This study examines the concerted efforts of anticult movement (ACM) actors to weave narratives of cult brainwashing and mind control into the tragic events of 9/11. Key ACM leaders launched a national media campaign capitalizing on widespread fears and apprehensions surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks in an effort to control the framing of the incident as just another form of cult violence and al-Qaeda operatives as brainwashed cultists. By analyzing ACM websites, press releases, media interviews with ACM actors and news stories citing anticult figures as experts, it can be shown how specific framing tasks were employed, targets identified, motives imputed and strategic policy solutions proposed. Indeed, movement activists lobbied to promote the ACM interpretive framework as a master frame and universal strategy to combat radical Islamic terrorism. However, the ACM media campaign was severely hampered by critical social and political obstacles and in the end fell short of movement expectations. The factors impeding movement success are examined and overlapping conceptual issues involving religious movements and terrorism are discussed.
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