Anime-inspired Iraqi Doomsday Cult Might be Onto Something

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Japanese cartoon is pretty old, but it remains a huge hit with members of a militant doomsday cult in Iraq. So says a cult defector who was initially convinced to join the group by a guy who showed him an episode of Future Boy Conan (renamed in Arabic Adnan and Lina) to prove that the end of time was fast approaching. (Is that such a far-fetched concept in Iraq?) The show is premised on a global cataclysm occurring in July 2008, and apparently all the cult members—or at least the hundreds that this guy knew—are totally on board with this forecast dreamed up by Japanese anime nerds in the 1970s and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Muslim messiah this summer. Or as the U.S. calls it, the "surge."

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