On the surface, the two groups couldn’t appear any further from each other dogmatically; but scratch the surface of both, and it becomes clear that the purported — if not visibly reported — link between the Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam (NOI) is a union that makes philosophical sense.

Writing in the National Review, Bethany Mandel outlines the connection between the cult of L. Ron Hubbard and the cult of Louis Farrakhan, both begun by charismatic snake-oil salesmen and both with serious axes to grind.

Mandel notes that almost a decade ago, a writer for the Village Voice was detailing how “Farrakhan has been encouraging his members to read Hubbard’s book ‘Dianetics’, and even to get enough training in Scientology to become auditors.” And how the New Republic had explored the 2010 Dianetics seminar in Illinois that had hundreds of NOI believers taking part in Scientology’s “auditing” sessions: “a kind of hybrid between hypnosis and confession — in which a Scientologist purges painful experiences from his subconscious in the presence of an ‘auditor.'”

At the conclusion of that particular seminar, according to the New Republic report, Farrakhan expressed his desire that all NOI believers become auditors themselves. Mandel notes that a Scientology source of hers claims the two cults are in the process of forming an even stronger bond, with many NOI followers doing dual-duty and becoming actual ministers in the Church of Scientology.

And now, Scientology and the Nation of Islam are working together even more closely. An independent Scientology news service, @IndieScieNews, first tipped me off to the connection. On October 20, the Church of Scientology honored the Nation of Islam’s Tony Muhammed with its Freedom Award in Inglewood, Calif., in recognition of his “humanitarian” efforts. What, exactly, are those efforts? Muhammed travels the world showing a documentary on vaccines, claiming they cause autism. Just this week, Nation of Islam members held a blessing and naming ceremony for Tony Muhammed at the Scientology Land Base Chapel in Clearwater, Fla.

Mandel suggests that, because of the public relations hit in recent years to the Church of Scientology thanks to former members like actress Leah Remini detailing what she considers abuses by the church in the A&E docu-series Scientology and the Aftermath, a large portion of Scientology’s new members are NOI members first.

“The comingling of these two organizations, troubling and powerful in their own ways individually, should send a chill down our spines,” Mandel writes.