Hollywood star Tom Cruise refuses to accept there is a negative attitude to Scientology, insisting the public are curious to find out more about the RON L HUBBARD-founded faith.Cruise, JOHN TRAVOLTA, KELLY PRESTON, KIRSTIE ALLEY and JENNA ELFMAN are among the famous followers of the controversial faith, which has been labelled as a "cult" by some critics.On Australian TV show 60 MINUTES last weekend (04-05JUN05), interviewer PETER OVERTON confronted Cruise over the pre-interview requirement set by the actor's publicists, that Overton visit a Scientology centre.Overton said, "Tom Cruise's office has asked me to come to the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles to embark on a four-hour crash course in Scientology and what it's all about. Why, then, was it a condition of me talking to you today that I had to spend quite an intense four-and-a-half hours in the Church of Scientology here in Los Angeles?"To which Cruise responded, "You didn't have to. You could have said no."After Overton claimed "there's a perception out there that it gets bad press - cult-like secrecy, controlling", Cruise leapt to the defence of Scientology, saying, "Ignorance breeds bigotry, breeds racism, ok? You have been there and you've seen it for yourself."When asked how he felt about people describing the religion's followers "as a bunch of lunatics", Cruise answered, "No-one's ever said that to me. But that's not the perception out there."
Cruise went on to compare the "bigotry" against Scientology to Islamaphobes, adding, "I think it's appalling that they're still burning synagogues in France. I think it's appalling how certain Muslims are being treated. I think it's absolutely appalling when we talk about freedom of speech and human rights."