March 4, 2024

Call for papers

Thirty years after the Aum Shinrikyō bombings

Colloque à l'Université de Montréal - March 20, 2025 Organized by Arnaud Palisson (Université de Montréal)
On March 20, 1995, in the Tokyo subway, members of the Aum Shinrikyō sect perpetrated a quintuple sarin gas attack; coordinated attacks that killed fourteen people, injured several thousand and left a deep imprint on Japanese civil society. This terrorist act marked the culmination of the radicalization of a New Age-type spiritual movement. Created as a modest yoga workshop in 1984, Aum Shinrikyō would, in the space of a few years, become both :

a sectarian organization committing violent crimes against its followers (extortion, kidnapping, poisoning, homicide...) and resorting to the targeted assassination of antagonists in civil society (journalists, lawyers, magistrates, policemen... ),

a criminal group manufacturing illegal drugs for the ritual consumption of its followers, and selling the surplus via the Japanese underworld,

a center for the research and manufacture of conventional and non-conventional weapons, using scientific espionage in major companies and universities to this end,

and a terrorist group, responsible for some twenty mass attacks, with the aim of bringing about the Apocalypse and then establishing a new world order for the survivors.

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