|Muslim terrorists are Darwinists, according to Adnan Oktar, an Islamic believer and a prominent creationist in Turkey, who wants to eradicate Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Asked if Osama bin Laden followed Darwinism, Oktar replied, "Things are not what they seem to be. You do not see that appearance and style in such people in their youth. Yet, when their actual faith is scrutinized, it emerges that they are genuine materialists and Darwinists. It is impossible for a person who fears Allah to commit terrorist acts because of his faith."
Oktar told Spiegel, "Such acts are committed by people who were educated abroad, who received a Darwinist education and who internalized Darwinism, but who later called themselves Muslims. When scrutinized carefully, when their speech and essays are carefully analyzed, we see that all these people are Darwinists."
A self-identified intellectual, Oktar is the author of The Atlas of Creation. He criticizes evolutionists by claiming species have not evolved and uses the levers of political power to attack opponents.
Times Online reported last week that Oktar successfully forced Turk Telecom, Turkey's Internet provider, to ban the Web site of Richard Dawkins, a leading British evolutionary biologist and atheist.
Earlier this year, Oktar failed in his attempt to ban in Turkey Dawkins' book The God Delusion.
"I am at a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the breath-taking inanity of the content," Dawkins said in July about Oktar's anti-evolution book.
Oktar's pen name is Harun Yahya, which is the combination of Harun or Aaron and Yahya or John, the names of two prophets who struggled "against infidelity," according to his official Web site. That site contains numerous celebrity-styled photographs of Oktar, including one of him posing in a white suit and sunglasses sitting at an ocean-front table.
In response to Spiegel's question about intelligent design, Oktar said he disliked this approach.
"I find the concept of intelligent design rather dishonest," he said. "One should openly stand up for the existence of Allah, should sincerely stand up for religion, for Islam. Or, if one is a Christian, one should honestly stand up for Christianity. This is a theory which claims that things have somehow been created, but it is unknown who created them. I find this rather dishonest, actually. The followers of intelligent design should openly and clearly declare the existence of Allah as the Creator."
Oktar said that next year on the 150th anniversary of Darwin's publication of On the Origin of Species that Darwinism would "collapse."
"People will be stunned at how they believed in Darwinism. They will be amazed at how they were taken in by such a hoax for years. They will also be astonished at themselves and at how hundreds, thousands of universities around the world and hundreds, thousands of professors backed such a hoax, and how they were deceived by Satan's plot," he said.
As expressed by Oktar, Islamic creationists share common ground with Christian creationists.
Islamic and Christian creationists read their sacred texts literally, making the Qur'an and the Bible function as science books instead of books about morality, spirituality and salvific concerns. Islamic and Christian fundamentalists value their faith texts as being about the how and when of creation.
Many Christians reject such an imposition on their core faith document, making the Bible address a subject it is not intended to address. They often say that the creation accounts in Genesis are about who and why, not how and when. Given the rich history of scientific achievement within Islam, many Muslims thinkers no doubt have a similar take on the Qur'an.
Islamic and Christian creationists hold a hostile view toward the prevailing scientific consensus and force their followers to make a false choice. Followers must decide between either a literal, religious truth or an alleged scientific deception. The both/and methodology isn't available.
Islamic and Christian creationist camps blame Darwinism for what is wrong in the world, removing any responsibility for evil in the world from religion gone sour. Rather than admit that corrupted faith is a source for wrong doing, they blame a perceived outside force—scientific theory—for flawed human and corporate behavior. Even their own faith traditions recognize that people of faith must be responsible for their own actions, instead of placing the fault on another source.
Both brands of creationism unveil the inherent dishonesty of their first cousin: intelligent design. Intelligent design lacks a scientific theory and functions as creationism without using the language of faith, without acknowledging the God of creation.
The common ground between Islamic and Christian creationism may be a good thing, not from a scientific perspective, but from the perspective of the common good in the global society. If Islamic and Christian fundamentalists start talking, maybe their fear towards one another will lessen and the hate talk from the pulpits will diminish.
Can you imagine creationists as peacemakers?
Robert Parham is executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.