The anti-cult ideology and FECRIS: Dangers for religious freedom. A White Paper

Six scholars look at the European anti-cult federation, and conclude it is seriously dangerous for religious liberty

By Luigi Berzano (University of Torino, Italy), Boris Falikov (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia), Willy Fautré (Human Rights Without Frontiers, Brussels, Belgium), Liudmyla Filipovich (Department of Religious Studies, Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine), Massimo Introvigne (Center for Studies on New Religions, Torino, Italy), and Bernadette Rigal-Cellard (University Bordeaux-Montaigne, Bordeaux, France)

Bitter Winter (23.08.2021) – – In 2020, the USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom), a bipartisan commission of the U.S. federal government, identified the anti-cult ideology as a major threat to international religious liberty (USCIRF 2020).

The anti-cult ideology, or anti-cultism, is based on the idea that “religions” and “cults” are different. “Cults,” it claims, are not religions, although they may falsely claim to be religious. While religions are joined freely, “victims” join “cults” because of the latter’s coercive practices.

Read the White Paper on Bitter Winter

Table of contents

The anti-cult ideology

The case of FECRIS

  1. FECRIS systematically spread the anti-cult ideology about “cults” and brainwashing, a pseudo-scientific theory


  1. FECRIS spread false information


  1. FECRIS supports totalitarian regimes


  1. FECRIS has been involved in violence


  1. FECRIS actively promotes a gatekeeping strategy against the most senior scholars of new religious movements, labeled “cult apologists.”

Photo : Controversial FECRIS Vice President Alexander Dvorkin –

Further reading about FORB in Europe on HRWF website