European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism

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FECRIS
Fecris.jpg
Organization logo
Formation 1994
Type Non-profit International nongovernmental organization
Purpose Coordinate organizations monitoring new religious movements
Headquarters France
Region served
Europe
Membership 54 member organizations in 31 countries (2009)
Official language
French, English
President
Thomas Geoffrey Sackville[1]
Vice President
Alexander Dvorkin
Website http://www.fecris.org/

FECRIS (Fédération Européenne des Centres de Recherche et d'Information sur le Sectarisme) - (French) European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism - is a French non-profit association that serves as an umbrella organization for groups which investigate the activities of groups considered cults in Europe.

History[edit]

FECRIS was formed as a French non-profit association, founded in Paris on June 30, 1994,[2] on request of the French anti-sect association UNADFI (National Union of Associations for the Defence of Family and the Individual),[3] after the 1993 Congress on Sectarianism in Barcelona.[4] FECRIS serves as an umbrella organization for groups which investigate the activities of groups they consider cults in Europe,[5] and it describes itself as "politically, philosophically and religiously neutral".[2] The first president of FECRIS was Dr. Jacques Richard,[6] succeeded by Friedrich Griess.[7] The organization began in 1994 with representation from 10 different countries in Europe.[8] The group's first meeting was held in Paris in October 1994.[6] Its second meeting in April 1995 was attended by individuals from six different countries.[6] At the meeting, the organization decided to focus on research, and stated "the legal aspects of family/cult relationships should be the first subject for research by an appropriate university or professional department".[6]

At a meeting held in Germany in 1996, the organization recommended perusing recent court decisions for information that could be of use to individuals involved in groups researched by FECRIS.[6] By 1999, FECRIS had established a website, located at www.fecris.org.[6] The organization's president, Jean Nokin, traveled with the vice president to a meeting of the American Family Foundation (International Cultic Studies Association - ICSA) in April 2000, where they presented on the topic of "Cults and the Millennium".[6] By May 2001, FECRIS had 36 member organizations in 24 different countries.[6] A June 2001 meeting in Paris dealt with the impact of membership in controversial religious groups, issues of litigation against cults, and safety of youth involved in such groups.[6] The organization held a May 2002 meeting in Barcelona on the topic of "Children and Cults".[6]

As of 2003 the government of France provided funding to the organization.[9] In March 2005, the Council of Europe's Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly granted FECRIS advisory status.[6] In 2009, FECRIS was granted "ECOSOC Special Consultative Status" by the United Nations.[10]

Analysis[edit]

FECRIS is described in the 2006 book Non-State Actors in the Human Rights Universe as "a transnational network of (state agencies created to deal with the "cult issue") anti-cult associations".[4] The A to Z of New Religious Movements by George D. Chryssides places FECRIS within the genre of the anti-cult movement.[8] Paul A. Marshall writes in Religious Freedom in the World that many cult-awareness groups (CAGs) that investigate new religious movements belong to FECRIS.[11] Writing in Multireligiosität im vereinten Europa, Eileen Barker comments that "FECRIS was founded to encompass a number of anti-cult groups."[12] The organization is described in the 2004 book New Religions: A Guide: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities: "In France, the principal anti-cult group is UNADFI (National Association for the Defence of the Family International). FECRIS (European Federation of Centres for Research and Sectarianism), founded in 1994, covers Europe more widely, having representatives from ten different European countries."[13]

Criticism[edit]

According to Regis Dericquebourg FECRIS is an anti-sect group, which as many others claims to be a study group on sects, respecting human rights and democratic values and does not have any position on beliefs, but in fact FECRIS pathologize and criminalize members of religious minorities, call them to be victims or delinquents, fights against religious minorities, label them as “sects” and then, justifies its fight by attributing to unproved or unverifable negative behaviors as mental manipulation.[3] In his case study presents multiple cases of FECRIS members committing several law violations, for example Friedrich Griess repeatedly committed defamation against minority religious groups, Ms. Heide-Marie Cammans, founder of Sekten-Info Essen the FECRIS member in Germany, was sentenced to ground for hate speech and be fined up to 500,000 DM or to jail for up to 6 months, or case of four members of SADK (Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft gegen destruktive Kulte), FECRIS member in Switzerland, kidnapped Sandro P. with purpose of “deprogramming” treatment. They took him to an isolated holiday home and detain against his will. After police stormed the house, the four deprogrammers were arrested and received 6 and 10 months suspended prison sentence. Other described cases of FRI, UNDAFI or AIS follow the same pattern.[3] His conclusion is that anti-sect groups as FECRIS has right to exist as expression of freedom of opinion and association, but is less normal that such groups is financed by public institutions, that such groups distinct in their accusations between "historical" religions and minority religious movements and that such groups are recognized by European or international institutions for alleged expertise, when there is a proof of blant prejudice against minority religions.[3]

According to attorney at law Patricia Duval deeper analysis of FECRIS activities shows that anti-sect affiliates in France characterize any minority religious or spiritual movement as "sectarian", consider conversion to them as "infridgement of human dignity", collect negative messages from family members who does not agree with such converts used later to accuse movements from family breakdown, compile files based on unverified rumors used later to stigmatize movements, and receive financial support from French public institutions, what rises serous doubt regarding religious freedom and neutrality of the state in matter religion or belief.[14]

Significant representatives[edit]

  • Jacques Richard – French medical doctor, father of a child who joined “The Children of God”, founder of ADFI in Le Mans, first President of FECRIS (1994–1999)[3]
  • Jean Nokin – President of FECRIS (1999–2004), co-organiser of the colloquium on “Cults and the Millennium” in 2000 with the American Family Foundation, a well-known anti-cult organization.[3]
  • Friedrich Griess – President of FECRIS (2005–2009), Austrian catholic, who joined GSK (Association against the Dangers of Sects and Cults) after his daughter joined a Pentecostal Protestant group called “Smith’s friends”, several times sentenced on the grounds of defamation against this group.[3]
  • Thomas Sackville – elected as Vice-President of FECRIS (2005) and current President of FECRIS (May 2009), former British conservative politician (1983–1997), who started All-Party Committee Against Cults (1985), first chairman of the British anti-sect organization (FAIR) (20 October 2000, later 2007 transformed to The Family Survival Trust). In his article for The Spectator (2004) he accused Information Network on Religious Movements INFORM and its President Eileen Barker for “refusing to criticize the worst excesses of cult leaders” and congratulated the Archbishop of Canterbury declining to become a Patron of INFORM. Allegations was marked by INFORM as unfounded.[3]
  • Alexander Dvorkin – Vice-President of FECRIS since 2009, former clergyman of the Russian Orthodox Church, who give up his mission and with blessing of Patriarch Alexy II established (1993) Russian Association of Centres for the Study of Religions and Sects (RATsIRS), first Russian anti-cult organization. From that time he extremely active opposed non-Orthodox religions and movements through his publications.[3]

Member organizations[edit]

Source[15]

Country Organization
Germany Germany Aktion für geistige und psychische Freiheit e.V. (AGPF e.V.)
Sektenberatung Bremen
Niedersächische Elterninitiative gegen den Missbrauch der Religion (EGMR)
Sekten-Info Essen Nordrhein-Westfalen
Austria Austria Gesellschaft gegen Sekten- und Kultgefahren
Belgium Belgium
Contacts et Informations sur les Groupes Sectaires (CIGS)
Croatia Croatia
C.I.S.K.- Centre for Information on Sects and Cults, Croatia
France France Centre de documentation, d'éducation & d'action contre les manipulations mentales - centre Roger Ikor (CCMM)
Union nationale des associations de défense des familles et de l'individu (UNADFI)
Groupe d'étude des mouvements de pensee en vue de la prévention des individus (GEMPPI)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
The Family Survival Trust (former FAIR)
Republic of Ireland Ireland
Dialogue Ireland
Italy Italy
CeSAP . Centro Studi Abusi Psicologici
FA.VI.S - Associazione Nazionale Familiari delle Vittime delle Sette
Poland Poland Ruch obrony rodziny i jednostky polish family association (RORIJ)- Polish Family Association
Russia Russia C.R.S. - orthodox Center of Religious Studies in the name of Saint Irenaeus (РАЦИРС/RATsIRS), Russia
Serbia Serbia
C.A.S. - Center for Anthropological Studies, Serbia
Spain Spain Atención e Investigación de Socioadicciones (AIS)
Sweden Sweden Föreningen Rädda Individen (FRI)
Switzerland Switzerland Schweizerische Arbeitgemeinschaft gegen destruktive Kulte (SADK)
Association suisse pour la defense de la famille & de l'individu (ASDFI)
Ukraine Ukraine F.P.P.S. - Family and Personality Protection Society
Armenia Armenia N.S.S. - National Spiritual Security

Correspondents[edit]

Country Organization
France A.F.S.I. - Alerte Faux Souvenirs Induits
Spain AIIAP - Asociación Iberoamericana para la Investigación del Abuso Psicológico
Germany Artikel 4 - Initiative für Glaubensfreiheit e.V.
Kazakhstan Association of the centers for help the people who suffered from destructive religious movements
France ATTENF - Attention Enfants
Belgium A.V.P.I.M. - Association des Victimes des Pratiques Illégales de la Médecine
France C.L.P.S. - Cercle Laïque pour la Prévention du Sectarisme
Belarus C.N.R.M.S. ­ Center of New Religious Movements Studies
Lithuania C.P.B.- Cult Prevention Bureau
Russia C.R.S.S. - Center of Religious Studies - Saratov
United Kingdom Dialog Centre UK
Germany Dialog Zentrum Berlin
Ukraine Dneprpetrovsk City Center for the help to Victims of Destructive Cults "Dialogue"
Norway FRI-Norge - Foreningen Redd Individet
United Kingdom F.S.G. - Family Support Group
Russia I.C.C.S. - Informational Consulting Center on Sectarianism
Moldavia INFOSEC
Latvia L.C.C.T.S. - Latvian Committee for Combating the Totalitarian Sects
Cyprus P.P.U. - Pancyprian Parents Union
Sweden RAM - Riksorganisationen Aktiva mot Manipulering
United Kingdom RETIRN - Re-Entry Therapy, Information & Referral Network
Spain RIES - Red Iberoamericana de Estudio de las Sectas (Successor of Fundación S.P.E.S., Argentina)
France Secticide
The Netherlands Sirenen
Norway Stiftelsen Liv i Frihet
Finland U.U.T. - Uskontojen Uhrien Tuki Ry (Support Group for the Victims of Religions)
Ukraine Ukrainian National Center Of Religious Safety And Help To Victims Of Destructive Cults "Dialogue"
Ukraine U.N.I.A. - Ukrainian Network “InterAction”
Estonia Sakarias (Jaan) Leppik
South Africa Stephan Pretorius
Australia C.I.F.S. - Cult Information and Family Support Inc.
Israel Forum Against Cults
USA I.C.S.A. - International Cultic Studies Association (formerly A.F.F. - American Family Foundation)
Israel I.C.V.C. - The Israeli Center for Victims of Cults

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Antisectarian conference in St. Petersburg". Stetson University Russia Religion News. www.stetson.edu. May 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  2. ^ a b "Introduction". Fédération Européenne des Centres de Recherche et d'Information sur le Sectarisme. www.fecris.org. 2003. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Regis Dericquebourg, A Case Study: FECRIS, Journal for the Study of Beliefs and Worldviews, 2012/2, p.183–189, ISBN 978-3-643-99894-1
  4. ^ a b Andreopoulos, George; Zehra Kabasakal Arat; Peter Juviler (2006). Non-State Actors in the Human Rights Universe. Kumarian Press. p. 325. ISBN 1-56549-213-7. 
  5. ^ Kirby, Terry (March 27, 2004). "Family's plea for cult awareness week after student died in a state of terror". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Arweck, Elizabeth (2006). Researching New Religious Movements: Responses and Redefinitions. Routledge. pp. 132–134. ISBN 978-0-415-27754-9. 
  7. ^ "Preamble". Acts of the conference, Cults and Esotericism: New Challenges for Civil Societies in Europe. www.fecris.org. April 28, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  8. ^ a b Chryssides, George D. (2006). The A to Z of New Religious Movements. Scarecrow Press. pp. 35, 127. ISBN 0-8108-5588-7. 
  9. ^ Bruce, Steve (2003). Politics and Religion. Polity. p. 198. ISBN 0-7456-2820-6. 
  10. ^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs - NGO Branch: Search result for 'FECRIS' shows the profile
  11. ^ Marshall, Paul A. (2007). Religious Freedom in the World. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7425-6213-4. 
  12. ^ Lehmann, Hartmut (2003). Multireligiosität im vereinten Europa: historische und juristische Aspekte. Wallstein Verlag. p. 227. OCLC 52308515. 
  13. ^ Partridge, Christopher (2004). New Religions: A Guide: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 76. ISBN 0-19-522042-0. 
  14. ^ FECRIS and its Affiliates in France, The French Fight against the "Capture of Souls", ISSN 1438-955X, Journal for the Study of Beliefs and Worldviews, 2012/2, p.197-199 (197-266), ISBN 978-3-643-99894-1
  15. ^ "Members". Fédération Européenne des Centres de Recherche et d'Information sur le Sectarisme. www.fecris.org. 2003. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 

External links[edit]