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Islamic creationism in France


Thousands of copies of The Atlas of Creation, by the Turkish creationist known as Harun Yahya, were recently sent to French schools, colleges, and universities, according to Le Figaro (February 2, 2007). The newspaper reported that the "richly illustrated" 770-page book purports to show "the secret links between Darwinism and bloody ideologies like fascism and communism." It also contains a photograph of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, with a "stupefying legend" blaming terrorism on "Darwinism" and calling it the "only ideology that valorizes, and therefore encourages, conflict."

The French minister of education, Gilles de Robien, responded quickly, the report said, directing academic administrators not to distribute the book, which "has no correspondence with" the French national curriculum. French biologist Hervé Le Guyader, professor at the University of Paris VI, carried out a preliminary analysis of the book for the education minister, reported Le Monde (February 3, 2007). Le Guyader called the book "much more dangerous than previous creationist initiatives," noting that the book's lavish production "could convince someone who didn't know any biology." But, he added, its scientific content was "appallingly poor."

The French education ministry was quoted in a story from Agence France Presse (February 2, 2007) as saying [Link broken], "We believe that there are lots of resources behind this campaign and the mass distribution, but [we] are not alarmed as the book has not reached the classrooms or documentation centers." The mass distribution of unsolicited creationist literature in France is reminiscent of recent incidents in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, where Christian creationist organizations sent packets of antievolution material, including DVDs, to government schools.