Students in one Ohio school district are reportedly using study material produced by the leader of a "Holocaust-denying, Islaimic sex cult," organization, the Daily Beast reported Monday.
An "educational video" titled, Cambrian Fossils and the Creation of Species, has this year been made available to educators as part of a Youngstown, Ohio teacher's curriculum.
The video details what biologist call the Cambrian Explosion
, when approximately 550 million years ago the number of species on earth dramatically increased over the next tens of millions of years, a relatively short amount of time by evolutionary standards.
Creationists, who hold the belief that God literally created the world in six days as told in the Bible and the Koran, regularly point to this era as proof of God's hand in propagating a plethora of diverse life found on the earth at the time.
The video, however, is produced by "the works of Harun Yahya," who the Daily Beast reports is a controversial Turkish-based Islamic televangelist with deep roots in the worldwide creationist movement with his own television channel, A9 TV.
Yahya, an alleged pseudonym for Adnan Oktar
, also owns a publishing house which has published dozens of books that have been distributed in more than 150 countries and have been translated into more than 50 languages.
Oktar is also author of one book title "The Holocaust Deception: The Hidden Story of Nazi-Zionist Collaboration and the Inner Story of the Hoax of “Jewish Holocaust,” which he says now he disavows.
“[Oktar] undoubtedly takes inspiration from American-style creationism... his creationism is far from just an American import," Anne Ross Solberg, an expert on Yahya, explained in a paper published by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
"He’s trying to prove that science backs up Islam. The message of Yahya is thus that science does not only confirm the existence of an intelligent designer, but divine creation as revealed by Allah,” Solberg adds.
The charismatic television imam has also been accused of proliferating a quasi sex-cult within his creationist movement, regularly parading bleach-blond women
in tight fitting clothing on his broadcast. The women on the show call him "master," while Oktar refers to the women as his "kittens" and offers them as "evidence of Islamic creationism," according to Slate Magazine.
The Youngstown school district did not respond to a request from The Daily Beast as to why they offered the material as part of their 10th grade curriculum. The curriculum only states that teachers employed within the Youngstown school district are afforded the opportunity to teach “an alternative theory called Intelligent Design.”
Asked why the Youngstown's school district permits its educators to teach creationism, a spokesperson for Ohio's Department of Education stated: “Ohio is a local control state and districts select and implement their own curriculum to serve their community.”
Reuters contributed to this article.