From Jim Jones and the People’s Temple to Fetullah Gülen and his terror-cult

Published 30.08.2016 18:51
Updated 04.09.2016 11:53
From Jim Jones and the People’s Temple to Fetullah Gülen and his terror-cult

What do Jim Jones and Fetullah Gülen have in common? Granted, both Jones and Gülen are from completely different branches of different religions, Jones being Christian, Gülen a Muslim, but they both carry an eerily similar agenda. For one thing they were both religious leaders and founders of their very own cults. Both men also used their charisma as head religious figures to attract people who were vulnerable or disenfranchised from society for various reasons.

While Jones gained infamy due to the mass murder-suicide of 918 members of his religious cult, the Peoples Temple, which took place in November 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana, Gülen has gained the attention of the global masses nearly 40 years later after staging an attempted coup to overthrow Turkey's democratically elected government on July 15, 2016, leaving over 200 dead.

Can all this just be a coincidence? Perhaps, but when we dig deeper into both cults more comparisons can clearly be made. Fetullah Gülen claims to be the Mahdi - the savior who will appear before Judgment Day - while Jim Jones was famously the self-proclaimed messiah of the Peoples Temple, his religious cult headquarters. Gülen promises his followers paradise if they follow him and similarly Jones promised his followers' utopia if they followed him.

More similarities - to help build his following, Jones bought time on a local AM radio station to air his sermons. Gülen took his advertising one step further and established his own newspaper, Zaman, the private Bank Asya, the Samanyolu TV television station, and many other media and business organizations, including the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in order to spread his influence in Turkish society and politics.

In comparispon to Jones' cult, the Gülen terror-cult has hundreds of thousands of members, who all seem to believe that the former cleric has some special divine guidance and wisdom.

Members from the group's inner circle have said that they see him as the "the Mahdi," or the chosen one. This belief has caused the community to become very tight knit, and makes them fully obedient to Gülen. There's no room for any dissent, let alone criticism - if Gülen says 'jump' the members ask 'how high?' and if Gülen orders 'takeover', what happens? A coup attempt follows.

Gülen's terror-cult is willing to place itself above the law, making it extremely dangerous in Turkey and, in particular, posing much more danger than Jim Jones ever did. For one, Jones didn't order his followers to infiltrate the state instiutions of an entire government - he simply ammased a few thousand vulnerable followers. Gülen's aims, on the other hand, are the take over of the whole of Turkey.

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