Secretive Turkish Movement Buys U.S. Influence

Fethullah Gülen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pa., last September. Reuters

Fethullah Gülen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pa., last September. Reuters

By :

HOUSTON — The secretive religious and political movement inspired by the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen has become a potent, and surprising, force in a set of obscure races for the House of Representatives, as Gülen sympathizers around the country donate tens of thousands of dollars to an overlapping set of candidates.

The movement, whose leader draws intense interest from Washington to Ankara from his compound in rural Pennsylvania, has long involved itself in American life, organizing in particular around a group of charter schools and Turkish community institutions. Started in Turkey as a moderate Islamic movement in the secular 1960s and 1970s, the movement — also known as Hizmet, roughly meaning “service” in Turkish — runs schools, businesses, and media outlets around the world. There is no formal membership: Affiliates say they are “inspired” by Gülen and many groups aligned with him deny any official affiliation.

But the movement’s agenda, in Turkey, has clarified in recent months. Gülen — who left Turkey for the Poconos in 1999 following charges that he was attempting to undermine the Turkish state — broke bitterly with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year over a corruption investigation that has rocked Erdogan’s party and that the prime minister has blamed on Gülen and his followers.

Here in the United States, meanwhile, Gülen’s allies have been stepping up their involvement in U.S. politics, emerging as a force in districts from South Texas to South Brooklyn. Liberal Democrats like Yvette Clarke, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Al Green, and conservative Republicans like Ted Poe and Pete Olson have all benefitted from donors affiliated with Gülen in one way or another.

Leaders in the movement deny that there is any top-down organization of the donations (or, indeed, that the Gülen movement has any organization at all), but the patterns of giving suggest some level of coordination in a community beginning to flex its political muscle. Gülen himself reportedly told followers in 2010 that they could only visit him in the Poconos if they donated to their local congressman, according to the Wall Street Journal, though Gülen has denied the comment.

The donations, taken together, comprise significant totals for some U.S. House members in relatively safe seats. For instance, people connected to the Gülen-inspired charter schools donated $23,000 to Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in October 2013 — a large sum considering Jackson Lee has raised just more than $130,000 this cycle in individual contributions, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Read more at Buzz Feed

Shocking Allegations About Ohio Charter Schools Tied to Controversial Turkish Leader

FBIRAidBy PAULA BOLYARD:

On the heels of an FBI raid of several Horizon-Concept charter schools in Ohio, several former teachers and employees have come forward to make shocking allegations of inflated test scores and falsified attendance records, racist and sexist behavior by Turkish teachers and administrators, and sexual harassment and abuse that went unreported by administrators. At a State Board of Education meeting last week, former employees described not only low educational standards, but also an atmosphere of intimidation — American teachers feared Turkish administrators who fired teachers at the first sign of disloyalty while Turkish teachers were promoted, often despite poor job performance. The charter schools, associated with the Turkish Gülen movement and its controversial leader, Fethullah Gülen, promote Turkish language and culture and many of the schools are known for their academic excellence.

Richard Storrick, who taught at Horizon Science Dayton High School for two and a half years, told members of the state school board about a “sex game” that went on in the middle school classroom of a Turkish teacher, saying that standards differ “whether you are from Turkish descent or of American descent.” Storrick said that no action was taken when the director of the school was informed about the game and in fact, the teacher was re-hired the next year and given additional responsibilities.

Storrick also said that Turkish students were treated differently than American students. “If you were a Turkish student, you knew you could get away with misbehavior, including fighting, and be back the next day. Turkish students were permitted to skip class or school with no repercussions,” Storrick said. Turkish teachers called African American students “dogs” and “monkeys.” Another teacher at the same school, Timothy Neary added, “Racism was an issue. Black kids would be disciplined much more severely than Turkish students. If there was a fight in school, the Turkish students would be back the next day. Many of the black students would get severe consequences.” He also said that sexism was a problem. “It was almost gross how they’d talk to women. They’d tell them to not talk or cut them off in midpoint,” Neary said, adding that the majority of teachers fired were women.

Kelly Kochensparger, who served as the Dayton charter school’s public communications director in addition to her teaching duties, said that middle school students were caught on tape engaging in oral sex. School administrators notified neither the parents nor the authorities, preferring to focus on maintaining the school’s positive image instead, she said.

gulem_schools_in_us

Matt Blair, a former teacher at the Horizon Academy in Dayton, alleged that there was cheating on state achievement tests. “School officials were filling in bubbles on standardized tests. They claimed that it was because students didn’t fill in circles dark enough.” Richard Neary, who taught at the same school said, “Even though standardized tests are supposed to be taken and locked in a secure place, that did not always occur, if ever.” Neary added, “All the tests would go into one room, with one Turkish administrator behind a locked door and nobody would ever see the tests again.” Board member Mary Rose Oakar noted that most of the Concept schools had very high test scores. “If would be very disturbing if there was cheating going on to get these ratings,” she said.

Neary also said he suspected the school was falsifying attendance records. “School administrators clearly lied about attendance. I can honestly tell you never once did I have a full classroom with my roster with every single student, yet they reported to you a 97% attendance rate,” he said. “I guess that’s an easy one to fudge.”

State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), who was in attendance at the state school board meeting, asked what percentage of the teachers were Turkish, noting that she had never seen any during her visits to the schools. One of the teachers explained, “They come over on visas that say they need to teach math and science. Yet they’re teaching gym, they’re treasurers, they’re administrators, they’re guidance counselors, they’re IT. Since when did we have a lack of gym teachers in the state of Ohio?” he asked. One teacher explained, “Sometimes they hide behind — I’m being honest — in closets that are made into offices. So no, you wouldn’t have seen them. And many times when people — dignitaries — come in and things like that , they would ask one of [the American teachers] to be the hand shakers and introduce people and talk.”.

Read more at PJ Media

HOLTON: Islamic Radicals Mount Influence Operation On Louisiana Leges

“You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers… until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this.  If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere…”

- ​​​​​​Fethullah Gulen

reception-save-the-date-april-21Later this month, organizations affiliated with the Turkish-based Gulenist Islamist movement will hold a reception lobbying Louisiana’s lawmakers.

Why would a Turkish-based Islamist movement seek to lobby lawmakers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA? For the same reason they have conducted similar influence operations in almost every state capitol in the United States.

The Gulenist Islamist movement is a 25 billion dollar empire that raises money partially through membership dues and partially through commercial activities, such as their Shariah-compliant bank, their Shariah-compliant insurance company, a media empire consisting of TV networksnews agencies, and news magazinesindustrial trade organizationsuniversities, and a network of 1300 schools in the US, Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The Gulenist movement’s main focus in the US has been its network of schools, two of which have operated here in the state of Louisiana:

• Abramson school in New Orleans, which had its charter revoked and was shut down in the midst of public bribery and misconduct allegations.

• Kenilworth Science and Technology Academy in Baton Rouge, which was raided by the FBI late last year and is the target of a federal investigation.

By now you’re wondering what the Gulenist movement is, no doubt. The Gulenist movement is a secretive, controversial Islamist movement founded by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar with a controversial history and a great many followers and admirers in both the Islamic and Western worlds. However, a close analysis of Gulen and his movement reveals what may very well be a disturbing threat, rather than the benign movement that many suppose. (Gulen fled Turkey for the US in 1998 and settled in a massive, fortified compound in rural Pennsylvania.)

Gulen preaches peace on the one hand – while on the other hand credible reports indicate that the Gulenist movement controls the secret police in Turkey, which has been key to brutally suppressing recent pro-democracy protests there. But Gulen’s primary relevance to Americans comes from something quite peculiar – namely, the fact that his movement is associated with roughly 1,200 schools in numerous countries around the globe, including approximately 135 schools here in the USA. The American Gulenist schools are mostly taxpayer-subsidized charter schools and there is much to be concerned about, both in terms of their goals and operations. And Americans – and in particular those Americans charged with credentialing these schools – know scant little about with whom they’re dealing.

In reviewing the long-form literature on Fethullah Gulen, without exception, every single book about Gulen paints him in a positive, almost saint-like light. In order to fully grasp the man and his motivations, one has to read his own work – the most troubling and revealing of which is his 1998 book Prophet Muhammad as Commander.

While much of the book details the life of Muhammad as a military commander and political leader, the opening sections of the book reveal more about the author than they reveal about Muhammad, about whom much is already known and documented. The first 37 pages of Prophet Muhammad as Commander contain revealing, troubling passages that provide a window on Fethullah Gulen’s views on Jihad and warfare.

In Prophet Muhammad as Commander, Gulen explains Muslim hostility toward non-Muslims in a similar manner that most non-Muslims will find at least very curious:

“For this reason, a Muslim’s enmity towards unbelievers is, in fact, in the form of pitying them.”

Gulen ties this pity in with the concept of “compassion.” Unbelievers who deny that Allah is the only god and that Muhammad was his prophet are thought to be committing an “injustice.” Out of “compassion” for those unbelievers and to prevent them from committing further injustice, Muslims have enmity towards them and in some cases fight them as enemies.

Jihad as a concept fits in with justice. In fact, according to Gulen (page 20), Jihad is integral to justice:

“God does not approve wrongdoing and disorder. He wills that human beings should live in peace and, accordingly, that justice should prevail amongst them. It is therefore incumbent upon those who believe in One God and worship Him faithfully to secure justice in the world. Islam calls this responsibility jihad.”

Gulen then goes on to explain the various forms of jihad, including warfare.

Read more at The Hayride

American Gets Targeted by Digital Spy Tool Sold to Foreign Governments

Turkish-web-site-660x450

Screenshot showing a web site in Turkey where malicious code was stored for a phishing attack. The right-hand window shows the page’s hidden HTML code, which reveals a malicious Flash component embedded in the page, waiting to download to computers that visited the site.

By Kim Zetter:

The email appeared to come from a trusted colleague at a renowned academic institution and referenced a subject that was a hot-button issue for the recipient, including a link to a website where she could obtain more information about it.

But when the recipient looked closely at the sender’s email address, a tell-tale misspelling gave the phishing attempt away — the email purported to come from a professor at Harvard University, but instead of harvard.edu, the email address read “hardward.edu”.

Not exactly a professional con-job from nation-state hackers, but that’s exactly who may have sent the email to an American woman, who believes she was targeted by forces in Turkey connected to or sympathetic to the powerful Gülen Movement, which has infiltrated parts of the Turkish government.

The email contained a link to a web site in Turkey, where a malicious downloader file was waiting to install on her computer — a downloader that has been connected in the past to a spy tool purportedly sold exclusively to law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous because she’s concerned about retaliation, sensed the email was a fraud and did not follow the link. Instead, the email was passed to researchers at digital forensics firm Arsenal Consulting, who set up a honeypot to visit the Turkish web site and obtained the downloader.

Though investigators didn’t obtain the file that the downloader was supposed to install, analysis of it showed that it was the same downloader that has been used in the past to install Remote Control System (RCS), a spy tool made by the Italian company Hacking Team and sold to governments. A digital certificate used to sign the downloader has also been used in the past with Hacking Team’s tool.

“It was the first hint that this was connected to Hacking Team and RCS,” Mark. G. Spencer, president of Arsenal, told Wired.

Hacking Team asserts that it sells the RCS tool only to law enforcement and government security agencies for lawful intercept purposes, but it has reportedly been used against activists and political dissidents in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates and possibly elsewhere, an issue for which Hacking Team has been severely criticized.

The company touts in marketing literature that the tool evades encryption and bypasses antivirus and other security protections to operate completely invisibly on a target’s machine.

The RCS tool, also known as DaVinci, records text and audio conversations from Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and MSN Messenger, among other communication applications. It also steals Web browsing history and can turn on a computer’s microphone and webcam to record conversations in a room and take photos. The tool relies on an extensive infrastructure to operate and therefore is not easily copied and passed to non-government actors outside that infrastructure to use for their own personal spy purposes, according to a Hacking Team spokesman.

Spencer says there’s no definitive proof pointing to who is behind the attempted hack of the American woman, but notes there is circumstantial evidence that warrants further attention.

“We have an email, a purported sender, and a target all critical of the Gülen movement. We have professional malware launched from a server in Turkey. You can take it from there,” Spencer said.

Read more at Wired

 

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.

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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Gulen’s False Choice: Silence or Violence

Fethullah Gulen

By Stephen Schwartz:

The imam and his army should follow their own advice: respond to insults against Muhammad or other non-violent attacks by presenting a better example of Islam, rather than by attempting prior restraint on free expression.

When the enigmatic Turkish Islamist leader, M. Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the U.S., published, in the September 27 London Financial Times, an op-ed column with a clumsy turn from benevolent moderation to hard Islamist ambitions, he revealed his authentic character.

The topic was, probably predictably, the latest outburst of terrorism in Muslim countries, along with the pretext of indignation against a crude video made in the U.S. and which insulted Muhammad. The op-ed, entitled, “Violence is not in the tradition of the Prophet,” emphasized, in the first seven (out of nine) paragraphs, that Muslims should not react to insults against Muhammad by destructive protests: “The violent response,” he wrote, “was wrong… Muslims …must speak out [against] violence… The question we should ask ourselves as Muslims is whether we have introduced Islam and its Prophet properly to the world. Have we followed his example in such a way as to instill admiration?… [A Muslim] should respect the sacred values of Christians, Jews, Buddhists and others as he expects his own religion and values to be respected.” So far, so good.

The true outlook of Fethullah Gulen, however, was revealed in his last two paragraphs: “Hate speech designed to incite violence is an abuse of the freedom of expression… [W]e should appeal to the relevant international institutions, such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] or the UN, to intervene, expose and condemn instances of hate speech. We can do whatever it takes within the law to prevent any disrespect to all revered religious figure, not only to the Prophet Muhammad. The attacks on the Prophet we have repeatedly experienced are to be condemned, but the correct response is not violence. Instead, we must pursue a relentless campaign to promote respect for the sacred values of all religions,” Gulen proclaimed.

Gulen proposes, in so many words, adoption of international laws against blasphemy as an alternative to homicidal outbursts. And what would a “relentless campaign” involve other than disrespect for free speech? Presenting terrorist mobs and blasphemy codes as the principal alternatives for redress of offended Muslims’ grievances is hardly reasonable, and conflicts with the reputation Gulen has sought to construct for himself and his followers as dedicated adherents to interfaith dialogue and tolerance of religious differences.

Gulen leads a massive, worldwide religious, journalistic, and educational network, known as Hizmet (Service). His movement is associated with the Istanbul daily newspaper Zaman (Time), which claims to be Turkey’s largest in circulation. Zaman produces an English online edition, Today’s Zaman, as well as media aimed at the overseas Turkish communities in Germany and Australia. Zaman also appears in locally-edited versions in countries, from the Balkans to Kyrgyzia, which possess either Turkish minorities, or are viewed as part of a pan-Turkish cultural sphere. Zaman has no problem with restrictive press rules under notorious dictatorships, such as, for example, that of the former Soviet Muslim republic of Turkmenistan, under the eccentric, coercive, and energy-rich regime established by its post-Communist autocrat, Suparmarat Niyazov (1940-2006). Zaman Turkmenistan, following the prevailing rules, has refrained from reporting news unfavorable to Niyazov’s regime and its successors.

Gulen is doubtless best known outside Turkey for a system of science-oriented primary, secondary, and higher education institutions across the globe, including many operated as “charter schools,” with local public financing, in the U.S. The Gulen school system in America – 120 establishments in 2012, according to The New York Times – has been questioned for its odd characteristics. These include recruiting American students of non-Turkish descent to learn Turkish – hardly a likely first choice for American learners of a second language – and participating in competitions for the mastery of Turkish culture. Turkish-Americans, however, according to the reliable estimates, account for fewer than 150,000 people out of the total population, thereby depriving the Gulen program of an argument for multicultural representation in public school curricula of a significant minority culture.

Further, in the last two years, mainstream media have reported U.S. federal and state investigations of the Gulen charter school system. These have focused on charges of diversion of local government money to Gulen-controlled businesses and abuse of “H1B” work visas for teachers brought from Turkey and Central Asia who have substandard qualifications, while American teachers with superior credentials suffer unemployment. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that three Gulen schools in the American state of Georgia (he has many more schools in the former Soviet republic of Georgia) had defaulted on bonds, and that an audit had disclosed improper contracting for services with Gulen enterprises.

The Gulen movement’s American branches additionally offer speaking platforms and tours of Turkey to influential Americans, with considerable success. Gulen, who began his professional life as an imam, has enjoyed the support of America’s premier academic apologist for radical Islam, Professor John Louis Esposito of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, as well as other prominent figures. Through them, he has projected himself as a preacher of moderate, spiritual Islam related to the Sufi tradition and particularly to that of Said Nursi (1878-1960), who advocated a fusion of science and faith. Gulen has been especially identified by his defenders with mutual respect between religions and as an advocate for secular education, an opponent of terrorism, and, in effect, a lover of all humanity.

Inside Turkey, Gulen and his movement have a different image. They inspire considerable fear. Gulen’s followers have been accused of an elaborate strategy of infiltration of state institutions, including the army, police, and judiciary. Ahmet Sik, a Turkish journalist who wrote an expose of the movement, The Imam’s Army, was charged with participation in a nebulous “conspiracy” called “Ergenekon,” organized ostensibly by a “deep state” within the Turkish institutions. Sik was released in March 2012 after more than a year in prison. The Imam’s Army is banned in Turkey and has yet to be printed as a book there, although it, and excerpts translated into English, have been posted on the internet.

Read more at Gatestone Institute