|Notorious Turkish creationist (and aspiring |
Bond villain) Adnan Oktar
So, with that in mind, I thought I'd pass on something I just read on Reuters, reporting on a trip to France by a group of Oktar's associates, who are peddling their leader's ideas in a 10-date pseudoscientific tour. In addition to holding conferences in Muslim centres in Paris and six other French cities, the group have visited a privately-run Islamic school. Reuters' Tom Heneghan explains:
At a Muslim junior high school in this north Paris suburb, about 100 pupils – boys seated on the right, girls on the left – listened as two Turks from Harun Yahya's headquarters in Istanbul denounced evolution as a theory Muslims should shun.As is pointed out in the Reuters piece, France has had its run-ins with Oktar in the past. In 2007, the French Education Minsitry reacted to the distribution of the Atlas of Creation to French schools by instructing headteachers to remove the copies from circulation, a move which Oktar cohort Sadun likened to Nazi book-burning in this weekend's lecture.
"We didn't descend from the apes," lecturer Ali Sadun told the giggling youngsters. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, he said, was "the scientific basis to defend atheism."
While French secularism – laïcité – means the Harun Yahya network must confine their activities to private Muslim institutions, that's faint consolation for the educations of the 100 children present at the Paris lecture. "As a Muslim school, we're lucky to have people who give us tools for this debate," one teacher told them. "This is very important for you and for your pride."