As a destructive cult of personality, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/ Cult of Rajavi) has isolated its members in its headquarters in Albania, called Ashraf 3. Members of the group are subject to entrapment, isolation from friends, family and the mainstream culture. The rare times that they are allowed to get out of the camp are for shopping. According to the defectors of the group, shopping turns to a disaster for an MEK member.
Rafigh Dehghan and Reza Mazginezhad left the MEK a few years ago. Living in Tirana, they are now members of Nejat Society Albania. In their memoirs about the suppressive atmosphere ruling the Cult of Rajavi, they talk about shopping as an activity that was a tool for mind control and manipulation.
Better not going shopping
In a video message, Reza Mazginejad, a former member of the MEK, talks about the strict structure of confession and self-criticism meetings in group. He, who is now a member of the Nejat Society Albanian branch, remembers that when he was trapped in Ashraf 3, leaving the camp and shopping in the streets of Tirana meant for him to count the facts that were in the MEK system, were known as the “Jim” facts, an MEK-built term referring to sexual thoughts. With bitter humor in his words, he explains that sometimes his mind was so busy counting and remembering Jim moments that he forgot to shop.
Every night, members of the Cult of Rajavi should report in self-criticism meetings, the cases that they experienced “Jim moment” during the day. This means that every moment they think of the affairs of normal life such as an opposite sex, they should confess it as a sin before their peers, because according to the group leaders, these moments are considered “sexual” and so that person should be punished.
In the MEK, self-criticism sessions are held seriously, persistently and regularly every night at Ashraf 3. The atmosphere of repression and peer pressure in these sessions is so intense that the members try to have something to say among the crowd every night in order to get out from under the blade of repression as soon as possible. In order to get cleansed they should be suppressed, verbally and even physically abused.
Women wearing pants dangerous for Mujaheds
Rafiq Dehghan, the other former member of the MEK, talks about his distressful memories for a simple shopping trip outside Ashraf 3. He, who is now an active member of Nejat Society, talks in a video message with a sad and frustrated tone about his strange memories of brief appearances in the free world.
According to the testimonies of this former member of the Cult of Rajavi, every time going shopping for MEK members is equal to a flood of questions about the “Jim” moments they might have experienced. Dehghan, who is nervous of recalling these memories, mentions some examples of the questions that the commanders would ask him after returning from shopping:
“How many women did you see? How many moments? Tell me who wore pants?!…”
These questions are repeated every night in the self-criticism sessions called “Night cleansing”, which distort the memoirs of the isolated space of Ashraf 3 every time. Members are forced to have answers to these questions, to confess their so-called sexual moments. To bear the criticism and oppression of the commanders and peers and finally to express regret for what they have seen and thought about.
Actually, destructive cults disregard life and even harm life. They use isolation, and phobia indoctrination to overwhelm cognition of their members. In Massoud Rajavi’s cult of personality, the commanders control who you talk to, who you see in the streets, what you read and what you watch. They victimize ordinary life in favor of their bizarre cult activities like daily self-criticism sessions called Night Cleansing. One of the MEK’s darkest practices is aimed to control sexual thoughts.
Members of the MEK are constantly under an abusive, manipulative and suppressive controlling system. The international Human rights bodies and Albanian authorities must take urgent action to stop the group leaders from violating the human rights of those who are residing in Ashraf 3 as the group’s hostages.