Judges let Rev. Moon enter Germany

Koblenz, Germany - German judges cleared South Korean religious figure Sun Myung Moon, 87, on Friday to enter Germany, telling the government he is not a threat to national security.

A German visa ban had hampered him from meeting adherents in much of the European Union. The government, which is concerned that his Unification Church may manipulate young people, is entitled to appeal.

The superior administrative tribunal of Rhineland Palatinate state, which has oversight over the border police command, ruled that the 1995 ban on Moon and his wife was illegal.

The tribunal in Koblenz said entry could only be barred where there was a considerable threat to public safety or to national security. The Moons did not pose such a threat.

Germany's constitutional court had referred the case last November to the tribunal after deciding the 1995 ban was a restriction on religious freedom. In 2002, the tribunal had confirmed the ban.

Because of the EU's open borders, the German ban effectively blocks travel to nearby nations, where border police use the list of German bans to bar entry to aliens.

Youth-welfare officials regard Moon's organization as a sect that exploits the psychological instability of many young people.

Government officials had also argued that Moon's right-wing political views were contrary to the German constitution's commitment to a combination of social security with free markets.

The Unification Church says it has 1,300 members in Germany and 10,000 "sympathizers."

The government alleged that the Unification Church, founded in Seoul in 1954, directs members who they are to marry and sets restraints on those who attempt to leave the movement. The group practices mass weddings.