Turkish cult leader arrested 

Islamic cult leader Adnan Oktar and 200 of his followers, called "kittens", were arrested. The accusations against them include forming a criminal gang, fraud and sexual abuse. 

Ans Boersma
Ans Boersma NewsMavens, Turkey
Turkish cult leader arrested  - NewsMavens
Adnan Oktar. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Ever heard about a feminist islamic cult? Welcome to Turkey, where Muslim creationist Adnan Oktar created a harem of devout women whom he calls "kittens". They look like reality TV stars: bleached blond hair, red lipstick, plastic surgery. The cult believes women are not only equal, but superior to men. They strongly disagree with the Western representation of (Muslim) women.

Remarkably, Adnan Oktar was not operating in silence. He appeared very openly in the media, using social media and his own TV-channel A9 since 2011. Oktar proudly presented his harem on his shows. Besides, the Turkish televangelist often organized events where he invited celebrities, politicians and media representatives. He also encouraged inter-faith dialogue. Rabbis, imams and priests attended his Ramadan dinner last May. 

But it's not as pretty as it looks. Kittens who escaped the cult reveal horrific stories: “This organization is full of filth on the inside. Children aged seven to 17 are being sexually abused. Some girls have repeatedly been raped,” former follower Ceylan Özgül told Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu Agency. 

Details from the story:

  • Oktar started to preach in the 1980s. He has written several books on Islamic creationism which were translated into several languages under his pen name Harun Yahya.
  • One of his very close former followers explains his mystery: there is one thing that Oktar does "very well, maybe the best in this world: He knows how to use people, and he knows [how to identify] people he can use.""
  • Worth watching on YouTube: Inside The Weird World of an Islamic 'Feminist' Cult.
EDITOR'S PICK:
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.

WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM:
SUPPORTED BY:

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

STRATEGIC PARTNERS:
NewsMavens
NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
CORE TEAM
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy