Este viernes se hizo entrega de la 6ª edición de los Premios de Libertad Religiosa en España
Madrid, 6 September 2019. The three awardees at the Religious Freedom Awards event were two specialists in Ecclesiastical State Law (Constitutional Law on Religious Freedom) and probably the most active prosecutor in all Spain (if not in Europe) fighting against hate crimes.
The awards took place in the crowded chapel of the Spanish Church of Scientology, the Church also being the headquarters of the Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society [Foundation MEJORA], an event also commemorating Scientology’s 39th anniversary in Spain, underlining the Church’s strong roots in the country. Furthermore, the Foundation MEJORA was recently granted Special Consultative Status as an Non Government Organisation with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The event was attended by the Director of the Fundación Pluralismo y Convivencia (Pluralism and Coexistence) of the Spanish Ministry of Justice, a representative of the Diversity Management Unit of the Municipal Police of Madrid, more than 17 Spanish and Latino NGOs, plus a number of other churches as well as a representative of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Spain.
Just before the awards ceremony, the nearly 100 attendees of the event were informed of the work being carried out by the Diversity Management Unit of the Madrid Police to promote coexistence amongst diversity, as well as prosecuting (within their scope of responsibility) hate crimes, especially against religious minorities.
This year’s awards, which were delivered by Iván Arjona-Pelado (President of the Church in Spain and of the European Office of Public Affairs and Human Rights), were for:
- Miguel Angel Aguilar Sánchez, Coordinating Prosecutor of the Hate crimes and discrimination service of the Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office
- Marcos González Sánchez, Founder of the Methodological Institute of Ecclesiastical State Law and Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid.
- Adoración Castro Jover, Full Professor of Ecclesiastical State Law, at the University of the Basque Country
Prosecutor Miguel Angel Aguilar, possibly one of the most recognized people in Spain for his work and knowledge of hate crimes and discrimination, in his acceptance speech for the award, noted that he was concerned with religious freedom particularly in regards to “hate speech through social media“… “there are messages that are aimed at promoting hatred, discrimination, hostility, even sometimes violence… and religions are often the subject of such attacks.” Aguilar finished by giving “thanks to the Church of Scientology for all the work they do in defense of religious freedom of all religions“.
Professor Marcos González, receiving his award said that “It is with pride that I accept this award as it has already been given to great professors…“. He also pointed out that “in Spain more and more churches are seen in the cities and this headquarters [of the Church of Scientology of Spain] is an example next to the Parliament… diversity is very important because it helps progress…“. In addition he stressed the fact that “the cooperation that the Spanish Constitution speaks of should be for all denominations and there should be some advantages for those that have no ‘cooperation Agreement’, which are the vast majority…“. He ended by saying that “this award is an incentive to continue working hard“.
For her part, Professor Adoracion Castro Jover, emphasized that “It is a paradox that an award must be given for the defense of religious freedom in a democracy…” and that “We must continue to fight for the [religious] minorities who still do not find the space they deserve in Spain.” Completing her presentation and thanks, she reflected on the following: “We see in this meeting that there really are very valuable people, very committed people who are not skimping their work and so making it possible to achieve that ultimate goal that we all work towards, each of us having the same freedom to manifest our beliefs and non-beliefs and being able to exercise them.“
The event also featured the presentation of four veteran Scientologists who told their personal stories of how Scientology has served them to improve their lives and those around them, in sincere, profound and even revealing words. The event was excellently enlivened by the soprano Laura Redondo Estévez, who opened the act with a ‘Vidit suum’ by Pergolessi and closed it with a performance of ‘Heal the World’ of Michael Jackson.
Scientology is registered as a religious entity in the Special Register of the Ministry of Justice. It began in Spain with its founder L. Ron Hubbard and opened its first legal structure in 1980. Today it has millions of members in more than 167 countries and more than 11,000 churches, missions and groups.
For more information on the awards: www.religiousfreedom.es