Academic Reading 10
FROM HASHSHASHIN TO ASSASSIN
The adoption of assassination as a political weapon derives from the Islamic world of the 11th century. A secret order of Muslims was founded in Persia in about 1090 by a man named Hasan-e Sabbah. After gaining control of a mountain fortress near the Caspian Sea, Hasan founded a sect to fight his political enemies by means of murder. Hasan and his followers were known as Nizaris and belonged to the Isma’ili branch of Islam. For two centuries this secret organisation terrorised the Middle East. Hasan, who gained the nickname Old Man of the Mountains from his fortress hideaway, is said to have given his followers a vision-inducing drug called hashish, made from Indian hemp. The visions of Islamic paradise brought on by the drug persuaded his disciples that they would have a glorious afterlife if they followed Hasan’s orders and killed his enemies. The killers were called Hashshashin, the plural of a word meaning “one who smokes hashish.” This name was eventually corrupted into its present form, Assassins.
1-The passage describes how Hasan-e Sabbah ……… .
A) sold the drug made from Indian hemp called hashish
B) founded the Isma’ili branch of Islam
C) fought against Persian terrorists
D) was eventually killed by one of his enemies
E) established a group of Muslims called Nizaris
2-The group of killers referred to in the passage were originally called by a name meaning …….. .
A) people who use a particular drug
B) the old men of the mountains
C) those headed for paradise
D) the name of a mountain fortress
E) the secret order of Muslims
3-According to the passage, for two hundred years the Nizaris……………. .
A) ran a drug smuggling operation which brought hashish from India
B) led a secret life in silence and prayer as part of the Isma’ili Muslims
C) instilled fear into the inhabitants of the Middle-East
D) established a political system in the Islamic world
E) built a magnificent fortress beside the Caspian Sea