U.S. Charter School of Influential, Turkish Islamist Raided by FBI

Gulen School“You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … If they [Muslim allies] do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads … you must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the Constitutional institutions in Turkey.” Fethullah Gulen

By Ryan Mauro:

The FBI raided a Turkish-run charter school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana yesterday. No information has been given to the public except that there is no threat to public safety. The school is part of the network of Fethullah Gulen, a powerful Turkish Islamist residing in Pennsylvania.

fgThe search took place at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School, which had been under investigation since 2011 due to evidence of violations at another Gulen school in the state. Both Gulen-linked schools are part of the Pelican Educational Foundation.

The other school is the Abramson Science and Technology Center. Its charter was revoked by the state after an investigation found multiple disturbing incidents, including sexual abuses including an accusation of rape.

“We cannot afford to have a charter school operator in Louisiana that is putting our kids in a potentially unsafe and unstable learning environment,” said Ollie Tyler, the Acting State Superintendent of Education.

Inci Akpinar, a business associate of the Abramson Center even tried to bribe an official of the Louisiana Department of Education after the probe started.

“I have $25,000 to fix this problem: $20,000 for you and $5,000 for me,” the official recalled being told.

The findings at the Abramson Center led to an investigation of the Kenilworth School.

Kenilworth was accused of misconduct in two lawsuits, one by a parent and the other by two terminated teachers. The parent stated that her child urinated on herself after she was repeatedly denied permission to go to the bathroom. The teachers argue that they were fired because of discrimination.

Gulen is ranked as the most influential Muslim in the U.S. and the 11th most influential Muslim in the world. He fled to the U.S. in 1998 after the Turkish government charged him with trying to overthrow its secularism.

He has erected a parallel state in Turkey and was instrumental in enabling the Islamist takeover of the country. Gulen has since had afalling out with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. Leaked documents show Erdogan’s government planned to act against Gulen’s network in Turkey.

Glen resides in a 28-acre compound in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and has a reported net worth of $25 billion. He set up his first charter school in the U.S. in 1999 and now has 135 of them, making it the largest charter school network in the country.

Sharon Higgins, a researcher who closely follows the Gulen network, wrote a thoroughly referenced article about the network in theWashington Post in March 2012. The article states that “the United States is the only country where the Gulen Movement has been able to establish schools which are fully funded with public money.”

Read more at Clarion Project

VICTORY: FETHULLAH GULEN CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICATION DEFEATED IN VIRGINIA

victoryBy Pamela Geller:
Necessary, freedom-loving pushback. Fethullah Gulen urges Muslims to build schools to indoctrinate an entire generation using US taxpayer dollars. More here on the “Imam’s Army.” More on Gulen here:

Gulen left Turkey in March 1998 citing health reasons (like many, many millions of people, Gulen has diabetes). At the time he was being investigated for plotting to overthrow the secular republic to replace it with an Islamic state (he had been imprisoned for six months in 1971 under a similar charge). In the spring of 1998, a video was aired on Turkish TV in which Gulen appeared to state the following:

“You must move in the arteries of the system, without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers… You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey… Until that time, any step taken would be too early – like breaking an egg without waiting the full 40 days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside. The work to be done is [in] confronting the world. Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all – in confidence… trusting your loyalty and sensitivity to secrecy. I know that when you leave here – [just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and feelings expressed here.”

The Gulen Charter School application was defeated by the school board, 8 to 1. Here’s the video from the Loudoun County Public Schools site.

4th Tuesday School Board Meeting 2013-02-27 Feb 26, 2013 04h 10m Agenda Video MP3 Audio MP4 Video

28 people signed up to speak, with the overwhelming majority against it.

Federal agencies – including the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education – are investigating whether some Gulen charter school employees are kicking back part of their salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen known as Hizmet, or Service, according to knowledgeable sources.

….. Gulen’s followers have been accused of pushing for an authoritarian Islamic state, there is no indication the American charter network has a religious agenda in the classroom.

[...] Rather, it is focused on whether hundreds of Turkish teachers, administrators, and other staffers employed under the H1B visa program are misusing taxpayer money.

Here is Gulen infiltration state-by-state. Much thanks to Atlas reader Denise Lee (see below) for her eyewitness coverage:

The Loudoun County School Board met Tuesday night to decide on whether to accept the charter school application from a group with questionable ties to Fetullah Gulen. I attended the hearing and the workingmeeting the week before on February 19th. There were over twenty speakers signed up that night, only three of which were for the charter school, also known as LMITA (Loudoun Math and IT Academy.) I was impressed by the intelligent remarks and well thought out concerns of parents and other Loudoun County residents. They  brought up the problems with the application itself that was not complete, had spelling errors and that did not address major concerns like transportation, whether a cafeteria would be provided, a budget or most importantly, what the curriculum would be. These were legitimate concerns especially since the head of the application team, Fatih Kandil, in the working meeting that followed the hearing couldn’t answer these questions and basically said that Loudoun County should give him the $8 million he was requesting and then he would show them his plan. Mr. Kandil is the former principal of the failing Chesapeake Science Point Charter School and front guy who goes around the U.S. opening these charter schools for Fetullah Gulen and his movement. You can read about what goes on in Mr. Gulen’s mind here: http://counterjihadreport.com/2012/10/08/gulens-false-choice-silence-or-violence/

The hearing went along smoothly until two men got up to speak, John Stevens and John Grigsby. Mr. Stevens accused those who opposed the school of being bigots and said that he would never want to be on their side. He also encouraged the school board to “stick it to ‘em” meaning to vote to approve the application. Mr. Grigsby spoke about how ashamed the Christians in the audience should be for opposing this school. You can see for yourselves what these two dhimmis had to say here:http://www.muslims4liberty.org/loudoun-school-board-hearings-used-by-islamophobes-to-spread-hate/ There were several really good speakers who got up and talked about why the application should be denied. Dana Weinberg is a businessman who said if this application came across his desk it wouldn’t even make it through the first round for consideration and he cautioned board members to look into their souls before making up their minds. And the last speaker, Rachel Sargent, who is a former Loudoun County school teacher and who was born in the U.S. but whose family were Christian pastors in India who were abused by Muslims, gave a brilliant rebuttal to Mr. Stevens’ and Mr. Grigsby’s obnoxious speeches and who reminded us that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. My favorite part of her speech, besides listing and describing all the current Gulen sponsored charter schools that are failing or have failed around the country, is when she described Mr. Kandil’s role in traveling to try to set up more charter schools by comparing it to the Beach Boy’s song, “I get around”. You can see and hear these speeches here: http://lcps.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=23

Read the rest at Atlas Shrugs

Will LMITA Repeat the History of Other Gulen-Related Charter Schools?

images (4)Center For Security Policy:

On the evening of February 19, 2013, the Loudoun County (VA) School Board held it’s final public hearing on the Loudoun Math and IT Academy (LMITA), a proposed Gulen-related charter school.

Following the public comment portion of the hearing, Parents for Educational Accountability and the Center for Security Policy presented remarks by Mary Addi, a former Gulen charter school teacher from the Cleveland, Ohio area entitled: “Will LMITA Repeat the History of Other Gulen-Related Charter Schools ?”

She joined Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney to discuss the applicants, their associations and other reasons the LMITA application should be rejected:

 

via Loudoun charter school debate: Do applicants have links to Islamic preacher?

By Valerie Strauss , Updated: February 21, 2013 at The Washington Post

The Loudoun County School Board heard from some 20 speakers at a public hearing this week that they should not approve what would be Northern Virginia’s first charter school, with many of them alleging that the Turkish applicants are connected to a network of charter schools inspired by Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen. Three people spoke in favor of the application.

The applicants, who operate the Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School in Anne Arundel County, denied any connection to Gulen or the network of more than 135 charter schools in some 25 states that authorities suspect are run by followers of the reclusive Gulen. “The only affiliation this school will have is to the Loudoun County School Board, the Virginia Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education,” said applicant Fetih Kandil.

The months-long application process for the proposed Loudoun Math & IT Academy is expected to end next Tuesday, when the school board will take a final vote. A select committee of the board voted recently to reject the request to open the school, not because of the Gulen allegations but because of numerous problems cited with the application itself, including over curriculum and student transportation.

The last public hearing on the application was held Tuesday night (you can watch it here if you have three hours and 32 minutes to spare), where each board member listed specific concerns about the plan to open the school, including an apparent preference indicated by the applicants — who will not only run the school but serve as the governing body — to hire many of the teachers from outside the United States. Asked about that, Kandil was quoted by Leesburg Today as saying:

   “There are certain areas that we have identified deficiencies in having qualified teachers in certain areas.” Those areas, he added, are science, math, technology and foreign language. “You cannot just go outside and find an IT teacher and expect them to offer cyber security courses to our students.”

The hearing began with a succession of public speakers talking about the proposed charter’s links to Gulen and described how the schools have functioned elsewhere. For example, the first speaker, Mary Addi, said she and her husband, Mustafa Emanet, had worked at a Gulen charter school in Ohio, which was opened in Dayton with the help of one of the Loudoun charter applicants, Fatih Kandil. She said her husband, a Turk, had been been involved in the Gulen movement and that Turkish teachers at the school had to turn over 40 percent of their salaries back to the movement to a secret fund.

Among those speaking in favor of the application was John Stevens, a former Loudoun School Board chairman who attacked the critics of the academy as “bigots.”

As it turns out, many charter schools suspected of being in the Gulen network have been the subject of probes by the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education, who have been investigating whether some employees at some U.S. charter schools are “kicking back part of their salaries” to the Gulen Movement, the Philadelphia  Inquirer reported in this story. The New York Times and CBS News as well as PBS have reported on the Gulen charter  network in the last 18 months, citing problems such as whether these schools give special preference to Turkish companies when handing out contracts.

It is also the case that the applicants in Loudoun have had huge disagreements with Anne Arundel County officials over the charter school they run there, and are now suing the county. Last summer, the Anne Arundel school won a three-year extension of its charter, which has had academic success but has other major problems cited by the county superintendent, Kevin Maxwell. In a post last summer I noted:

Maxwell wants the school, among other things, to hire qualified and fully certified teachers, allow parents to elect the board of directors “to reflect the community it serves,” use appropriate procurement and bidding processes for outside contracts, use the same data system that other public schools in the country use, follow board policy for the hiring of foreign nationals, and agree not to allow any of its contractors or subcontractors to “knowingly employ” anybody who has been investigated for criminal activity.

 

Who is Gulen? He now now lives  in seclusion in Pennsylvania, having won a petition to emigrate to the United States, though he is believed to have strong influence in Turkey. When he first applied for a special visa to come into the country, the Department of Homeland Security denied it. A lawsuit  challenging the decision was filed in 2007 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, and in it his attorneys wrote  that he was “head of the Gulen Movement,” and an important educational figure who had “overseen” the creation of a network of schools in the United States as well as in other countries,  the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in this story. He was granted a green card in 2008.

Now the big questions are whether the board will approve or reject the application, and whether Stevens knows anything about the Gulen network.

GAFFNEY: How Muslim proselytizing creeps into public schools

b1-gaffney-apple-iislam-gg_s160x215By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.:

The Loudoun County School  Board is reaching the denouement of a multiyear deliberation about an  application for a charter school that has strong ties to Fethullah Gulen,  a Turkish Islamist. His followers have already started some 135 American charter  schools. Their focus is to promote an increasingly Shariah-dominated Turkey.

Incredibly, the school board’s  members are studiously avoiding any acknowledgment or discussion of the role of  Fethullah Gulen and his movement in the charter  school. They have wrestled for many months with a host of problems with the  application — such as serious deficiencies with the proposed curriculum, the  financing, the management, the teachers and Maryland’s  Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School, the school  in Anne Arundel County specifically cited as the “model” for the Loudoun  Math and Information Technology Academy.

Yet the members of the school board  have, to date, been unwilling to recognize that these problems are actually  endemic in Gulen-associated schools — including Chesapeake Science Point. These problems are also  much in evidence in three Gulen charter schools in  Fulton County, Ga. Two of the three have lost their charters; the third — an  elementary school — may soon follow suit.

I had the occasion to visit Fulton County last week and talked with several  people involved in one aspect or another of its difficulties with the Gulenists.  These included a former teacher, the parent of a former student and a local  administrator. One thing is clear from these conversations: You simply cannot  begin to understand, let alone cope with, the sorts of issues inherent in “Gulen-inspired” schools if you indulge — for whatever  reason, be it “political correctness,” sensitivity to “diversity,” fear of  litigation or being branded an “Islamophobe,” racist, etc. — in the pretense  that applications like the one in Loudoun County can be properly evaluated while  excluding from the evaluation process the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the  applicants’ manifest associations to the Gulen  movement.

Read more at The Washington Times

Related posts:

http://counterjihadreport.com/category/fethullah-gulen/

Center shows threat posed by Islamist Gülen movement charter schools– in Loudon County and elsewhere

GulenWASHINGTON, D.C.: On Dec. 12, the Center for Security Policy sponsored a briefing to inform, most immediately, members of the Loudoun County School Board who are actively considering whether to provide taxpayer funding to a new charter school linked to Turkish Islamist Fethullah Gulen.

Here is a video version of the explosive power point briefing presented by Center President Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. and a former public school teacher, Rachel Sargent, at the Loudoun County School System Administration Building in Ashburn, Virginia:

The briefing illuminates the pattern employed by Gulen and his cult-like Turkish supremacist Movement to induce school boards to charter and pay his followers to establish vehicles for indoctrinating impressionable American students, usually under the guise of enriched science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. At its core, this pattern involves deception with respect to the true character of the proposed school, its association with the Gulenists, and the myriad problems such Gulen academic institutions have presented to school system administrators and taxpayers from Texas to Maryland.

In the case of the so-called Loudoun Math and Information Technology Academy (LMITA), the briefing established that denials on the part of LMITA’s applicants of any relationship with Fethullah Gulen and its followers obscure the truth. On the basis of a link analysis performed by Kent Clizbe, a retired career CIA intelligence officer who has specialized in ferreting out and countering terrorist networks, at least two of the LMITA applicants have extensive ties to Gulen educational operations elsewhere across the country.

The briefing also presented the attached letter to the Loudoun School Board by Mary Addi, a former teacher in a Gulen school in Cleveland, Ohio. It draws on her own experience and that of Ms. Addi’s husband, an expatriate from Turkey who was also a teacher at that school, to make clear the Islamist character and mission of the Gulen Movement and its pedagogy.

Mr. Gaffney, whose column published in theWashington Times on December 11, 2012 addresses the danger posed by Gulenists to the students and taxpayers of Loudoun County and those of the nation as a whole, said:

The Loudoun County School Board is not the first to be subjected to the Gulen bait-and-switch. The lack of transparency fits a pattern in such applications of concealing connections to an organization promoting Turkish and Islamist agendas deeply hostile to the United States. Gulen schools prove deeply problematic to their school systems and exceedingly difficult to disestablish Armed with the knowledge that this application is, in fact, for a Gulen Movement institution, the Board has a responsibility to deny it taxpayer funding. In so doing, it can set a model for the rest of the country.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact: David Reaboi: 202-835-9077 or dreaboi@securefreedom.org

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A Turkish ‘Trojan Horse’ for Loudoun?

GulenCenter for Security Policy

By Frank Gaffney, Jr.

It is a commonplace, but one that most of us ignore:  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  That applies in spades to a proposal under active consideration by the school board in Virginia’s Loudoun County.  It would use taxpayer funds to create a charter school to equip the children of that Washington exurb with enhanced skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.  Ostensibly, they will thus be equipped to compete successfully in the fields expected to be at the cutting edge of tomorrow’s workplace.
What makes this initiative, dubbed the Loudoun Math and IT Academy (LMITA), too good to be true?  Let’s start with what is acknowledged about the proposed school.
LMITA’s board is made up of a group of male Turkish expatriates.  One of them, Fatih Kandil, was formerly the principal of the Chesapeake Science Point (CSP) Public Charter School in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  Another is Ali Bicak, the board president of the Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation, which owns CSP and two other charter schools in Maryland.  The LMITA applicants expressly claim that Chesapeake Science Point will be the model for their school.
The taxpayers of Loudoun County and the school board elected to represent them should want no part of a school that seeks to emulate Chesapeake Science Point, let alone be run by the same people responsible for that publicly funded charter school.  For one thing, CSP has not proven to be the resounding academic success the applicants claim.  It does not appear anywhere in the acclaimed US News and World Report lists of high-performing schools in Maryland, let alone nationwide – even in the subsets of STEM or charter schools.
What is more, according to public documents chronicling Anne Arundel Public Schools’ dismal experience with CSP, there is significant evidence of chronic violations of federal, state and local policies and regulations throughout its six years of operations, with little or inconsistent improvement, reflecting deficiencies in fiscal responsibility and organizational viability.
Why, one might ask, would applicants for a new charter school cite so deeply problematic an example as their proposed institution?  This brings us to aspects of this proposal that are not acknowledged.
Chesapeake Science Point is just one of five controversial schools with which Mr. Kandil has been associated: He was previously: the director at the Horizon Science Academy in Dayton, Ohio; the principal at the Wisconsin Career Academy in Milwaukee and at the Baltimore Information Technology Academy in Maryland; and one of the applicants in a failed bid to establish the First State Math and Science Academy in Delaware.
These schools have something in common besides their ties to the peripatetic Fatih Kandil.  They have all been “inspired” by and in other ways are associated with Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish supremacist and imam with a cult-like following of up to six million Muslims in Turkey and elsewhere around the world.  More to the point, Gulen is the reclusive and highly autocratic leader of a global media, business, “interfaith dialogue” and education empire said to be worth many billions and that is run from a compound in the Poconos.
This empire – including its roughly 135 charter schools in this country and another 1,000 abroad – and its adherents have come to be known as the Gulen Movement.  But those associated with it, in this country at least, are assiduously secretive about their connections to Imam Gulen or his enterprise.  For example, the LMITA applicants, their spokeswoman and other apologists have repeatedly misled the Loudoun school board, claiming that these Turkish gentlemen and their proposed school have nothing to do with Gulen.
There are several possible reasons for such professions.  For one, the Gulen schools are said to be under investigation by the FBI.  A growing number of them – including Chesapeake Science Point – have also come under critical scrutiny from school boards and staff around the country.  In some cases, they have actually lost their charters for, among other reasons, chronic financial and other mismanagement and outsourcing U.S. teachers’ jobs to Turks.
The decisive reason for the Gulenist lack of transparency,however, may be due to their movement’s goals and modus operandi.  These appear aligned with those of another secretive international organization that also adheres to the Islamic doctrine known as shariah and seeks to impose it worldwide: the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek to accomplish this objective by stealth in what the Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad” and Gulen’s movement describes as “jihad of the word.”
This practice enabled the Gulenists to help transform Turkey from a reliable, secular Muslim NATO ally to an Islamist state deeply hostile to the United States – one aligned with other Islamic supremacists, from Iran to the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas to al Qaeda.  Fethullah Gulen’s followers clearly don’t want us alive to the obvious dangers posed by their penetration of our educational system and influence over our kids.
The good news is that members of the Loudoun County school board have a code of conduct which reads in part: “I have a moral and civic obligation to the Nation which can remain strong and free only so long as public schools in the United States of America are kept free and strong.”  If the board members adhere to this duty, they will reject a seductive LMITA proposal that is way too “good” to be true.
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Pushing Back Against Stealth Jihad Charter Schools

By Arnold Ahlert

Americans may not realize it yet, but Turkey’s regression from a secular democracy into an Islamic state may be based on an educational movement that has also taken root in America. Imam Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen Movement (GM) have had enormousinfluence in setting the increasingly Islamist agenda of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Much of this is due to GM’s vast empire of media entities, financial institutions, banks and business organizations. But the most critical component of this empire is educational institutions. In Turkey, 75 percent of the nation’s two million preparatory school students are enrolled in Gülen institutions. In America, GM runs the largest charter school network in the nation. Such an empire is slowly receiving the kind of scrutiny–and pushback from concerned Americans–that it deserves.

The principals and school board members of GM charter schools are primarily Turkish men. Hundreds of Turkish teachers have been admitted to the United States using H-1B visas, because the schools claim qualified Americans cannot be found. Moreover, an examination of federal tax forms and school documents reveals that GM charter schools tend to purchase a substantial portion of their goods and services from Gülenist businesses.

This symbiotic relationship is occurring in many areas around the nation. For example, a trio of GM schools in Georgia are currently in the spotlight because they defaulted on a $19 million bond issue. An audit revealed the schools improperly granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for purchases like T-shirts, teacher training, and video production services from organizations with connections to school officials, or Gülen followers, or to businesses and groups with ties to the Gülen Movement. In some cases, bidding requirements were ignored. “I would just question how those vendors were selected when price in many instances wasn’t part of the decision making,” said Fulton County superintendent Robert Avossa.

In Texas, similar allegations have been aimed at the Cosmos Foundation, a charter school operator founded a decade ago by a group of professors and businessmen from Turkey. The group, currently using the name Harmony Schools, has become the biggest charter operation in the state, and while its primary mission is educating schoolchildren, it has forged ongoing relationships with a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants. Some of those founders, as well as school operators, and many of their business suppliers, are followers of Fethullah Gülen.

Harmony receives more than $100 million a year in taxpayer funds. When questioned how that money was spent with regards to awarding contracts, Harmony produced a list showing that local American companies had been awarded only 13 construction and renovation jobs over several years. On the other hand, a New York Times review of contracts since January 2009, totaling 35 contracts and $82 million worth of work, revealed that all but 3 jobs worth about $1.5 million went to Turkish-owned businesses. Such contracts included an $8.2 million deal awarded to TDM Contracting to build the Harmony School of Innovation during the company’s very first month in business. Such “good fortune” is in direct contrast to established local companies that claimed they weren’t awarded contracts, despite bidding several hundred thousand dollars lower.

One of those companies is Atlas Texas Construction and Trading, a Houston-based contractor with offices in Texas and Turkey. Atlas was awarded two contracts by Cosmos in Texas, the fairness of which was questioned by local contractors, who wondered why the company got both jobs when it was underbid by one company on one job, and four on the other.  Atlas showed up on a list of Gülen-affiliated companies in a 2006 cable from the American Consul General in Istanbul, released by WikiLeaks. In Louisiana, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in eastern New Orleans is linked to a bribe offer allegedly made by Inci Akpinar — the vice president of Atlas.

Other possible sources of income for the GM movement were revealed in a 2011 report by the Philadelphia Inquirer. They revealed that the FBI is investigating a GM charter school employee kickback scheme, aimed at funding the larger GM movement.

Operators of Gülen-based charter schools stress over and over that their charters hew to state-mandated curriculums. Yet in Inver Grove Heights, MN, a substitute teacher named Amanda Getz claims the Tarek Ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) maintained no separation between academics studied during school and Islamic studies afterward. She also claims she was instructed to take students in fours to the bathroom for “ritual washing” before lunch on Fridays (the Muslim holy day), after which, “teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap” led the students in Muslim prayers. She further revealed that while religious instruction is not part of the “school day,” most students stay after — perhaps because school buses don’t leave until the Islamic studies are over.

Concerned Americans have begun to push back. In Austin, Texas, a protest rally was organized in August 2011 against the Harmony School of Political Science in that city. Rally organizer Donna Garner cited Fethullah Gülen’s influence in changing Turkey from pro- to anti-American, the link between Cosmos/Harmony/Atlas Construction in Texas and Louisiana’s Pelican schools, as well as concerns regarding how “teachers who can hardly speak English and are fresh from Turkey will present such historically significant elements as the Holocaust, the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.”

In Tennessee last May, Gov. Bill Haslam allowed a bill that limits the number of foreign workers at charter schools to become law without his signature. According to the bill, if a school wants 3.5 percent or more of its staff to be hired from among the foreign workers in the H1B or J-1 visa programs (with an exception for language teachers), it can now be refused a charter to operate by chartering authorities. American Muslim Advisory Council board member Sabina Mohyuddin from Tullahoma, labeled it “an anti-Muslim bill shrouded in anti-immigrant language.”

Last month in Loudoun, VA, applicants behind the proposed Loudoun Math and IT Academy in that city were peppered with questions from residents who were concerned that the proposed charter has ties to the Gülen Movement. Access Point Public Affairs’ Mindy Williams, who serves as the spokeswoman for the charter school applicants, along with School Board Vice Chairman Jill Turgeon and Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Janet Clarke, were met with a great amount of skepticism when they said they believed the school was not tied to Gülen or his movement. “I do think it’s very important that we’re absolutely sure there is no connection,” Clarke said, “but in all fairness, we can’t draw that connection when we don’t know quite yet.”

Perhaps they’re not looking hard enough. At an earlier meeting, it was pointed out that Ali Bicak is one of the founding members of Chesapeake Science Point in Maryland, which has alleged ties to the Gülen Movement and is ostensibly the school after which the Loudoun Math and IT Academy is modeled. Fatih Kandil, listed as an applicant for the Loudoun charter school, is a former principal of Chesapeake Science Point and was the director of the Horizon Science Academy in Ohio, which has also been accused of ties with Gülen. “There’s a trend here I’m hoping you see,” said meeting attendee Rachel Sargent.

Read more at Front Page

Stealth Islamist Charter Schools Under Investigation

Fethullah Gulen

By Arnold Ahlert

The charter school movement associated with Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen is under federal investigation

If one believes that the battle for the nation’s soul is occurring, not just in Washington, D.C., but in schools across the nation, the steady advance of Turkish-Gulen Charter Schools may be cause for alarm. Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish Islamic cleric who fled his native country in 1998, after being charged with seeking to overthrow the secular Turkish government. He currently lives in exile at a 28-acre mountain complex in the Pocono Mountains, with more than $25 billion of assets at his command. The 135 charter schools associated with the Gulen Movement (GM) enroll more than 45,000 students and comprise the largest charter school network in the United States — all of which are fully funded by American taxpayers. Fethullah Gulen has been under investigation by the government since 2011.

That investigation, carried out by FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education, is centered around charter school employees who are allegedly engaged in kicking back part of their salaries to the Muslim movement also known as Hizmet (service to others), founded by Gulen. Gulen initiated his movement in Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast, more than 40 years ago, preaching impassioned sermons to his followers, who may now number as many as six million. In Turkey, the Gulen Movement has been accused of pushing for a hardline Islamic state. Despite this reality, government officials investigating the kickback scheme are apparently satisfied that there is no religious agenda being disseminated in America. Their investigation is centered around the hundreds of Turkish teachers, administrators, and other staffers employed under the H1B visa program, who may or may not be misusing taxpayer money.

This would appear to be a stunningly naive approach to the issue. H1B visas allow US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations on a temporary basis. “Specialty occupations” are defined as “requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.” Gulen schools are among the nation’s largest users of the H1B visas. In 2009, they received government approvals for 684 visas. The Harmony School, a Gulen-related institution, has applied for more H1B visas than any educational institution in the country.

GM officials at some of the charter schools that ostensibly specialize in math and science, claim they need to fill teaching spots with Turkish teachers. At the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School in State College, Ruth Hocker, former president of the parents’ group, grew suspicious when certified American teachers began to be replaced by uncertified Turks with limited English-speaking skills who, despite that limitation, commanded higher salaries. Parents pointed out that these uncertified teachers were moved from one charter to another when their “emergency” credentials expired. They also spoke about a pattern of sudden turnovers of Turkish business managers, administrators, and board members.

Similar complaints arose in Texas, where it was revealed that hundreds of Turkish teachers and administrators were also working with H1B visas. In addition, the Harmony School group was using taxpayer money to fund Gulen’s movement via school construction and renovation projects. Despite assertions that the bidding process on those projects was fair, records showed that virtually all of the work has been done by Turkish-owned contractors, according to the New York Times.

A former teacher from Turkey revealed an ominous development, reportedly telling the FBI that the Gulen Movement had divided the United States into five regions, with a general manager in each who coordinates the activities of the schools, and related foundations and cultural centers.

All of the above raises the obvious question: if these schools are traditional American charter schools that do nothing more than “follow the state curriculum,” as Tansu Cidav, the acting CEO of the Truebright Science Academy in North Philadelphia contends, why is it necessary to hire foreign teachers and coordinate activities nationwide?

A federal document released in 2011 may provide the answer. It posits that Gulen’s charter schools may in fact be madrassahs, where students are “brain-washed” to serve as proponents of the New Islamic World Order Gulen purportedly seeks to create.

Former Muslim Brotherhood member Walid Shoebat illuminates the bigger picture. Shoebat, who was highly critical of a CBS “60 Minutes” report on Gulen (who refused to be interviewed for the piece), likens the cleric’s movement to the leftist Center for American Progress (CAP) And radical billionaire George Soros. “Both men are extremely wealthy, use that money to surreptitiously spread their ideologies, and like to operate behind the scenes as much as possible,” writes Shoebat.

Read more at Front Page

When Romney Met Kenny: Mitt’s Islamist Gamble

Islamist Watch:

by David J. Rusin

Mitt Romney’s embrace of Kenny Gamble, an operator of Philadelphia charter schools who doubles as a prominent suit-and-tie Islamist calling himself Luqman Abdul Haqq, raises questions about a potential Romney administration’s readiness to identify and steer clear of smooth-talking radicals. The Republican candidate should treat this blunder as a learning opportunity. The lesson: never make the mistake of promoting a Muslim leader without properly vetting him first.The story begins on May 24, when Romney’s desire to push his education policies and reach out to urban voters prompted a visit to West Philadelphia’s Universal Bluford Charter School, one of several managed by Gamble’s conglomerate, Universal Companies. According to an ABC News report, Romney “had heard about Universal … and asked for an invitation.” Gamble claimed as much in a radio interview.

Seated beside Gamble, Romney joined other local figures for a roundtable (video here) in which he discussed ideas for attracting good teachers, involving parents, and boosting achievement. Romney generously praised Gamble, at one point turning to him and saying, “I’d like to get your experience from the front lines and first salute you for the investment you’ve made, financial and personal, in establishing a pathway for hundreds, thousands of young people to have changed lives.” Gamble led Romney on a tour of the facilities as well.

No less disconcerting, the Romney campaign appears not to have done any serious follow-up on Gamble despite drawing criticism from bloggers for the trip to an “Islamist-owned charter school.” Thus, Romney compounded the previous error by eagerly dropping Gamble’s name multiple times during NBC’s Education Nation summit in New York on September 25.

“I saw a school in the inner city of Philadelphia,” Romney explained. “And I understand that the school was closed down, that 90 percent of the kids in that school were not reading at grade level. … A guy named Kenny Gamble … put in place a charter school.” After recounting his surprise at the art, music, and computer instructors there, Romney touted how Gamble runs it “like a business.” He continued: “As I recall, almost 90 percent of the students there now are reading at grade level. And it’s the same students.” (Note, however, that Universal’s education record is very much a mixed bag.)

Wherever Romney originally heard about Gamble and Universal, it probably was not from the websites of Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, Islamist Watch, or Militant Islam Monitor, which for years have documented Gamble’s troubling agenda — a history that should make him toxic to any politician knowledgeable about stealth jihad.

An African-American music and real estate mogul, Gamble has long been listed — under his alternate name, Luqman Abdul Haqq — as part of the governing council of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), which is among the most radical U.S. Muslim groups. Its formation was inspired by Jamil al-Amin, a convicted cop killer and Islamic separatist who dreams of a Shari’a-run state; he enjoys MANA’s support to this day and even has phoned into MANA meetings from prison. Gamble’s other MANA colleagues have included Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who preached jihad against the U.S. and was shot to death after initiating a gunfight with federal agents in 2009, and Siraj Wahhaj, one of the “unindicted personswho may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Just as several MANA leaders have championed the building of closed Islamic communities, Gamble outlined his own “model” for them during an interview on Saudi television. Worse, he is suspected of actually using his enormous South Philadelphia real estate holdings to assemble what has been dubbed a “black Muslim enclave.” Confronted in 2007, Gamble responded with a rant portraying segregation as natural. “It’s like cats,” he insisted. “They’re all cats. But you don’t see the lion with the tiger. You don’t see the tiger with the panther.” Equally alarming are Gamble’s intimate ties to the Jawala Scouts (photos here), aptly described as an “Islamic paramilitary boys group” featuring “hand-to-hand combat, firearms training, and survival tactics.”

Additional background is available in an Islamist Watch article from 2008, published after Gamble left his fingerprints on that year’s election by hosting an Obama office. Alternatively, a simple online search yields plentiful data.

What makes the Romney-Gamble flirtation so unsettling is the apparent lack of due diligence in determining who does and does not get endorsed by the man who could be the next leader of the free world. Ten minutes on Google should suffice to raise red flags, but did anyone from the campaign bother to look? More disturbing is the possibility that uncomfortable facts turned up but were dismissed as tangential to Gamble’s work in education.

“Saluting” somebody like Gamble for one facet of his life while ignoring the rest imparts an aura of respectability to the individual as a whole, easing the path for his less savory projects. This seems to be understood for every group except Muslims. Imagine, for example, a senior figure in a radical Christian organization whose luminaries have been linked to violence and terrorism, a man who has shrugged off charges of constructing a “white Christian enclave” and been involved with a youth movement whose participants march in fatigues and brandish weapons. Regardless of his other accomplishments, would this person be asked to share camera time with a presidential hopeful? The question answers itself.

The role of the media is significant here. Though they would hammer any candidate who bolstered the analogous Christian radical, mainstream news sources that covered Romney’s Bluford visit made no mention of the skeletons in Gamble’s closet, illustrating that their see-no-evil mentality vis-à-vis Islamism trumps even their instinct to shame Republicans. Indeed, the obvious hypersensitivity and double standards protecting Islamists can foster complacency among politicians of both parties, who assume that they will not be held accountable for palling around with them.

This certainly has been the case in Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael Nutter has suffered no ill effects from having Gamble on his inaugural committee, personally presenting the sign to rename a block in Gamble’s honor, and headlining the dedication ceremony for a taxpayer-supported mural that lauds him. Such legitimization has paved the way for Gamble to build his Islamist-tinged empire through massive government assistance, including dirt-cheap property from the city, sweetheart deals with the School Reform Commission when it was chaired by a onetime Universal board member, and regular feedings at public troughs that span the municipal, state, and federal levels.

Rather than provide a “they do it too” excuse for politicians caught befriending Islamists, the Philadelphia establishment’s cozy relations with Gamble only underscore the importance of a critical eye and the will to act on it — in other words, real leadership. As radical Muslims aggressively seek similar openings to win undeserved respect and influence governments both nationally and internationally, a president capable of recognizing and shunning them is more vital than ever. Washington’s colossal and bipartisan failures in Muslim outreach — most recently seen in the mind-boggling selection of an Islamist to represent the U.S. at a conference on human rights — have done enough damage already.

Islamists have grown adept at hiding in plain sight, so great care must be taken when choosing which Muslims to engage and extol. With luck, airing the embarrassing facts behind his unfortunate promotion of Kenny Gamble / Luqman Abdul Haqq will be the wake-up call that Mitt Romney needs to learn this lesson now and, should he prevail on November 6, be in a better position to succeed where past presidents have faltered.

David J. Rusin is a research fellow at Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.