Broadly's Three Day Investigation
into the weird world of Muslim creationist Adnan Oktar provides viewers a glimpse at the (heavily-curated) life of Turkey’s “most notorious cult leader.” Oktar got his start in the late 1970s and ‘80s and considers himself and his followers the new face of modern Islam — a clan that includes devout women he calls “kittens” who appear on his television network, A9. In addition to writing over 300 books, he takes credit for introducing his followers to feminism.
“Oppression causes so many problems for their skin and hair,” Oktar is says at the video’s start before his kittens are revealed, all sporting surgically-altered faces, many with bleached blonde hair. Broadly’s correspondent is invited to Oktar’s lavish home, which displays “paleontological evidence that the species did not evolve.” After being heavily made up, she’s invited onto A9, where Oktar and the “kittens” engage in conversation about their beliefs on the misrepresentation of Muslim women. The group adamantly believes that women are superior and Oktar says “perceiving women as a potential threat mechanism is one of the most cruel aspects of traditional orthodox Islam.” That is, of course, before music starts playing and the women begin to dance.
“Here, women are always in front. It’s the best place for a woman to be in the world,” one of the kittens stresses, acknowledging that in America, men and women are still unequal and “many female CEOs earn less than the men.” “Darwin hates women,” another adds.
“To the outside world, their lives seem like a joke, they seem like something that’s an embarrassment, or there for spectacle,” the correspondent says. “But in reality, these are real people and their lives seem to amount to some sort of spectacle for one man, and that’s their cult leader, Adnan Oktar.”
For the flavor of Adnan Oktar’s television program, watch the video below:
Turkish court issued a temporary restraining order against television personality and cult leader Adnan Oktar and a mother of two young women, whose father accused Oktar of brainwashing his daughters.
Elvan Koçak, a Turkish man living in Austria who divorced his wife Gülperi K. years ago for her devotion to Oktar, told a Turkish TV station that his two teenage daughters were brainwashed by Oktar.
In an tearful interview to Akit TV, the 44-year-old father said he has not been able to contact his daughters ?eyma and Bü?ra Koçak for seven months and only recently learned they were in Oktar's entourage. He said his friends notified him when they saw two girls at the ages of 19 and 17 on a live broadcast of Oktar's TV show, among other young women in heavy makeup.
Elvan Koçak said his daughters cut off contact with him and he appealed to the Turkish authorities to help.
The Anadolu prosecutor's office started an investigation against Oktar and Gülperi K. on charges of "deprivation of liberty" and sought a protection order for the father and two women. The court issued a six-month restraining order against Oktar and Gülperi K. and also gave custody of the 17-year-old girl to her father.
Oktar surrounds himself with young women and good-looking men during his programs where he delves into everything from evolution theory to the "British deep state" on his A9 TV. He affectionately calls the young women on his show "kittens." His critics claim that he brainwashes young women and men from wealthy families into joining his cult, a claim he had repeatedly denied.
Oktar, 62, who is primarily known for a series of books he wrote under the pseudonym "Harun Yahya," first made headlines in the 1980s when he was arrested for promoting theocracy. After a court found him mentally ill, he spent 10 months in a mental hospital and, after his release, he kept a relatively low profile. He established a foundation in 1995 and started publishing books on creationism. He became a household name after he launched a TV station in 2011 where his bizarre TV shows made him a favorite topic of internet memes and stirred up controversy. Bordering on obscenity where scantily-clad dancers perform in between Oktar's speeches peppered with religious references, his shows often receive complaints at the country's TV watchdog
Followers of Harun Yahya wear drag make-up and practice a “sexed-up, Disney version of Islam” that helps promote conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of a modern, Muslim Turkey. Step inside this surreal world where religious piety meets psychedelic softcore porn, led by the world’s foremost Islamic creationist.
Harun Yahya is said to be the messianic leader of an apocalyptic Islamic sex cult. He’s also the owner of a Turkish television station called A9, and the host of his own religious talk show, which just might make your eyeballs pop out of your skull. The entire set and everyone on it glow like irradiated ultraviolet rays. Five amazing looking women usually co-host the show, wearing things like false rainbow eyelashes, wigs, and diamond-studded Versace bondage gear. The backdrop is a blinding fake lavender cityscape. Conversations often focus on how materialism and Darwinism are dead, how to recognize the face of a real Muslim, and how Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — with whom the host is rumored to enjoy friendly relations — is “one of the important figures for the End Times”.
Harun Yahya wears Armani, and is only addressed as “my master” or “sultan”. His real name isn’t even Harun Yahya, though that’s how he’s known to audiences outside of Turkey. In reality, he’s Adnan Oktar, and right now, he’s the global icon of Islamic creationism. He’s also been named one of the world’s 50 most influential Muslims, The Complete Idiots Guide to Understanding Islam describes Oktar as a “top” Muslim scientist, and he even writes articles for the Huffington Post. More traditional clerics are beginning to express their concern about his growing influence in the Muslim world.
Like most creationists, Oktar and his followers believe Darwinism is evil. And like many American evangelicals, they are skilled in the art of televangelism and the mass marketing of religious materials. The sect has produced more than 300 books to date, including the 800-page pinnacle of anti-evolutionary scholarship, the Atlas of Creation. A promotional video for the masterwork alleges that the book’s release had “the impact of an atom bomb”: According to a “scientific” study, before the atlas was published, a full “90 percent of Europeans believed in evolution”. Since the Atlas of Creation has been made available in nine different languages, “only 10 percent of Europeans still believe in Darwinism”. Real facts. Watch the entire promo video below.
Though the volume weighs about 12 lbs. (5.4 kg), Harun Yahya and associates decided to ship it, completely unsolicited, to the United Nations, the US Congress, and numerous biology departments at universities around the world, including the Imperial College London, Utrecht University, the University of Chicago, the University of Barcelona, UC Berkeley, Brown, and the medical school at Columbia University.
Kevin Padian, a Professor of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, was one of the lucky recipients who came to work one day and found a copy of the hefty book waiting for him. “In our country we are used to nonsense like this,” Dr. Padian said of the United States. Several of his colleagues also received the Atlas of Creation, and were all “astonished at what a load of crap it is.”
“If he sees a picture of an old fossil crab or something, he says, ‘See, it looks just like a regular crab, there’s no evolution,’” he said. “Extinction does not seem to bother him.”
The gifted atlases brought the world’s attention to the existence of this new trend in creationism, which the Council of Europe apparently found so disturbing it immediately passed a resolution urging all of its members to “defend and promote scientific knowledge”.
In addition, the tome so shook the European establishment that it also inspired a 12,150-word Council of Europe report by the Committee on Culture, Education, and Education titled “The Dangers of Creationism in Education”.
The committee wrote that the lavishly illustrated book attempts to prove “the secret links between Darwinism and the ideologies ‘with blood on their hands’, such as fascism and communism”. Ministers of Education in Belgium and France denounced the text, while Hervé Le Guyader, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Paris VI, was asked to produce a detailed analysis of the atlas by the French National Education Inspectorate. Dr. Le Guyader warned that the book’s sophisticated and attractive design “could prove highly effective” at influencing the public. That said, the professor echoed his American colleague at UC Berkeley. “The scientific content of this book is pathetically inadequate,” he concluded.
Anne Ross Solberg, a scholar of religion who has written the only doctoral dissertation on the group to date (2014)
(Titled The Mahdi Wears Armani: An Analysis of the Harun Yahya Enterprise)
Anne Ross Solberg
says that Oktar’s sect is estimated to have just 30 core followers, with an “additional 200 to 300 more or less involved in the group’s activities”. But Adnan Oktar has many, many more adherents around the world — all thanks to the internet.
His group operates “hundreds of websites”, and several YouTube channels — the English language version has almost 12,000 subscribers, while the Turkish channel has well over 100,000. He also has about 38,200 followers on Twitter, and the peroxide blondes who appear on his show in drag make-up have tens of thousands of devotees as well. The group of the most faithful 30 followers live with Oktar in luxurious compound in Istanbul, where he has personally selected each item in the house, down to the $1200 Fendi throw pillows embedded with 2,000 Swarovski crystals.
.. Young Oktar grew bored with his interior design classes. Solberg notes that this is when he started holding speeches, railing against Charles Darwin and Freemasonry. Soon, a small group of students was following him around, and he had the foundation of a new cemaat or religious community.
Then these early followers decided to engage in some recruitment efforts, and targeted physically attractive members of Istanbul’s young, cosmopolitan elite. Many of them were well-heeled students at Istanbul’s prestigious Bogazici University, the highest-ranked institution in Turkey. A few were the children of celebrities. As the group grew, the media dubbed them Adnancilar — adherents of Adnan.
Adnan Oktar’s arrest - photo - [balkanist.net]
But a few years later, Oktar gave an interview to a conservative newspaper that alarmed the rigidly secularist authorities, and he was arrested. According to Solberg, the young religious leader was charged with “making propaganda with the aim of weakening or destroying national sentiments” by the Istanbul State Security Court, and given a 19-month prison sentence. Part of his incarceration was spent inside the locked ward of Bakirkoy Hospital — Istanbul’s largest psychiatric facility. He was diagnosed with “obsessive-compulsive personality disorder” and paranoid schizophrenia. Oktar insists these labels were only applied to him in order to discredit his work.
After his release, the group began gathering in villas and upscale cafes in Istanbul’s wealthiest suburbs, where Oktar would obsessively rehash stale Jewish-masonic conspiracies. This preoccupation became the subject of the first book published under the pen name Harun Yayha. The 500-page Judaism and Freemasonry was released in 1987 as an illustrated opus dedicated to exposing the “distorted Torah” and the Jewish-masonic machinations behind the Russian, American, and French revolutions
The sermons Oktar gives on his show are effusively pro-Erdogan. He suggests that anti-government protesters are actually quite happy with the premier but “just aren’t aware of it”, that Erdogan is an “immaculate Anatolian man” innocent of any of the wrongdoings suggested by the recent corruption scandal, and that he should rule Turkey right up until the imminent end of the world. As Sunday’s all-important local elections approach, praise for the premier has been even more fervent than usual.
In addition to the talk show, the television station, and the more than 55,000 pages of printed materials produced and distributed around the world, the group has also made some 175 documentaries, including “The Collapse of Darwinism in Europe” and “Crystal Skull; work of aliens?” Certainly the creation of so many videos, and the researching, writing, editing, and printing of 300 book titles in multiple languages, plus international shipping fees, must have cost millions. But where Oktar gets all the money to keep the well-oiled Harun Yahya machinery operating remains a mystery, though some still suspect that favorable business dealings with Erdogan and his inner circle have helped.
Oktar refers to his cadre of devoted women as "kittens." At his behest, the "kittens" shirk hijabs and traditional dress. Instead, they wear designer outfits, apply heavy makeup, and undergo plastic surgery. They also happen to be wealthy socialites.
Together, Oktar and his followers are ushering in what they call the new face of modern Islam. Oktar and his kittens even have their own television network to broadcast their views, which include discrediting evolution.
Broadly spends three strange days with the cult leader and his "kittens" to see what life in Oktar's cult is really like for women.
For the story, go here:
Tevangelist Harun Yahya enters war of words with Turkey’s top religious authority
Controversial TV personality Adnan Oktar, who is known abroad as Harun Yahya, has entered into a war of words with the head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) following the latter’s criticism.
“[Diyanet employees] earn their salaries from income and taxes coming from casinos and [alcoholic] beverage factories. Have your ever made a statement about these issues? Have you ever raised your voice about this? You have kept silent,” said Oktar.
On his program Oktar surrounds himself with surgically enhanced women, who he refers to as his “kittens,” while discussing religious and social issues. He has been described as the “most notorious cult leader in Turkey” and has written numerous conspiracy theory-filled books on creationism and freemasonry.
Erba?’s remarks came after an Istanbul court issued a temporary restraining order for Oktar.
On Jan. 19, a court had issued a temporary restraining order against Oktar and Gülperi Koçak, the mother of two young women, after Elvan Koçak claimed his two daughters were “forced” to be on Oktar’s program.
The Istanbul Anatolian 20th Family Court ruled for Oktar and the women’s mother to be kept away from the 19-year-old and 17-year-old women for six months.
The court ruling came after the father, who lives in Austria, had not heard from his two daughters for a long time. The young women were then spotted on Oktar’s show.
The women’s father, Elvan Koçak, filed an application to the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office, after which the prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into Oktar and Gülperi on charges of “deprivation of liberty.” The investigation file was then sent to the Istanbul 20th Family Court, as a result of which a restraining order was issued for the two young women in Oktar’s entourage for a period of six months.
The court also banned Oktar and Koçak from making any remarks that involve “threats, insults, contempt or humiliation” against the father, as well as the two young women in question. It also granted custody of the 17-year-old to the father, giving the mother permission to contact their daughters only on Sundays.
Cult televangelist hit by fines, suspension
The famous Turkish televangelist Adnan Oktar’s television channel has been handed a five-show suspension and been hit with a top-level administrative fine by Turkey’s broadcast monitoring agency after receiving thousands of complaints, the Turkish business news site Patronlar Dunyasi reports.
The exact amount of the fine is not yet known, though the legal action, and the 4,592 complaints that prompted it, indicate that the televangelist’s brand is under pressure.
However, reports have circulated about a far darker side to the televangelist, with a 2009 piece published in the New Humanist
quoting former followers who accused Oktar of building a cult around himself, using the female members as sex slaves, and running a blackmailing ring.
In January, the father of two daughters who had been out of contact for seven months spotted them on Oktar’s television programme, and secured a restraining order against the televangelist, who he accused of brainwashing his daughters.
Directors of two leading non-profit organizations for women lashed out at Adnan Oktar, a flamboyant cult leader whose TV show was fined for exploitating women. Oktar is known for his online videos where he speaks out on a number of subjects from religion to foreign policy, peppered with bizarre dances bordering on obscenity by his female followers in skimpy outfits. The country's TV watchdog issued fines to the A9 TV station for airing the videos on television, accusing it of exploiting women.
Canan Güllü, head of the Federation of Turkish Women's Associations, said online publications are free, but shows like Oktar's "that humiliate women and turn them in sexual objects should be controlled." Güllü said they expected authorities to take measures against such programs. She also called on the judiciary to take action against allegations that Oktar held underage girls. A father has filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife and Oktar for holding his two daughters, including one under the legal age by "brainwashing" them, after he spotted them accompanying Oktar in a show aired on A9. An Istanbul court has issued a restraining order against Oktar upon the father's complaint.
The High Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK), which oversees TV content, had suspended A9 shows and handed fines to the station last week for the exploitation of women.