Friday, March 29, 2013

Harun's Houris

Hosftra University anthropologist, Daniel Martin Varisco, runs a fantastic (and often quite entertaining) blog called Tabsir. It deals with cultural issues on Islam and the Middle East. Daniel has also written on our favorite Islamic creationist, Harun Yahya. Here is his latest post on Tabsir - and is reproduced here with his permission.

Harun's Houris
by Daniel Martin Varisco

Harun Yahya, a.k.a Adnan Oktar
But what greater temptation than to appear a missionary, a prophet, an ambassador from heaven? Who would not encounter many dangers and difficulties, in order to attain so sublime a character? Or if, by the help of vanity and a heated imagination, a man has first made a convert of himself, and entered seriously into the delusion; who ever scruples to make use of pious frauds, in support of so holy and meritorious a cause?
David Hume, “Of Miracles” (1748)
David Hume, the eminent 18th century philosopher, was probably not thinking about Islam when he wrote his seminal essay “Of Miracles,” but his description resonates well with the media realm of the would-be Mahdi Harun Yahya (alias of Adnan Oktar). Put enough money and media-savvy glitz behind a delusion and the gullible will come to the trough. All you need to do is check out the main website of Harun Yahya to see a sexed-up Disney version of Islam. And even if you happen to be Igbo (yes Igbo), you can read what the Harun Yahya machine has to say about the “Koran.”
The checkered history of Adnan Oktar is hardly a secret, especially in Turkey. But his cyber-reach is massive, with multiple websites available in many different languages. If you have time to spare, spend a few minutes perusing some of his 160 websites devoted to attacking evolution, proving miracles, calling for an Islamic Union led by Turkey, the coming of the Mahdi, hell, atheism and beyond. Oktar recently made news by interviewing Israeli guests, despite earlier writings which include holocaust denial.
The latest twist in the televised adoration of Adnan Oktar might best be labeled “Harun’s houris.” His television show, which at first might be confused for a Turkish “Daily Show” (or perhaps more like “Saturday Night Live”), is libido laden. The would-be mahdi is mad about gorgeous Turkish women with big bosoms, as can be seen in the image below and everywhere on his A9 network shows.

Forget about hijab and niqab, at least for the foreign audience; the women who sit as sexy backdrops to charisma personified (at least in his own eyes) are a delight for the here-and-now, not waiting in paradise. They are beauty icons, who have little or nothing to say, apart from reading script by the ghost writers who create everything attributed to Harun. At times, with the translation running below, the words are an incredible disconnect from the image. Harun preaches an Islam of love, tolerance and devotion, but he seems to focus on the first of these in his televised essence. One wonders if he also gets any payback for advertising high fashion.

Yet Mahdi Yahya himself suggests that such sexy images come from none other than Satan:
“Satan knows very well that sentimentality is a sickness that prevents people from thinking properly, of recognising reality, of being mindful of God, and of contemplating the purpose of creation and the afterlife, and that it lures people away from practising their religion, and leads them ultimately into idolatry. Therefore, he seeks to mislead society at every turn by means of an intense and constant bombardment of sentimental themes.”

Idolatry is a no-no for Muslims, but playing the same game plan as “American Idol” is all a go-go for Harun and his houris.


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