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Religious Freedom Conference at the Church of Scientology Milan

The Church of Scientology of Milan hosted an interfaith conference featuring author Andrea Maori and his research into Italy’s post-World War II suppression of religious freedom.

In celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week and in the spirit of religious brotherhood the Church of Scientology Milan hosted a conference featuring author and archivist Andrea Maori and his work documenting the history of human rights and freedom of religion in Italy.

The program promoted cooperation among religions and nongovernmental organizations to advance civil rights and respect for the Constitution of the Italian Republic.

Mr. Maori’s presentation was based on his book, Forbidden to Pray, Stories of Religious Intolerance in the Italian Republic, a treatise on the discrimination and abuse suffered by religious minorities in Italy from the end of World War II to the beginning of the millennium.

At the end of World War II, the new Constitution of the Italian Republic guaranteed freedom of religion and belief to religious minorities. However, these provisions were then largely ignored. The mindset and legal orientation of the former fascist regime tainted and continued to monitor the relationship between church and state through the mid-80s. And according to Mr. Maori, remnants of this remain.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week panel discussion at the Church of Scientology Milan
The World Interfaith Harmony Week panel discussion at the Church of Scientology Milan celebrated religious diversity.

“In Italy, religious freedom is largely tolerated but we are prone to restrictions and discriminatory attitudes towards minorities,” said Mr. Maori. “It is therefore necessary to pass the law, currently blocked in Parliament, that specifically protects all expressions of religiosity. This law would protect the freedom of thought and conscience of many associations, groups and movements.”

Andrea Maori’s historical research has focused on the effect of police control on Italian society. Among his works are Judaism: Rebuilding from the Rubble (2013); Police, Political Power and Movements for Human and Civil Rights 1945-2000 (2013); The Non-Violent War (2013) and The Labyrinth of Spies (2016).

Joining Mr. Maori in the program was lawyer Fabrizio d’Agostini of the Court of Turin. Mr. D’Agostini, who studied philosophy of law under prof. Norberto Bobbio, is well known for successfully defending the freedom of religion in Italy.

Among the many guests were representatives of other religious communities, Signora Harmanjot Kaur of the Sikh community and Mr. El Sayed Mahmoud, Director of the Ffayr Association of the Islamic Community of Milan, who stressed the importance of interreligious dialogue in creating a better society through promoting understanding and cooperation.

To learn more about the work of the Church of Scientology to promote freedom of religion and belief for people of all faiths, visit

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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