The Brahma Kumaris promotes itself through the United Nations, uses the opportunity to meet important people and increases both its leadership’s status in the eyes of its followers and the organization’s status within the political arena.
The BKs have a small office space currently understood to be a couple of desks in the New York headquarters of the United Nation Organization. Adherents attend numerous events internationally to promote their religion, in some cases claiming to be “UN advisors”. The organization often dedicates meditation events which it already carries out “to the United Nations”.
From time to time the BKWSU will produce an light weight article on some peace or spiritual values related subject but in general, the United Nations association is mainly used and abused to the BKWSU benefit establishing credibility for beliefs and activities the United Nations Organization has no knowledge of.
A French Government report on sect deviance has denounced what it calls excessive sect activity in international institutions. Scientology and other groups are in its sights, and these groups are putting up fierce resistance. The report is downloadable, here.
France has a government agency called the Miviludes, unique in Western countries, whose job it is to track and counter those religious and other groups it considers as being sects. Miviludes is an acronym of the French phrase ‘Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires, i.e. Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Cultic Deviancy. A sect is defined here as being any religious organisation which can be characterised as employing any of the following methods;
- Mental destabilisation,
exorbitant financial demands,
a rupture with members’ original environment,
power in the hands of one person,
the invasion of a person’s physical integrity,
the recruitment of children,
antisocial preaching and troubling public order,
activities which lead it to be tried in a court of law,
using parallel economic structures,
attempts to infiltrate the workplace, schools, and public powers.
There are around fifty religions or groups which are being tracked, the most commonly known of which are; Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, Mormons, The Universal Church, Raelians and The Unification Church … presenting themselves as being ‘Associated with the UN Department of Public Information.’
Criticism of the Miviludes is fierce, and, since the organisation began extending its activities to organisations outside of France, it has also been attacked by foreign government agencies such as the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has in the past been highly sceptical about the motives of the Miviludes.
Yesterday saw the release of their 199-page Annual Report, of which ten pages are consecrated to a stinging criticism of the activity of sects and their supporters in the UN and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.) The OSCE is the biggest security-oriented intergovernmental organisation on the planet. Its job is to surveille and uphold principles such as fair elections, press freedom and human rights.
The report notably singles out NGO’s (Non-governmental organizations) which it says are attempting to legitimise sect activities under cover of the principles of religious freedom. They are said to be acting in concert to limit the influence of the Miviludes within the UN, using tactics such as official complaints and smear tactics.
France is a fiercely secular country hence the existence of an organisation as unique and with as much influence as the Miviludes. It has been involved in long-running battles with various religious organisations, or sects as they call them.