The interviewer: my next guest is a married mother, she comes from Leeds and she is from a white middle class British family. She probably is not somebody who in the first view is expected to have gone to a military base to receive military training that’s exactly what happened to Ann Singleton after being brainwashed by an extremist group and she joins me today. It’s really good to see you, Ann. I can’t believe how your life has changed so much that you left the life you liked and the road you were supposed to travel and now you have again a different life. Its extraordinary, isn’t it? How did you get involved with the group at the first place?
Singleton: in the late 1970’s I went to a college in Manchester University to study English. I had an Iranian boy friend. It was just after the revolution. There were a lot of activities going on. In fact, 1979 was completely a political year and Margaret Tacher has just been elected. So I joined the students’ union in the university and there were groups of students from every corner of the world almost talking politics. But the only group that really seemed to be active, actually doing things like calling for demonstrations and meetings were the Mujahedin. I guess because I had already an introduction through my boy friend, I joined them.
Interviewer: And thus it was the beginning but they were apparently a sinister group, almost it was a cult. Wasn’t it? They did brainwash you? Didn’t they?
Singleton: It was really a cult. Something I didn’t find out until I left the group.
Interviewer: Right. You do know in such groups the process happens so gradually and slowly. They are very clever. They became manipulative people.
Singleton: exactly, very manipulative. The individuals were completely unaware of what the cult did with him or her. At first you think they are very sincere and self scarifying people but actually they model a kind of special behavior to you which you get drawn into that kind of behavior that you start to mirror and take it on yourself.
Interviewer: you told me before that you became active here and showed some videos to me, by the way you entered the group but according to what you said you went abroad for their work? How did you do that?
Singleton: they took me to a stage that I voluntarily, with pure eagerness prepared myself to go to their military training camps in Iraq.
Interviewer: what was their training program? I mean what did they teach you?
Singleton (while her photo with military uniform is shown): in fact we were about 50 people went to Iraq. Men and women were separated. We went to a place where was clearly obvious that was an Iraqi military base. They started to train us with basic, normal military training including collective system, individual attack and defense, driving trucks and getting familiar with Kalashnikov.
Interviewer: did they tell you for what purpose or objective all these trainings were? You told that they showed videos on people who were receiving military training in Iraq, however what was their purpose, had they ever declared this purpose?
Singleton: it’s now unbelievable even for myself. By the way it was clear to me that the final stage is a military invasion to Iran. This was something that was determined. At that time I was so inspired by their inspirations that I was completely delivered myself to them and followed them, I was ready to fight for them.
Interviewer: how did you leave the group? Because many people can’t do this.
Singleton: it was extremely difficult. It was the most difficult work I have ever done. In 1993, I escaped from their safe house in London because I couldn’t respond their illogic demands any more.
They told that a member of the group should never marry and they forced the married members to divorce their spouses. At that time I was single and had no kids but I thought that I couldn’t accept this idea. I left them in 1993 but it lasted three more years until I could cut all my psychological and affectional relations with them and they always tried to get me back. But even when I had no contact with, it lasted three or four years with research I did on cults and getting familiar with mind control methods and manipulative work on individualists I found out that I was quiet under their control.
Interviewer: it’s very curious and extraordinary. The problem is that you were a normal, educated person, you might have been a little naive but if they could have such a control over you, I suppose we have to be concerned about everyone in the world, who may be even more vulnerable than you. It’s so horrible, isn’t it?
Singleton: yes, absolutely it is. I hope that my experience works as a warning for any other person. Every body, in a point of time during the life may be vulnerable from an aspect. In case of rights, for example about business there are rules that support the customer against the deceiving salesperson, but there is no support for those who are deceived by people like Mujahedin and are recruited by a destructive cult.
Interviewer: yes that’s right and even some people substantially fear doing anything and getting involved in quarrel. They are afraid of some issues for example being accused to supporting racism. By the way, it should be considered that such people do anything to achieve their goal. Now that you have a little boy, isn’t there any danger from their part because you talk against them? since you got married and rebuilt your life. Don’t you fear to talk about them so openly and prevent people from joining them?
Singleton: I personally don’t feel dangerous from MKO but they have tried a lot, by various ways to stop me. Many of former members of the cults don’t set out for describing their stories in the cult and the reason is that they’re very afraid of their threat and intimidation.
Interviewer: by the way you could really rebuild your life. You are definitely very concerned bout those who couldn’t do this.
Singleton: I am at present time, managing a website and my objective to launch this website is that I can denounce the reality of the organization and what its real nature is. This organization has got a modern pro-western gesture that is apparently very democratic and advocating human rights. But I know that the members of the organization don’t enjoy even the least of human rights. The global statement of human rights includes 30 articles. Even one of those articles isn’t applied for members of a cult like Mujahedin. I’m really interested in rescuing the members of MKO and taking them out of the cult and also I’d like to prevent new individuals from being recruited by the cult.
Interviewer: its exactly so since unfortunately now the situation is much worse than the time you were recruited by them. I appreciate you because you shared such information us with. And also it is very important that this information with more details be reflected in your website since they’re very crucial.
TRANSCRIPTION: NEJAT SOCIETY