Marco Polo had recorded in his travelogue exploits of the original group of Fidayeen, nearly 1,000 years ago that were a product of drugs and deceit. The great similarity between them and those we face today is that both were brainwashed with false promise of paradise. The original Fidayeen were created by Hasan bin Sabah (1034-1124) to assassinate political rivals, princes, rulers and emirs. The word 'assassin' originated from heshashin, meaning those hooked on drugs like hashish. The assassins of Hasan Bin Sabah were promised entry to paradise. To convince his followers, Hasan had actually constructed a 'paradise' complete with beautiful damsels acting as hoors. The followers were drugged and then taken to this 'paradise' where they lazed in luxury of beautiful surroundings in the stupor of hashish. After a day or two, they were drugged again and brought back to 'earthly life'. Once convinced about the promise of paradise, these fidayeen were ready to die at command of the master of paradise. The group continued the reign of terror for several generations. Even the great Salahuddin Ayubi had to take special personal protection to escape attacks by fidayeen. Marco Polo visited Almut, the fortress constructed by Hasan and has narrated the story of Hasan Bin Saba and his paradise in his travelogue. It is said Hasan bin Sabah and Omar Khayam were friends in their youth but went their different ways. Omer Khayam wrote about eternal love in poetry of heavenly eloquence and music. Hasan spewed hatred against princes of his time and shed innocent blood using the allure of his magical paradise as a weapon. -KHALID A., London, UK, via e-mail, September 25.