Aum accused of encouraging murder in sermon book

Kyodo (Japan), Dec. 9, 2002

TOKYO — The Public Security Investigation Agency said the sermon book of the Aum Shinrikyo cult encourages murder in a request filed with the Public Security Examination Commission, according to the commission’s official newsletter released Monday.

The request, filed earlier this month, said the current cult representative, Fumihiro Joyu, is basing sermons on a book titled “The final speech of the great master” to justify the 1994 nerve-gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Joyu, 40, is saying the incidents were acts of charity conducted to help victims of the attacks rid themselves of their sins and uses the book to order cult followers to relieve all souls from “evil acts,” according to the request. It added that the only way to accomplish the order is to kill.

The agency filed the request Dec 2 to extend the surveillance period by three years, which will expire in January next year, on the grounds that Chizuo Matsumoto, the cult founder accused of having masterminded the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, “still wields power over the cult” and can order indiscriminate mass killings.

The agency also said the cult advocated a secret doctrine ordering followers to kill.

Matsumoto, 47, known to his followers as Shoko Asahara and the great master, has been on trial since April 1996 for his role in the March 20, 1995 subway attack that left 12 people dead and thousands injured, as well as the 1994 attack in Matsumoto which left seven people dead and more than 100 others injured and other crimes attributed to Aum. He has denied the charges.

A liaison association of cities and towns hosting facilities of the cult, which now calls itself Aleph, on Monday filed a request with the agency and the commission to extend the surveillance period, saying there are signs the cult is starting recruitment activities and increasing anxieties of local residents.

Meanwhile, Joyu said at a news conference at the cult’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on Monday after the agency’s request was published, that Aleph is not connected to its predecessor at all.

Joyu said his group strictly bans placing pictures of Asahara on its alters. He added that although the group does not ban individual followers from carrying Asahara’s pictures, it does not cause problems.

About the use of the book of sermons, Joyu said the group is preparing a new book for its followers.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday December 9, 2002.
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