MKO and Batinis, two cults with identical projects of sterilization
The disclosing speech of Nasrin Ebrahimi in the European Parliament on the latest cult approach of MKO in making women infertile, as another phase of the ideological revolution of Mojahedin, gives a clear picture of cultic malevolent practices committed within the cult of Mojahedin. The fact that Ms. Ebrahimi has escaped from Camp Ashraf refusing to undergo the hysterectomy indicates that evidently there are many other female members forced to have the surgery; therefore, this case is to be pursued legally. Having another look at the numerous similarities found between the approaches adopted by MKO leaders and those of notorious historical cults may clarify the real cultic nature of MKO.
Sterilization is one of the strategies adopted by leaders of certain cults. It has taken two forms in cultic relations, i.e. mental and physical. Mental sterilization is accomplished through the very same brainwashing techniques and thought reform, a common practice in almost all cultic groups, and MKO in particular, as acknowledged by a great number all former members. In addition, there are evidences that physical sterilization by means of hysterectomy is a frequently used procedure in MKO, a technique analogous to that of the cult of Batinis, a historical and notorious Iranian cult. The process of convincing or forcing members to undergo this operation has its own mechanisms and features on which due investigation is to be carried out. Interestingly, MKO leaders resort to explanations for their inhuman deed that are similar to those of the leaders of the historical cult of Batinis. What follows are instances of excuses made by the leaders of Batinis to convince follower to give their assent emasculation.
In a discussion between Musa Neishaburi (a newcomer to Alamut castle) and Shirzad Fahestani (commander of Alamut castle), Fahestani made an attempt to justify the reason why members of Alamut castle had to be emasculated, stating:
Emasculation is a kind of test, an assessment to find out whether a disciple is ready to sacrifice everything for his faith and Batinist brothers as well. It is not so difficult to sacrifice one’s life since there are many who freely offer to die on the rise of emotions. But it is too difficult to have control over one’s lusts. It is a touchstone to test the extent of one’s sacrifice of his lusts for the cause and interests of the group. 1
The devoted followers were required to give up sexual urges and yearn to prove loyalty to the group and leadership. An idea prevailed that the disciples had to act like bees that thought of nothing but their own duty and who had to serve the leader, Hasan Sabbah, at the top of the hierarchy and whose advantages were beyond anybody’s reach and question. In the course of their controversy, Musa asked Shirzad why Hasan Sabbah was excluded from what others had no rights to. He said:
‘You told me yesterday that the Lord of Alamut is married. You meant why you cannot get married while he can. Have you read the Arabic books on bees in the school of Nezamieh?’ Musa answered, ‘Yes, I have’. Shirzad asked him, ‘what was written there about their breeding?’ Musa answered: ‘bumblebees are killed and the females remain alive.’ Shirzad stated, ‘it is so since after that bees engage in nothing but making honey. Likewise, absolute devotees have to make efforts just to do the duties appointed for them. Batinist devotees should not be considered inferior to that of bees. 2
Musa was not convinced and asked for more explanation calling sterilization a kind of heresy. Here Khorshid-kolah, another theoretician of the cult of Hasan Sabbah, referred to issues like the requirements of that particular period of time and the omniscience of their leader as two more grounds demanding the process of sterilization:
Our lord is an all-knowing vicegerent and thus he can issue orders not issued before. Each time has its own necessities and now is a time when followers have to be made without posterity to think of nothing but being sacrificed for their faith. 3
In addition to theoretical reasoning, cult leaders resort to other levers in order to convince initiates to stay with the cult, or in Batinists case, submit to be emasculated. Hardly a Batinist initiate wished to withdraw after experiencing the pleasures offered to him but doubt was unforgivable and could be deterred only by death. As observed in the dialogue between Musa and Fahestani:
Shirzad looked at young Musa and said, ‘have you changed your mind to be an absolute devotee?’ He answered, ‘not yet discouraged but in doubt.’ Shirzad said that doubt leads to withdrawal. Musa asked him what came if he refused to join the group and the commander answered, ‘Then, we will kill you.’ 4
Altogether, there were many more threats of retribution than promises of felicity and the general tone was uncompromising and tough. Candidates for initiation would have needed to be serious and determined and allegiance had to be unquestionably blind. The following argument of Fahestani on the fact that a follower was not allowed to have contention concerning the issued orders of the leaders is reminiscent of the reasons mentioned by Rajavi in his lecture on the ideological revolution of Mojahedin in 1980:
The discussion between Musa Neishaburi and Shirzad Fahestani, the commander of Tabas castle, on the philosophy of emasculation came to a point where Shirzad got angry and told Musa, “Are you contending?’ Musa answered, ‘Please forgive me, I wasn’t to contend but I wanted to learn something.’ The commander said, ‘Those who want to learn have no place here to become absolute devotees. You had to learn in the school of Nezamieh where you came from not here. This is a place where you have just to obey what is said.’ 5
The intellectual discrimination is another factor differentiating between leaders and followers. The acknowledged intellectual gifts of a cult leader frustrate any form of raised controversy by followers; he is the one whose wisdom rationalizes what might be irrational to others:
One of the members of the castle called Khorshid-kolah told Musa, ‘Do you think you understand more than others do and those who have consented to be emasculated do not understand? Sometimes only one among hundred thousands is intellectually gifted. This is the reason why only a handful of men in a generation become scientists. God grants not wisdom to all humans equally. 6
Then, why enforced emasculation in the cult of Batinis could not take the form of hysterectomy in the cult of Mojahedin? Mojahedin too have tried a variety of justification to convince those who underwent the operation. Added to the comments made by Nasrin Ebrahimi on the obligatory illegal action of sterilization practiced within MKO, the law enforces that no experiment have be performed without the consent of participants. Therefore, it is evident that Mojahedin are involved in another law-breaking activity opposed to international codes. According to Dr. Singer:
Professionals engaged in legitimate supervised medical and psychological research are held to certain standards that have been in place since the end of World War II and the establishment of the Nuremberg code of ethics, which states that in any setting where any type of human experimentation is done, the experiment cannot be performed without the informed consent of those who are to be participants. In getting this consent, the experimenters are to explain everything that will or may happen as a consequence of the person’s coming into the experimental program, and the person must be fully capable of understanding those consequences. 7
It seems that none of western legal enforcements can stop violation of human rights by the cult of Mojahedin. The negative consequences of a cultic group’s activity that challenges the social health fails to be a cost totally paid by the public; the responsibility of the governments are even greater since they act as their nations representative to protect them against whatever challenges them regardless of political interests.
1. Amir, Paul. Hasan Sabbah: the Lord of Alamut.
7. Thaler Singer, Margaret, Cults in our midst, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; A Wiley Imprint, p.79.