One student asks what the first act of terrorism was. I'm not sure that's a question that can be definitively answered, never mind in a couple of sentences on primetime television. That may be just a bit bigger piece than should have been bitten off. I think Toby and Josh know it, too. Toby looks at Josh and says, "What was the first act of terrorism?" Josh responds, "I could answer, but I think he's asking you, man." Toby knows he can't squirm out of this. He says he knows it's not new, and starts talking about the eleventh century. "I'm going to have trouble pronouncing this...in the eleventh century, secret followers of al-Hasan ibn al-Sabah, who were taught to believe in nothing and dare all, carried out these very swift and very treacherous murders of fellow Muslims." If they believed in nothing, how is it that the Muslims they allegedly killed were their fellows? "And they did it in a state of religious ecstasy." Again I ask: religious ecstasy for those who believe in nothing? My reading on this particular political/philosophical sect is very limited and occurred quite a long time ago, so I am sketchy on the details. But I think if the show is going to bring it up, it has an obligation to be clear and accurate about it. A cursory search of some of my reference books indicates that the members of this sect actually are alleged to have killed some of the Crusaders. I wish I had time to do more research on this at the moment. As Sam wanders in, Toby continues: "Young men between twelve and twenty were given hashish, and smuggled into -- I really don't know what to call it -- smuggled into a kind of specially designed pleasure garden complete with concubines. They were told this was Paradise and that the Master's angels would carry them back if they carried out murders of the Master's enemies." Hmm: so it sounds like they drugged them and manipulated them. What this has to do with religion, never mind Islam, which has always prohibited the use of mind-altering substances, is beyond me.
Episode Report CardDeborah: C- | 1312 USERS: C+
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