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CESNUR (Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni)
Founded 1988
Founder Massimo Introvigne
Type public non-profit
Purpose "Promote scholarly research in the field of new religious consciousness, and are dedicated to exposing the problems associated with some movements, while defending the principles of religious liberty"
Headquarters Turin, Italy
Services Research,
private persons
Massimo Introvigne
Key people
Luigi Berzano, J. Gordon Melton, Eileen Barker, Massimo Introvigne, Michael Homer, Reender Kranenborg, Gianni Ambrosio
Website .orgcesnur

CESNUR (English: Center for Studies on Turin, Italy. It was established in 1988 by a group of religious scholars from universities in Europe and the Americas, working in the field of new religious movements. Its director is the Italian sociologist and attorney Massimo Introvigne. CESNUR defines itself as being independent of any religious group, church, denomination or association. It has evolved into a network of scholars and organizations who study the field.


  • Aims 1
  • Criticism and response 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


According to their website, CESNUR is devoted to promoting scholarly research in the field of new religious consciousness, and is dedicated to exposing the problems associated with some movements, while defending the principles of religious liberty.

While established by a group of scholars who were mostly

  • Homepage of CESNUR

External links

  1. ^ a b c Fautré, Willy (2006), "Non-state actors and Religious Freedom in Europe", in Andreopoulos, George J.; Kabasakal Arat, Zehra F.; Juviler, Peter H., Non-state actors in the human rights universe, Kumarian Press,  
  2. ^ Kent, Stephen A. (January 2001). "The French and German versus American debate over 'new religions', Scientology and human rights" (PDF). Marburg Journal of Religion 6 (1). 
  3. ^ "Brainwashing" in New Religious Movements, by Alberto Amitrani and Raffaella Di Marzio, from the Roman seat of G.R.I.S., April, 1998.
  4. ^ Le religioni in Italia: Alcune osservazioni metodologiche
  5. ^ European Federation of Research and Information Centres on Sectarism (FECRIS): request for consultative status with the Council of Europe
  6. ^ CESNUR - Blacklisting or Greenlisting? A European Perspective on the New Cult Wars


[6] Introvigne responded by claiming that the anti-cult movement have accused CESNUR of being a front for "Freemasonry, a "Methodist cult", the Roman Catholic Church and a number of Catholic organizations, including

In an official OSCE report, Dick Marty, Swiss senator and member of the OECD Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, answered criticism by Introvigne, who was himself an official Rapporteur at the OCSE conference held in Vienna on March 22, 1999: "The CESNUR report misrepresents the contents of the "Regards sur" newsletter: taking everything into account, there is insufficient credible evidence for the allegations to be made out. As to the CESNUR document and in the absence of corroborative material, the Rapporteur views its credibility in the light of his conclusions on the partial and misleading report of the Beijing Conference."[5]

Scholars and anti-cultists Stephen A. Kent and Raffaella Di Marzio consider CESNUR's representation of the brainwashing controversy one-sided, polemical and sometimes without scholarly value.[2][3] Di Marzio is listed among the contributors of the CESNUR online encyclopedia "Religions in Italy".[4]

CESNUR has been criticized by the cults.

Criticism and response

CESNUR-affiliated scholars include:

CESNUR sponsor yearly conferences in the field of new religions. Conferences have been held inter alia at the London School of Economics (1993 and 2001), the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil (1994), the Sapienza University of Rome (1995), the Université de Montréal (1996), the Free university of Amsterdam (1997), the Industrial Union in Turin (1998), the Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania (1999), the University of Latvia in Riga (2000), the University of Utah and Brigham Young University (2002), and the University of Vilnius (2003).

CESNUR is critical of concepts like mind control, thought reform and brainwashing, asserting that they lack scientific and scholarly support and are mainly based on anecdotal evidence. They do not believe that all religious movements are benign but oppose special laws against religious movements.

[1] Other sources of income include book royalties and member contributions.[1]

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