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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Jedi 'religion' grows in Australia
Sir Alec Guinness as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi
Jedi is the faith espoused in the Star Wars films
More than 70,000 people in Australia have declared that they are followers of the Jedi faith, the religion created by the Star Wars films.

A recent census found that one in 270 respondents - or 0.37% of the population - say they believe in "the force", an energy field that gives Jedi Knights like Luke Skywalker their power in the films.

Most of the 70,509 people who wrote Jedi on their census forms were suspected to have done so in response to an e-mail encouraging all Star Wars fans to get it recognised as an official religion.

Yoda, Jedi master
Jedi Master Yoda: "You must feel the force around you"
But the majority do not seriously tell each other: "May the force be with you", according to Australian Star Wars Appreciation Society president Chris Brennan.

"When you look at it you probably have got about 5,000 people in that 70,000 that were true hard-core people that would believe the Jedi religion carte blanche," he told ABC Radio.

"Then you would have 50,000 fans that said 'oh yeah we'll just put down Jedi for fun, we don't actually have a religion of our own'.

"Then you probably have 15,000 people who did it just to give the government a bit of curry," he said.

'Not defined'

An e-mail was sent around the world in 2001 saying that if 10,000 people declared they were Jedi, it would be recognised as an official religion.

But the Australian Bureau of Statistics said it would be categorised as "not defined".

Thousands of people in New Zealand and the UK also followed the advice of the e-mail - with Jedi Knight even being included on the list of religions by UK census authorities.

See also:

09 Oct 01 | UK
11 Apr 01 | Entertainment
06 Mar 01 | Entertainment
17 May 99 | Entertainment
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