The New MIVILUDES Report: Bad Methodology, Unreliable Results
Privileging the saisines (i.e., reports by those who write to denounce a “cultic deviance”) may only lead to biased conclusions.
by Massimo Introvigne
The MIVILUDES, the French Inter-ministerial mission for monitoring and combating cultic deviances (dérives sectaires), which is now part of the Ministry of the Interior, published last week its report for the years 2018–2020.
Like Diogenes wandering with his lantern in search of an honest man, the MIVILUDES wanders around France with the anti-cult ideology as its lantern looking for dishonest “cultic deviances.” Dérives sectaires is a quintessentially French formula and invention, of which MIVILUDES is no less proud than of the Tour Eiffel. It comes out handy to find “cultic” dangers even where no “cult” (which should be translated into French with the corresponding derogatory word, secte) exists.
The report does include some informative parts, mostly found in the pages devoted by researcher Bilel Ainine to the Muslim folk therapeutic practices of roqya and hiyama, although even here the use of an anti-cult and police jargon makes an