Celeb ‘church’ opens doors to minorities in Firhouse
2018-05-01 14:46:55 -
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By Chinedu Onyejelem

 

The Church of Scientology has welcomed members of the immigrant and Traveling communities at its new community centre in Dublin, it has emerged.

 

However, a number of ethnic minorities who used the centre have since come forward to Metro Éireann claiming that they were not aware of the organisation’s activities or ideology.

 

Established over six months ago in the former Victory Church premises in Firhouse, south Dublin, the centre is “encouraging community integration” according to the Irish branch of the California-based organisation, which does not have religious or charitable status in Ireland.

 

In a recent statement, the centre says it has hosted 92 events, including various ethnic celebrations, with over 15,000 people from Ireland, Asia, Africa and Europe in attendance.

 

“Since we opened, one of the aims of the Scientology community centre was, and is, to be a gathering place for the entire community, regardless of ethnic, religious or social background,” said Diana Stahl, spokesperson for the centre. “We seek to help our neighbours, by regularly hosting multicultural events to encourage integration and multicultural dialogue assuring real community integration.”

 

Stahl says the Church of Scientology met last year with community leaders and local representatives, whose key request was “to embrace the multi-ethnic fabric of south Dublin and to assist the creation of dialogue and integration among the various communities.

 

“According to a National Youth Council Report published last year, racism and exclusion remain major issues in today’s multicultural Ireland, affecting nearly 15 per cent of young people growing up as part of an ethnic minority. We wanted to do what we could to encourage real integration and inclusion in our community centre,” she added.

 

Speaking to Metro Éireann, a number of ethnic minorities who used the centre said they were not aware of the Church of Scientology and its reputation.

When asked about his relationship with the organisation, one immigrant who wished to remain anonymous was quick to disassociate himself.

 

“[I] just helped people to use their venue for events. I am not part of [the Church of Scientology],” he told Metro Éireann, adding that while many other people using the centre are unaware of the organisation and its links to controversial drug treatment programmes, some “actually do not want to know.”

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