An interesting read. It was shared by Ustadh Alomgir and was taken from various non-Muslim sources. Some of them scarily apply to some present Muslim groups.
1. The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
3. The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel.
4. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members.
5. Deception - Group identity and/or true motives are not revealed. The group leaders tell members to withhold truth from outsiders.
6. Emotional Leverage/Love Bombing - Instant friendship, extreme helpfulness, generosity and acceptance...Group recruiters "lovingly" will not take "no" for an answer-invitations impossible to refuse without feeling guilty and/or ungrateful.
7. Crisis Creation - They employ tactics designed to create or deepen confusion, fear, guilt or doubt.
8. All The Answers - Provide simple answers to the confusion they, themselves, create. Support these answers with material produced or "approved" by the group.
9. Intense Study - Focus is on GROUP doctrine and writings.
10. Attack Independent Thought - Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful, blind acceptance encouraged.
11. Coercion - Disobedience, including even minor disagreement with group doctrine, may result in expulsion and shunning.
12. Creating a false sense of righteousness by pointing to the shortcomings of the outside world and other cults.
13. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
14. Adopt "loaded" language (characterised by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words". Usually certain cults are known for certain loaded words like: "reality" "issue" such that you only have to hear them speak for 1 minute before you know what group/cult they are from.