Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise Split: The Scientology Mystery

 Actress Katie Holmes is facing two strong opponents in its legal fight for sole custody of a 6-year-old daughter Suri, as she fights the alienation of her husband Tom Cruise and his Scientology religion, experts said on Monday.

"Dawson's Creek" actress, 33, made headlines last week when she filed for divorce from "Mission: Impossible" actor, Cruise, after nearly six years of marriage and one child.

While Holmes, Cruise, and representatives of both silent on the causes of high-profile split, speculation in the media that Suri is now at an age when it begins formal education, and the Church of Scientology of which Cruise one of the key members, are crucial value for the gap.

"The interesting thing is that there are three players in this case - mother, father, and this is a very controversial concept of Scientology," said New York divorce lawyer Stark Love.

"The daughter is in the middle of all this divorce. She seems to have been raised in Scientology before that age, so if the judge comes in and gives opinion on Katie Holmes, it may change (Suri) religion," said Stark.

Church of Scientology was founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, and she describes her practice as a religion. The organization believes the man immortal being whose experience goes beyond a single lifetime, and she attracted followers including Cruise and John Travolta.

However, some observers - including media mogul Rupert Murdoch - compare it with the cult. Critics say the group compels followers to think that they do, and they blame the Scientologists in the prosecution of people who want to quit smoking.

On Sunday, after news last week about the divorce filing Holmes, Murdoch took to Twitter and called Scientology "a very strange cult" and Scientologists "eerie, maybe even angry."

Scientology and the media

"Scientology is potentially dangerous, if not dangerous organization," said Rick Ross, New Jersey, an expert on cults and controversial movements, which served as an expert witness in court cases.

"I received a complaint after complaint over the years from former members."

Ross said the custody battle Holmes "may depend on the Cruise Holmes decides to fight for possession of Suri and how much information comes out about Scientology practices that the Church can not find in its interest.

Representatives of the Church did not respond to requests Reuters "for comments.

Ross said it was unlikely the Church will get directly involved in the custody battle, as it may cause negative information, but he thought the members could result in the release of information "to intimidate or discredit" Holmes.

Attorney Stark custody proceedings will differ depending on whether held in New York, where Holmes is filed, or California, if the cruise you can get the case moved to the state in which he resides.

In California, Stark said that the courts assume joint custody, which leads to a greater likelihood the judge will give both Holmes and Cruise ability to make decisions for Suri.

"If the judge says they should have joint custody in California, then Kathy will not be able to take Suri out of this religion in general," said Stark.

In New York, the courts look at the child's best interests, and who will make decisions and care for the teenager. In this case, the judge may be asked to consider the question of religion, Cruise, although it is possible to remote control.

"Religion can always enter into it, but it rarely custody battle," said Josh Foreman, a married lawyer and partner of Chemtob Moss Forman and Talbert in New York.

Like Ross, Foreman believes that any negative information from a long trial could lead to a private settlement.

"I do not think it would be very good for the careers of Tom, if he is seen as having a huge, pulled out of the prison-fight with Katie. I think they really have to decide, and I see this as a solution."

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