of the Church of Scientology has been granted asylum in the United States after telling a judge she would be subjected to religious persecution if she went back home, according to the church.
The unidentified woman was granted asylum by an immigration judge Feb. 28, Kurt Weiland of the church's international affairs supervisory board in Los Angeles said today, confirming a report in the New York Times. He said he did not know why the information had not surfaced for nine months.
The woman's lawyer, John Lund, said the case was not part of any orchestrated effort by Scientologists to underscore their dispute with the German government. Scientology is not recognized as a religion in Germany, where officials consider it an extremist organization dedicated to bilking its parishioners of money. Germany has barred Scientologists from membership in major political parties and placed the organization under surveillance.