John Travolta has leapt to the defence of his friend and fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise after a video was leaked last week.

The clip showed the Mission: Impossible star calling membership of the Church Of Scientology "a blast" and saying Scientologists can "bring peace and unite communities".

"Being a Scientologist, when you drive past an accident it's not like anyone else," he says in the nine-minute clip. "As you drive past, you know you have to do something about it because you know you're the only one that can really help."

However Travolta has criticised the media attention focused on Cruise and the video clip, which was reportedly filmed for a private Scientology event in 2004.

"[Tom] has – we all have – the right to practice how we feel," Travolta said, while at the G'Day LA gala celebrating Australia week 2008.

"It finally becomes unfair," he told People magazine.

Paula Wagner, Cruise's long-time producing partner, has also attacked critics of the actor's belief system.

"I am not a Scientologist, nor are most of the people Tom and I work with, but that doesn't mean I can sit by silently while he is attacked for his religious beliefs," she said in a statement.

"As a filmmaker and an American, I feel strongly that an individual's religion should have no bearing on their professional life. I have always believed that Americans celebrated these differences, and to see the vitriol that has been directed towards my friend is truly discouraging.

"It's easy to mock an out-of-context video, but that doesn't change the fact that Tom Cruise is one of the hardest-working and nicest human beings I have ever known."

A second video of the star discussing his faith has been leaked, in which he calls psychiatry a "crime against humanity".

22/01/2008 11:46:40