Cults look fairly attractive from the outside since their colorful attractions prevent you from understanding the nature of the “cult”. But when we delve too deeply into them, we will discover the unseen aspects that the cults do not want to be known. Cult leaders seek deceptive recruitment techniques and seek to take control all aspects of members’ lives. Cults utilize sophisticated brainwashing and recruitment techniques, which have become highly advanced after the spread of social networks.
Most people who are attracted to cults are almost unaware of the nature of the group they are trying to join or think that they can be safe from the cults’ strict and conventional controls. However, it has been proved to be a failed experience, to the extent that most cult members do not even discern that they are involved in cultish relations. They do not understand their position and the internal relations of cults are designed in such a way that it is impossible to escape.
To remove the attractive shell of cults, it is necessary to know how they operate and what techniques they use. In most cults, “ideology” is used as a cover for control techniques. One of the cults known to the Iranian people is the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, which presents itself as a political opposition group but is in fact a terrorist group that acts as a cult in organizing and recruiting individuals. The terrorist cult uses Islam as a cover and Shiism as a tool to maintain its framework and structure as its origin is a Muslim country (Iran) and most of its members were formerly Shiites.
Mandatory organizational clothes for controlling members
One of the principles of Islam and Shiism is the hijab and head covering of women, but the MEK uses this tactic as a means of controlling individuals.
In a free society, people can believe in whatever they want, say whatever they think, and wear whatever clothes and color they want, but this is not the case in cults. The women at the headquarters of this group must wear uniforms with a specific color and even the fabric had been specified by the leaders of the group. Outside this framework, they were out of choice.
“Women who entered the cult were told very openly: The headscarf is the official (i.e., mandatory) form of this organization,” said Zahra Sadat Mirbagheri; a dissident member of the MEK.
Majid Mohammadi, a current member of the MEK says, “The red color of the headscarf in the MEK’s uniform is borrowed from Marxism. The green uniform also belonged to the Castro and Che Guevara wars in Cuba. The hijab of MEK women, although a part of Shari’a, is merely a declaration of allegiance to the religion of the masses.”
“In this cult, hijab is limited to headscarf, women are not allowed to use other types of clothing such as shawls or hats, etc. Khaki was allowed only in certain places, and if someone wanted to wear a red or khaki scarf outside the MEK propaganda gatherings, he would be given a reprimand,” Zahra Sadat Mirbagheri said.
According to the memoirs of MEK defectors in the 1960s, a number of girls and boys lived and worked side by side in the group’s “team houses”. Sexual relations in these buildings indicate a lack of practical and systematic belief in Islamic principles in the group. However, in public, members have never been allowed to remove the hijab or have never had the right to choose its color.
In the following years, after the relocation of MEK members to Europe (France; Auvers-Sur-Oise), then Iraq (Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty and other camps), and finally Albania (Camp Manez) and the establishment of organizational camps to maintain and deepen relationships, none of the female members of the group, even in all women’s environments, dormitories, and restaurants, are allowed to remove their hijab. While there have been several cases of Massoud Rajavi’s non-compliance with the basic principles as hijab and other moral issues, such as raping female members of the leadership council. This has been narrated many times in various forms by MEK defectors.
Creating guilt and mind control by character assassination
Leaders of the terrorist cult hold daily, weekly, and occasional ideological cleansing sessions to strictly control the individuals’ feelings and emotions and their performance. This was designed also to continuously evaluate members and take away the slightest time for thinking and provide the ground for their absolute obedience by destroying their human dignity and personality and creating a personality vacuum.
“In Rajavi’s organization, women have no right to remove headscarves. If women expose their hair a little, they would receive warnings at first, and then they would receive insulting labels,” Zahra Sadat Mirbagheri said.
Self-immolation of members
One of the most blatant examples of the group’s cultish behavior is several self-immolations by its deceived members in European countries in protest of Maryam Rajavi the group leader’s arrest, in 2003. Several people were killed and wounded, and the European media has long analyzed the cultish behavior.
All that has been said, along with other cultish tactics, such as forced and organizational marriages, coerced sterilizations, bans on love and marriage, bans on family relationships, fear, and intimidation, mind and information control, planning for round-the-clock work, and holding glorious gatherings has turned the organization into a cult with a terrorist function that is far more dangerous than a normal terrorist group.
by Mohammad Mahdi Mirzaei – Quds Online – Translated by Habilian Association