From one extreme

28th November 2003 at 00:00

By Alex Woolf

New Religious Movements

By Claire Mason

Wayland, pound;12.99 each

Egyptian fundamentalists issued a fatwah against Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Similar religious "certainty" has led to suicide-bombing and the works of Al Qaeda, but why does "the literal belief in a religious text" breed such acts? Alex Woolf's timely, lucid and accessible answer for secondary students studies Christian and Muslim fundamentalism and also looks at its Jewish, Sikh and even Buddhist manifestations. He looks back in history, but also takes into account Bin Laden and the Twin Towers.

Meanwhile, Claire Mason looks at Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, Scientology and the Hare Krishna movement, as well as more contemporary groupings like the "white witches" of Wicca. The main chapters consider the appeal of the sects and cults, their recruitment methods, brain-washing and the problems of leaving. Both books will be useful in citizenship and RE courses at key stages 3 and 4.

David Self

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