Interview with “Harun Yahya”

October 21, 2009 • 10:24 am

Steve Paulson at Slate magazine snagged an interview with “Harun Yahya,” the pen name of Turkish creationist and convicted criminal Adnan Oktar.  What’s most enlightening about it is the lavish lifestyle of Oktar (where did all that money for the opulent giveaway volume Atlas of Creation come from?), and his paranoia.

I asked Oktar about his legal troubles. In 2008, he was sentenced to three years in jail for extortion and running a crime gang, a conviction he’s now appealing. Earlier he’d been charged with drug possession and sexual assault, but both cases against him fizzled. (In the 1980s, he spent 10 months locked up in a mental institution.) In response, Oktar launched into a rambling account of how he and his friends had been threatened with torture and death: “If you were given electricity or were tortured, you would sign the documents which were put in front of you. This is what we did. We would be dead otherwise.” He said he’d faced many assassination attempts and then recounted how he was once framed by a policeman who’d slipped cocaine into his kabob. Why has he been targeted? “Because I’m fighting against Darwinism, communism and other terrorist organizations.” So Darwinists are terrorists? Their work is “a Satanic plot” that nurtures terrorism around the world, “like the development of mosquitoes in mud or in ponds. So many fascist and communist leaders have stated very clearly that they have been affected by the teachings and ideals of Darwinism.”

225px-Adnan_Oktar_Agustos2007_3_09Fig. 1.  Adnan Oktar

The New Humanist also ran a profile of Oktar a while back.

20 thoughts on “Interview with “Harun Yahya”

  1. Well, I can’t be sure that he wasn’t tortured or otherwise coerced into confessing to things he didn’t do. There’s plenty of reason to hate him and want to cause him pain.

    OTOH, what could possibly give us any reason to find his claims credible? He lies shamelessly about “evolutionists,” although no more than, say, Berlinski and Stephen Meyer. Intellectual dishonesty and personal dishonesty merge in almost all of the leading anti-evolutionists, from what I can observe.

    Glen Davidson

    1. Actually, I think he has the potential to be a quite handsome man. But of course he also cultures exactly that image.

      Unfortunately, even if I could grow nice hair and beard like that, I don’t have a good skull.

    1. I had a chance to leaf through a copy of the Atlas of Creation once. In that publication, Yahya states that Darwinists were really behind the 9/11 incidents.

  2. This is a guy I have personal difficulties with. In certain parts, studious children – including mine – are routinely rewarded with his books from well-intended relatives. (Yes, WEIT junkies, I’m from one of THOSE regions). But this is the first time that I’ve seen his picture, and it startled me. This is surely lost on most of you, but his portrait is seriously useful. His lack of a “real” beard, is enough to convince the ‘Ummah’ that this guy just doesn’t qualify. Yup, it’s as simple as that. So, I plan to send the photo round. Thanks for posting this, Coyne.

    1. In Turkey, a full beard is usually regarded as a sign of religious nuttery.

      Apparently this is correct, even though Harum trims his a bit (to accord with Western images of evil, perhaps).

      I’ve assumed this guy has some rich Wahhabi backers who hope to spread their version of Islam — but this is just a guess as to where all that money comes from.

  3. I was offered an opportunity to interview this guy some time back. I didn’t see any simple way of doing without advancing his cause, so I ignored it.

    On a positive note, he’d go well playing the Dr Who villain, the Master. He really looks the part.

  4. Jerry asks, “where did all that money for the opulent giveaway volume Atlas of Creation come from?” Easy answer, petrodollars.

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