Who needs the National Sect-Office?
by Werner Mueller
(Photo: Dr. German Müller, leader of the Federal Sect-Office)
The reference of the national office to simply collect, evaluate and distribute information about so-called sects, does not justify the expense of approximately seven employees. And anyhow, what is meant by collecting information, is the television programme perused for contents relating to the theme or daily newspapers evaluated? And if so, who receives these “threatening medial scenarios” which ultimately contribute to opinion making? The public is not permitted any insight into files relating to persons or financial issues of the National Office for Sectarian Issues.
● Four (4) Private Sect Offices
● and eight (8) Family Counseling Offices with special emphasis on “Sectarian
Here are some of the objections by experts and the victims of this state sanctioned discrimination against religious minorities by the Federal Sect Office:
In spite of its obligation to file an annual report on its activities, the Federal Sect- Office has not been reporting for five years (the 2005 report has been published & presented in parliament in 2007). Furthermore, in those three reports, which are available since 1998, experts trace an artificial inflation of the statistics and criticize the absence of factual content. More seriously, members & leaders of religious minorities are not allowed to view the data/information contained in the files the Federal Sect Office has assembled on them!
The most recent case - by no means unique - is the case of Mag. Harald J., who during the 90s held a leading position in a small religious group. In 2004 he disassociated himself from that faith and consequently he left the organization. He established a successful method (Kido) to teach children self defense, in particular against sexual abuse. In addition he has become a qualified life-coach. However, getting professional engagements has become extremely difficult due to repeated interference of various “sect hunters” who tried discredit him. Early this year, his job prospects received another blow, when the chamber of commerce confronted him with a big file on his affiliation with a so-called “sect”. The file was authored by the Federal Sect-Office. Mag. Harald J. is gravely concerned about the permanent witch-hunt against him and how he can continue to feed his family under these circumstances.
GSK is a private, Vienna- based anti-cult association which is also the Austrian branch of FECRIS.
GSK receives funding from the City of Vienna & the State-government of Lower-Austria in spite of its discriminatory activities:
It is still publishing the controversial Anti-Sect brochure called “Wissen Schützt” (Knowledge Protects). The booklet, which is blacklisting over 20 groups was originally published by the Family-Ministry in 1998 and widely distributed. Due to court cases and various complaints by victimized religious minority groups, the government had to stop circulating it in 2003. Amongst many other discriminatory materials GSK is publishing the brochure on its official website for download.