Joined: Nov. 2005
|Apr 19th 2007 | ISTANBUL, MOSCOW AND ROME|
From The Economist print edition
The debate over creation and evolution, once most conspicuous in America, is fast going global
THE “Atlas of Creation” runs to 770 pages and is lavishly illustrated with photographs of fossils and living animals, interlaced with quotations from the Koran. Its author claims to prove not only the falsehood of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, but the links between “Darwinism” and such diverse evils as communism, fascism and terrorism. In recent weeks the “Atlas de la Création” has been arriving unsolicited and free of charge at schools and universities across French-speaking Europe. It is the latest sign of a revolt against the theories of Darwin, on which virtually the whole of modern biology is based, that is gathering momentum in many parts of the world.
The mass distribution of a French version of the “Atlas” (already published in English and Turkish) typifies the style of an Istanbul publishing house whose sole business is the dissemination, in many languages, of scores of works by a single author, a charismatic but controversial Turkish preacher who writes as Harun Yahya but is really called Adnan Oktar. According to a Turkish scientist who now lives in America, the movement founded by Mr Oktar is “powerful, global and very well financed”. Translations of Mr Oktar's work into tongues like Arabic, Urdu and Bahasa Indonesia have ensured a large following in Muslim countries.
In his native Turkey there are many people, including devout Muslims, who feel uncomfortable about the 51-year-old Mr Oktar's strong appeal to young women and his political sympathies for the nationalist right. But across the Muslim world he seems to be riding high. Many of the most popular Islamic websites refer readers to his vast canon.
Read it here.