“Hassan made every endeavor to occupy the areas adjacent to Alamut Castle. His conquest was centered around the declaration of propaganda, and the areas that defied his conciliations were subjected to mass killings, anesthesia, lootings, and war.”
Hassan-i Sabbah (1148?∼1124), the founder of the Order of Assassins, is one of the most mysterious and brutal religious factions in history of Islam. The Order of Assassins was an offshoot from Isma’ilism, the hawkish faction among the Shia which is the minority of Islam. The Assassins readily killed and terrorized those who stood in their way. One of their signature strategies was to select a target and disguise as his neighbor, a devoted follower, or a servant for an immediate execution of business once the order is made. Spending a long time with the target is bound to inspire some unwanted sympathy, but this never happened to the Order of Assassins.
This ghastly faith of the Assassins amplified the fear. Incredulous about their blind devotion, some chose to believe that Hassan used some dark magic or hallucination to brainwash the young followers.
Indeed, the roots of the ISIS or Al Qaeda might be found in the Order of Assassins. Some people ask why the Muslims are so stubborn and incapable of forgoing violence. The reason might be traced back to the convergence between the culture and religion of zealotry that is endemic to the region
Another factor at play is the fact that Islamic tradition and precepts preserve the tradition of tribal times. The Islam civilization nurtured a highly sophisticated urban culture boasting intelligence and reason, but on the peripheries were an isolation area that belonged to the desert tribes. Alamut Castle, Hassan’s stronghold, is in the rugged mountains of Elburz on the southern part of the Caspian Sea. And Afghanistan is merely 1000km away east from the spot.
Closed culture and victim mentality can come handy when it comes to blaming others for one’s own problems, branding a new wave as evil, and brainwashing himself into believing that removal of the evil will restore the life of comfort. In fact, any religion has their share of extremism; the real problem consists in its closedness, not the region.