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French Sects Law Draws Criticism From Rights Advocates.

The French government is under fire for a new law that cracks down on religious groups considered sects or cults.

Under the law approved by the French Parliament in May, government officials can ban religious groups considered cults and can stop them from changing their name and reorganizing. Officials can impose a fine and three-year prison sentence on religious group members who recruit new members by "abusing" a "state of ignorance or situation of weakness."

Critics say the law's ambiguities make abuse likely.

"Any religious education or proselytization can be suspect under the vague crime of `abuse of a person's state of weakness,'" said Joseph K. Grieboski, president of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy.
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Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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