A Review On Harun Yahya”s Global Effect

There was a long review on the effects of Harun Yahya”s works on the April edition of Literary Review, the monthly supplement of The Australian, Australia”s newspaper with the highest circulation, where book reviews are published. Some of the statements in the review were as such:

but more influential globally, is the Islamic creationist movement that has swept the Muslim world in the past decade… Based in Istanbul under the leadership of the wealthy and eccentric Adnan Oktar…

By far the most influential exponent of Islamic creationism during the past two decades is Turkish writer and entrepreneur Oktar, whose numerous works appear under the pen name Harun Yahya. Unmistakable in his brilliant white suits, Versace T-shirts, well-trimmed beard and shades, Oktar hardly fits the stereotype of an Islamic scholar or fundamentalist… Oktar established himself as an authority on Islamic creationism… His most insistent message is that most of the world”s problems since the early 20th century can be attributed to Darwinism. "Darwinism," he argues "is the main foundation for all destructive ideologies that have brought disasters on humanity in our age".

Unlike many other writers of his ilk, Oktar celebrates the common Abrahamic origins of Christianity, Islam and Judaism and advocates an alliance between people of the book to bring about peace on earth. He sees this happening under a Turkish-Islamic union encompassing North Africa, the Middle East, south and central Asia and Islamic Southeast Asia.

Oktar”s publications are beautifully produced and illustrated but are anything but scientific. His best-known work is his 750-page Atlas of Creation which was distributed free and unsolicited to thousands of libraries and research institutes across the world in 2006. On page after page, ancient fossils are displayed next to living creatures to drive home the point that the world is exactly as it was on the day of creation.

Another favourite theme of Oktar”s is the supposed absence of "" in the fossil record. Oktar”s endowment has offered a reward of $ 8.5 billion to anyone who comes up with a fossil of a transitional form that proves evolution… The main source of his influence, though, is his phenomenally canny use of the internet and social media.

Google Islamic creationism and the chances are that the top 20 items will be by or about Harun Yahya. He operates a plethora of websites in more than 50 languages that offer free downloads of high-resolution books, videos, images and screensavers configured for iPod, iPhone and iPad. Harunyahya. tv carries nonstop interviews and documentaries while Harun Yahya Radio streams 24/7 in five languages. Strings of social media icons from Facebook to FriendFeed adorn his web pages.

Web-tracking software shows that while Harun Yahya”s main site, Harunyahya. com, is popular in Turkey, the US, Britain, Algeria, Pakistan and India, its largest audience is Indonesia, accounting for almost one-quarter of users. Harun Yahya has given special attention to Indonesia, visiting at least once and speaking publicly of his hope that Indonesia will lead an Islamic renaissance in the eastern hemisphere. Harun Yahya is a household name in Indonesia. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is an unashamed fan, referring to him in a 2008 speech at the state palace as a "very famous Turkish writer and intellectual who has written dozens of works… which have become reference books for Muslims and non-Muslims the world over". When Indonesia”s bestselling novelist Andrea Hirata was asked by a magazine to name his favourite books he answered: "Anything by Harun Yahya".  More than 100 of Harun Yahya”s books and videos have been translated into Indonesian and, thanks to the internet, they are available even in the remotest towns.

Researchers Jason Wiles and Anila Asghar from Canada”s McGill University travelled to Pakistan and Indonesia in 2006 as part of a Project on evolution education. In focus groups at high schools in Kalimantan, West Sumatra and Yogyakarta they found Harun Yahya books were widely used as reference material not only by the students but also by their biology teachers. Indeed, they reported that most of the teachers they spoke to in Indonesia did not believe in the evolutionary theory they were employed to teach… Taufikurrahman, a biologist at the prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology and a supporter of Harun Yahya, proposed changing the biology curriculum in Indonesia…