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  • Aum Shinrikyo, currently known as Aleph, is a Japanese cult founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984. It gained international notoriety in 1995 when it carried out the Tokyo subway sarin attack and was found to have been responsible for another smaller sarin attack the previous year. As a consequence, it is now listed as a terrorist organization by several countries. The name "Aum Shinrikyo", usually rendered in English as "Supreme Truth", derives from the Sanskrit syllable Aum, used to represent the universe, followed by the Japanese Shinrikyo written in kanji. In 2000, the organization changed its name to "Aleph" – a reference to the first letter of the Phoenician, Hebrew and Arabic alphabets – and replaced its logo. In 1995, the group claimed 40,000 members worldwide and over 9,000 members in Japan. Police consider the existing groups Aleph and Hikari no Wa to be branches of "dangerous religion". Aum Shinrikyo has been formally designated a terrorist organization by several countries and geopolitical organizations, including Canada, Kazakhstan and the United States.

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