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By: Robin Murray-o'hair Re: AUM CULT LEADER AUM CULT LEADER MAY BE INDICTED by Conrad F. Goeringer Charges may be filed today, June 6, against Shoko Asahara, leader of the Japanese Aum Shinri Kyo cult implicated in a series of sarin gas attacks through the country. The religious group captured world headlines on March 20, when toxins released into the Tokyo subway killed 12 people and injured over 5,500. The attack was traced to the Aum group, an apocalyptic religious sects which mixed Christian, Buddhist and New Age mysticism and was led by self-proclaimed guru Asahara. Although he has denied involvement in the incident, cult underlings have reportedly identified him as the mastermind. The group allegedly also plotted a airborne gas attack on Toyko, and had stockpiled chemical and biological weapons along with conventional arms. Asahara taught that civilization would collapse in 1997, and organized the Aum sect to establish a "shadow government" to take over after the apocalypse. One witness implicating the partially blind religious leader is Ikuo Hayashi, a medical doctor who claims that he was one of five cultists ordered by Asahara to release the toxic gas on the Tokyo subway. He told Japanese authorities and media that he would not have done it "if it hadn't been our supreme master's order." Hayashi also told officials that Hideo Murai, the Aum's Minister of Science and Technology, said that his role in the sarin incident was an "assignment" from Asahara. In a strange twist of events, Murai was fatally stabbed out front of the Aum's Tokyo compound. While police say he was executed by a gangster, media speculates that the "hit" was really ordered by Asahara, since Murai was a key figure in implicating the guru. The Aum cult has captivated the public imagination in Japan, raising questions about how so many intelligent young people accepted the bizarre teachings and rituals of the sect. Cultists paid $200 for the "privilege" of drinking Asahara's old bathtub water and over $10,000 to wear a leather helmet wired with electrodes which allegedly tuned their brains "in sync" with the thoughts of their leader. --30-- ----------------------------------------------------------- THEISTWATCH An educational service provided by American Atheists, P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195. For information on American Atheists, e-mail: * WCE 2.0/2394 * One man's religion is another man's belly laugh.


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