Updated Sep. 23, 2011: U.S. Federal Court Rules Filmmakers Lied About Raelians
Abdullah Hashem is still making movies, but this time the location is a little different and the subject much more serious.
A year ago Hashem wrapped up production on the movie “Apache Tears,” which used Mooresville and central Indiana for many of the scenes. Since then he has been working on a documentary about the Raelians, a religious group often called a cult, that believes the human race was started through genetic manipulation by extraterrestrials.
Hashem hopes to discredit the group and ultimately cause it to disband.
The Raelians first came to Hashem’s attention several years ago when they claimed to have cloned a baby named Eve. They have never produced the child for genetic testing to show if this is true, according to various news reports.
Hashem, a 2001 Mooresville High School graduate and IUPUI student, said it was then that he began following them in the news.
Many of their activities, which Hashem says include brainwashing members and using sex as coercion to gain access to its members’ finances, prompted him to take action.
“I’m not a religious nut, but according to my beliefs, when people wear shirts that say there is no God, I have to do something,” Hashem said.
With some help from Joe McGowen, also a 2001 Mooresville graduate, Hashem decided to attend a recruitment seminar in Las Vegas, Nev., in May where he secretly filmed activities surrounding the event. Filming of the seminars is prohibited.
McGowen actually signed up for the seminar, and Hashem said he was there for support. They witnessed people from all over the world professing their loyalty to Rael, a former French racecar driver and journalist who claims to have been visited by extraterrestrials in 1973.
Rael, originally named Claude Vorilhon, says that the extraterrestrials returned several years later and took him to their planet where he met Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed. They told him that the religious figures were all part of the Elohim, but because humans couldn’t understand their technology at the time, they allowed us to believe that the three were transcendental beings.
Rael says that the aliens, called the Elohim, told him they started the human race through genetic manipulation. Because of technological advances, humans are nearly ready to meet the Elohim, but must first build an embassy in Israel were the Elohim can land.
As McGowen and Hashem were being recruited, they said they watched highly sexual shows aimed at wooing prospective members, many of whom are disaffected from society for one reason or another. Rael teaches that sex of all kinds is good, Hashem said.
“We talked to a lot of homosexuals who said they joined because it’s the only religion not to have condemned them and they feel more comfortable there,” Hashem said.
While Rael embraces sexual expression, Hashem said they filmed Rael condemning gambling and other activities, but later followed him to a casino where they filmed him playing slot machines.
Despite believing that the group is a menace to society, McGowen said that he had a hard time keeping his head during parts of the seminar.
“You have really attractive women who are out of a lot of men’s league, and they come up to you and touch you,” McGowen said. “I was seduced by a couple of women and got in pretty deep.”
Hashem said he had to remind McGowen several times why they were there.
While they were able to get close to Rael, many of the leaders of the Raelians were suspicious of Hashem and McGowen.
“We were afraid of them and that they would find out,” Hashem said. “Some of the leaders didn’t trust us or talk to us, and one of the top guys seemed to be following us. I’m not sure that he was, but he would show up in odd places like when we were in (Las) Vegas on our own time.”
Since their undercover trip to the seminar, Hashem said that the Raelians have discovered his true purpose in attending the recruiting event. He said that he has received e-mails and phone calls threatening legal action.
Hashem feels that he has his legal bases covered, however, and that the Raelians will be unable to prevent the release of his documentary, which he says contains highly damaging evidence.
The documentary will also included footage of an interview Hashem will conduct with nationally known cult expert Rick Ross in New Jersey later in August.
When contacted, Ross wouldn’t comment on Hashem’s project, but said that the Raelians, “aren’t a good group.”
Hashem has said that they would keep the documentary under wraps, but only if Rael resigns and disbands the Raelians.
“They tried to offer us money and compensation, but we don’t want their money, we want them done,” Hashem said. “We want to keep kids from being sucked in by this.”
“I wanted to do this because, though so many people look at this and know it is insane, they have more than 60,000 members,” McGowen said. “That means people are joining them. I want this out there so that parents can see what’s going on and have a chance to protect their kids.”
E-mail to the group’s public relations representative was not returned in time for this story.
The movie was funded in part by $11,000 given to Hashem from various producers who wanted him to make the movie, including Henrik Larsson. Larsson is a Swedish producer and actor and appears in a movie called “Ghost Rock,” which can be found at local video rental stores.
However Hashem is still looking for additional sources of funding to finish and distribute the movie. Hashem said anyone who would like to help can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hashem plans to have the movie ready for release sometime this fall.