By Paul van den Berg
FECRIS (Federation of Centers of Research and Information on Cults and Sects) held its annual gathering on March 24, 2014 in Brussels. As usual, the meeting was shrouded in secrecy and only open to affiliated member organizations and “friendly” individuals. The existence of the meeting and in particular its agenda and venue was even kept off their official Website until a few days ago. This is the more surprising since the meeting was held inside the Belgian Parliament (“The Palace of the Nation”) in the “Salle des Congrès”.
What is FECRIS and what does it stand for?
According to their own website: “FECRIS is politically, philosophically and religiously neutral.”
History shows a different picture and pattern though. FECRIS was created in in 1994 and was predestined from its birth: founded via the French anti-sect association UNADFI (National Union of Associations for the Defense of Family and the Individual) and cohabiting with GEMPPI (Study Group on World views for the Protection of the Individual) in Marseille, whose President Mr. Didier Pachoud is allegedly the author of the list of 173 “dangerous” sect attached to the 1996 parliamentary inquiry report on sects in France.
FECRIS got public funding and was quickly recuperated by their benefactors to actively support existing and pending legislation targeting New Religious Movements, so called “sects” and the like. Their business model, consisting of an academically empty shell, supported by a number of activist Politicians, allowed them to quickly spread from France throughout the EU and beyond.
Belgium was a particular attentive follower, created its own Sect List, Parliamentary Committee and Working group on “dangerous sects”, and voted similar legislation on Abuse of Weakness and is now reforming the Health sector presented as being infiltrated by “sects”.
More about the FECRIS in Brussels