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Destructive Cults that Use Terrorism as a Tool

Simply, it is a pyramid structured, authoritarian group which uses deceptive recruitment (no informed consent) and uses BITE (Behavior Control, Information Control, Thought Control, Emotional Control) to break a person's identity down and to rebuild a new cult identity, which is dependentand obedient. This cult identity thinks, feel, acts the way he or she is programmed to do: typically as a clone of the cult leader.

ISIS is a political cult, which uses religion as a tool to create legitimacy, but like other cults, the ideology is twisted perversion of the message of love, truth compassion and doing goodness. They promote a simplistic, black and white, us versus them, good versus evil paradigm. Be with us: you are good. You are with Allah. Otherwise,die.



Many people think of mind control as an ambiguous, mystical process that cannot be defined in concrete terms. In reality, mind control, or undue influence, refers to a specific set of methods and techniques, such as hypnosis or thought- stopping that affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts.

Like many bodies of knowledge, it is not inherently good or evil. If mind control techniques are used to empower an individual to have more choice, and authority for his life remains within himself, the effects can be beneficial. For example, benevolent mind control can be used to help people quit smoking without affecting any other behavior. Mind control becomes destructive when the locus of control is external and it is used to undermine a person’s ability to think and act independently.

As employed by the most terrorist organizations, mind control seeks nothing less than to disrupt an individual’s authentic identity and reconstruct it in the image of the leader.

The Terrorism BITE Model aims to help people determine whether or not a group or person is practicing destructive mind control as well as help people understand how these terrorist organizations suppress individual member's uniqueness and creativity. For detailed video explanation of the BITE model, Click Here.

It is important to understand that destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of the BITE Model's four components promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause. It is not necessary for every single item on the list to be present. Mind controlled terrorist victims can live in their own apartments, have nine-to-five jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently.

Destructive Mind Control is not just used by terrorist organizations. Learn about the Human Trafficking BITE Model and the Original BITE Model.

Steven Hassan, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Quilliam Foundation Co-Founder Maajid Nawaz

“Steven Hassan's new edition of Combating Cult Mind Control accurately reflects what is happening around the globe in cult organizations. I was born in a religious orthodox cult, and to liberate myself from that cult, I joined a religious leftist cult. I had a quest for truth and in the process became a victim of another cult.

Before reading the book, I was aware something was bad because it limited my potential. After reading the book and learning about the experiences of others, I understood exactly what had happened to me. I played a role in cults as the frontline leader; therefore, I was familiar with the brainwashing tactics applied in the process.

Young people across the globe are uncertain about the power imbalance in social structures. This makes them vulnerable to cult recruitment as they find a sense of salvation within it. The recruitment process manipulates uncertainties about their past and or future in order to make the cult organization relatable. Steven provides a detailed explanation on the process of cult recruitment, and in this way, readers are able to relate to his book.

Unfortunately, in a country like Pakistan where one can easily be recruited into a religious cult due to the influence religion has on the state, it is important to teach the importance of identity crisis and how to overcome it. Individuals are losing their identities in the name of religion, politics and justice. The Islamic world needs to raise awareness on characteristics of cult mentality, and the vague concept of totalitarian ideology. Steven's work needs more exposure in order to save the future generations."

Mohammed Ayub
Renaissance Foundation for Social Innovation

Freedom Of Mind Videos on Terrorism

CNN INTERVIEW with Steven Hassan on ISIS as Cult Wednesday Sept. 17th 2014. 

FoxtvNews25 Boston September 5th 2014 on ISIS Recruiting Americans to Become Terrorists.

Undue Influence Press Conference : Tackling Terrorism and Extremist Groups by Psychological Methods - Not Military Intervention.

Cult Expert, Steven Hassan Interview with CNN's Erin Burnett: Officials: Suspect Claims They Were Self-Radicalized April 23 2013.

Steven Hassan on WGBH Greater Boston with Emily Rooney 4/23/13

Steven Hassan comments on Wall Street Journal Live -04/24/2013.

Robert Örell, ex Neo-Nazi, (White Power) Member - July 2013.

Ex-MeK Masoud Banisadr Interview About His Experience in Terrorist Cult - July 2012.

Ex-MeK Masoud Banisar Talks About Treating Terrorist Groups as Cults - July 2012 

Terrorism, Cults and Mind Control Interview by Misia Landau - October 2001 

Harvard 1997 - WACO - What Went Wrong?

Aum Shinrikyo - 60 Minutes Piece With Steven Hassan

For More Videos, Please Visit

The Freedom Of Mind Video Archive

Related Articles on Terrorism

ISIS Is a Cult That Uses Terrorism: A Fresh New Strategy by Steven Hassan for Huffington Post 10/22/2014

‘Daesh’: John Kerry starts calling the Islamic State a name they hate. The Washington Post Article 12/5/14

What ISIS Really Wants.- Article from The Atlantic (03/2015)

Anti-radicalization Program Launched in Canada

Tackling terrorism and extremist groups by psychological methods - not military intervention.

Protect Americans from Terrorism- Looking Beyond Boston Marathon Bombings - 09/5/2013 - by Steven Hassan

Interview with Masoud Banisadr on MeK - 02/20/2013 - by Steven Hassan

Sovereign Citizens A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement -By the FBI’s Counterterrorism Analysis Section (September 2011)

Can Utilizing Knowledge of Cults Help Us with Terrorist Groups? by Steven Hassan 06/11/2010


Al Qaeda - Statement from Steven Hassan on the Tragic Events of Sept. 11, 2001

Al Qaeda - Cult Mind Control Techniques May Have Fueled Terrorists Statement from Steven Hassan- Sept. 17, 2001

Al Qaeda - Warning: Cults are Recruiting the Vulnerable September 20, 2001

Al Qaeda - Steven Hassan Defines Approach to Working With Jailed Terrorists October 2, 2001

Al Qaeda - John Walker: American Indoctrinated with Cult Mind Control Techniques by Taliban December 3, 2001

What was John Walker's state of mind -- a sincere convert to radical Islam, or a Marin County teenager "brainwashed" by an Afghan cult?- December 5, 2001

Al Qaeda - Letter from Steven Hassan to President George W. Bush on the ‘American Taliban’ - December 6, 2001

Saving the 'American Taliban' By Steven Hassan. Boston Globe December 19th 2001 OP- ED