School teaches creationism using a video produced by anti-Semitic sex cult leader

Harun Yahya. © Murad Sezer
Youngstown, Ohio students are learning creationism alongside evolution with a video produced by Adnan Oktar, the leader of an alleged creationist Islamic sex cult in Turkey, who also denied the Holocaust.

Adnan Oktar – better known as Harun Yahya – is a Turkish televangelist for Islam that does not believe in evolution or the Holocaust. While that’s all well and good for him and those who believe in his way of thinking, the question remains as to why his material is being used to educate public school students in Youngstown, Ohio.

The video he created focuses on the Cambrian Explosion, which he claims “totally invalidates the theory of evolution.” The Cambrian Explosion is an appearance in the fossil record of “most major animal body plans about 543 million years ago,according to Biologos.

PBS explains that many scientists believe that this was due to “the increase in oxygen that began around 700 million years ago, providing fuel for movement and the evolution of more complex body structures” along with a mass extinction prior to the Cambrian that could have created openings in the ecology of the planet.

Anne Ross Solberg, an expert on Oktar, told the Daily Beast that Yahya “undoubtedly takes inspiration from American-style creationism, Yahya creationism is far from just an American import.

No, in fact, his creationism goes beyond the US’ “teach the controversy” method of promoting creationism in schools, going in a far more Kimmy Schmidt direction.

Oktar appears on A9 TV in Turkey, often seen surrounded by blonde women in bold makeup and tight shirts who he refers to as his “kittens,” while offering them as examples of evidence that God’s paradise is real and not the result of many hours in a hair and makeup chair. When Oktar is not on A9 TV, he is busy owning the station, according to Slate.

Aside from his religious, or cult, following, Oktar is also known for running a blackmail ring that uses young girls as favors for men of influence at sex parties. Charges against him claim that these encounters were filmed to use against the aforementioned dignitaries. Reuters reported he was convicted of running an illegal organization for personal gain in 2008, but the Daily Beast reported that the conviction was overturned in 2010.

Oktar often refers to himself as Harun Yahya – although it is also the name of his group. He frequently publishes under that name, including an book entitled The Holocaust Deception: The Hidden Story of Nazi-Zionist Collaboration and the Inner Story of the Hoax of “Jewish Holocaust,” though he has since disavowed it.

Oddities surrounding Harun Yahya aside, the question of how a video based on Islamic creationist ideology found its way into a Youngtown classroom remains unanswered.

Former presidential hopeful Ohio Governor John Kasich has been a vocal proponent of teaching creationism alongside evolution since 2010, according to Salon. Perhaps this is what opened the door to the Youngstown City School District trying to “teach the controversy” of creation science.

Since February 1, Ohio State has been in charge of the Youngstown Public School District, appointing a chief executive with the power to determine and set curriculum, according to the Washington Post. Kasich’s administration allowed the chief executive to aggressively take control of the school district.