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June 13, 2002

Al Qaeda: Terrorist Organization or

Al Qaeda: Terrorist Organization or Really Mean Cult?

This recent article in the New York Times brought up some interesting thoughts for me. It stirred both my anger and my patriotism, and swirled them together until they created an interesting blend of emotions. More Americans have been arrested in Pakistan under suspicion of being members of Al Qaeda. What could possibly have gone so wrong in these people’s lives that they moved half way around the world and joined this group? We all have bad days and disagree with people, but why join Al Qaeda? Did they just want to beat women, or perhaps the lure of never having to shave again was too exciting to pass up?

Look, we all have differences with people. For example, I do not particularly care for the way the Chinese government treats its citizens. Their human rights record is less than exemplary, yet I am still able to go out and eat sesame chicken without leading a protest. I am able to separate the two and realize that the leaders of the government and the guy cooking my egg roll are not the same person. These dudes killed thousands of innocent people who simply represented things they detest. If you don’t like that our country is wealthy, or if you don’t like it that women here do not have to wear a blanket when they are in public, then stay out, move or shut up. I do not understand how Al Qaeda went from inviting us to help them to blowing up the WTC. There seems to be a quantum leap between the two actions.

I have yet to see one beard that looks nice among Al Qaeda members. I probably would not like to eat the same things they do (camel hoof and snake lips). I would not like to live where I could be caned in the middle of the street, or where I might be told that I couldn’t watch Cheers, play Yahtzee, or sing in the shower. I do not agree with many of the customs of other countries……….but I do not care to blow your shit up either. Live and let live, you a#$%!holes!!!

All of these things have led me to believe that we should view the Al Qaeda as a cult. Here are a few reasons why. There are usually 3 characteristics shared by most cults.
1. Intensely shared and bonding beliefs. It is easy to recognize that members of Al Qaeda have a number of beliefs that are shared among its members, not the least of which is that America is evil.
2. They often involve religious expectations about a dramatic world change. This is a group of fundamentalists that would rather see the end of the world than for America to prosper.
3. A high degree of group cohesiveness and social regimentation within an authoritarian structure, headed by a charismatic leader. Like it or not, Osama Bin Laden must be charismatic to some degree. You don’t get that many supporters just because you can afford to throw a kick ass party (MC Hammer not included).

Perhaps if we view Al Qaeda as a cult it would help us put into perspective some of their actions and recruiting techniques. They prey on people who are dissatisfied with their lives, who are looking for something, people who are lonely, sick, and looking for spiritual support. Al Qaeda is all too willing to provide that support, but only if you are willing to blow yourself up in some horrific act of violence. I just hope that the 70 virgins who were waiting for those bastards in eternity were really, really ugly.

Posted by Woundwort at June 13, 2002 10:53 AM | TrackBack
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