Cult of Mojahedin, the inside and outside members
Cults generally tend to function in isolation and are usually remote from the society and keep away to have direct contact with people. However, for some purposes cults need to make contact with the outside world, that is, recruiting new members, fundraising and more. Sending the members to live among the free society is even more crucial when the cult comes to be a hypocritically political one that needs the society as the wheels to push the cult forth.
Although cults cut members off from easy and tete-a-tete contact with outsiders, there are a number of members in certain cults that live out of the cult among the ordinary people to fulfill the mentioned purposes. It does not mean that these outside members can escape tense, thought reform processes executed within the cult. These members seemingly living separate from the cult are also under the severe cult control and undergo the same mechanisms that are used against the insiders to changing their behavior. Explaining the mechanism in her book entitled Cults in Our Midst, Thaler Singer states that:
In most live-in cults, every detail of life comes under group scrutiny. For example, there are dress codes, food restrictions, and enforced marriages or relationships. In such cults, the members generally live together at the headquarters or at specified locations around the country or over, seas and work for cult-owned enterprises. However, there are also cults whose devotees appear to remain active in quite a few major aspects of the outside world, earning a living outside the cult. But for all practical purposes these individuals also live under rules governing such crucial features of their personal life as the people with whom they associate, what happens to their money, whether they raise their own children, and where they live. (p. 11)
At the present, Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO/MEK/PMOI), or Mojahedin Cult as it is notoriously referred to, may be the sole political cult of personality that avails big number of live-in and live-out members. The group’s main bastion being located in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, its headquarters are situated in Auvers-Sur-Oise in Paris with countless aliases aiding the cult in fundraising activities, recruitment, propaganda blitz, organizing rallies and so forth. Thus, it is of great importance to know:
– Under what aliases the cult is running its illegal activities
– How the members and sympathizers in these affiliated groups are controlled and receive cult instructions
– How essential are these cult relations to the cult
– What is the difference between the mechanisms applied against the Camp Ashraf live-ins and those living in the Western countries
– How crucial is the role of Camp Ashraf to establish contact with the outside world and the live-out members
As released by the State Department Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism on April 30, 2007 MKO is active under a variety of pseudonyms known as MKO; Mujahedin-e Khalq; Muslim Iranian Students’ Society; National Council of Resistance; National Council of Resistance (NCR); Organization of the People’s Holy Warriors of Iran; The National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA); The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI); National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI); Sazeman-e Mujahedin-e Khalq-e Iran.
However, these are not all aliases but those officially announced. To the list can be added numerous political, social, charity, art and much more groups and societies wherein hardly you can trace them back to the mother group. They all function according to the taste and culture of the societies among whom they live and mostly propagate under democratic standards. For instance, the women and girls officially active as MKO insiders are forced to wear outfits covering all their body parts and the head. Even Maryam Rajavi herself in spite of dressing in colorful non-transparent outfit never shows in the public bareheaded. But there are many occasions in which women sympathizers and activists assemble in extravagant western fashions in favor of MKO.
It has to be also mentioned that many of these sympathizers are unaware of the real nature of MKO and work as propaganda tools to beguile the Westerners. As soon as they are recruited as the formal members, they have to consent to cult principles that includes the clothing as well. And Camp Ashraf is the very same remote bastion of the cult housing the live-in members and where the cult standards are outlined and demarcated for the active outsiders in the West.