Muslim creationists tour France denouncing Darwin

Reuters – May 16, 2011

 

Muslim creationists are currently touring France preaching against evolution and claiming the Qur’an predicts many modern scientific discoveries.

Followers of Harun Yahya, a well-financed Turkish publisher of popular Islamic books, held four conferences at Muslim centers in the Paris area at the weekend with more scheduled in six other cities.

 

Harun Yahya, one of the most prolific publishers in the Muslim world, gave proudly secularist France a scare in January 2007 by mass-mailing thousands of free copies of his “Atlas of Creation” to schools and libraries across the country.

 

The Education Ministry quickly ordered headmasters to seize and hide copies of the large format book. It followed up with a special seminar to train teachers how to counter a small but growing group of pupils who challenge evolution with creationist theories. In October 2007, with strong French support, the Council of Europe denounced the creationist views laid out in the “Atlas of Creation” as a religious assault on science and human rights.

“People who defend evolution can’t accept the existence of a Creator,” Sadun said at La Reussite (“Success”), one of the few Muslim-run private schools in France.

“Life is not the result of chance, it’s the creation of a higher power, which of course is Allah,” he said in fluent French, adding that the confiscation of the “Atlas of Creation” was similar to book-burnings staged by the Nazis in the 1930s.

A teacher at the La Reussite meeting said French educators called him an Islamic fundamentalist for his creationist views, but he thought they were actually secularist fundamentalists.

 

France´s Oldest and Most Successful Muslim School on the Verge of Bankruptcy

La Réussite (Ibn Rushd) school in Aubervilliers, France is collapsing under the weight of its debts, its headteacher recently reported. Many critics have pointed to the French government for denying it the same grants given to other faith schools. According to the Guardian newspaper, with a 1959 law, over 8000 Jewish and Christian schools receive state grants; none of France´s four French Muslim schools have qualified. With the school´s debts reaching approximately €300,000, the school has turned to charitable donations. La Réussite was approved in July 2003 and became the country´s first Muslim school. It follows the same curriculum as state schools, and became one of the most successful schools nationwide, with a 100% Baccalaureate rate. Administrators of the school cite its importance since the banning of the hijab in state schools four years ago.

La Reussite Islamic School Outside of Paris Threatened To Close

This video piece by Katrin Bennhold of the International Herald Tribune reports on the possible closing of La Reussite Islamic School in Aubervilliers because of its difficulty in self-financing. Yvonne Fazilleau, the school’s principal, claims that without any state subsidies the school may close in February 2009. The school’s yearly tuition is approximately €5000; the school is no longer able to pay its teachers due to declining enrollment. Fazilleau explains that La Reussite teaches the required national curriculum and that all religious-related events and classes are optional (both requirements for state subsidies to private religious schools), but that the school’s physical education classes are sex-segregated. All other classes are mixed.

Video available here.(5:10)