Crackdown in Turkey: Erdogan Criminalizes Leaks, Seeks Extradition of US Cleric Gulen

erdogan_turkey_APBy Frances Martel:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has expanded the powers of Turkey’s secret service and granted agents immunity, while the government plans to pass a bill that would sentence journalists to ten years in prison for publishing leaks. The moves come as Erdogan cracks down on opposition forces accusing him of corruption.

The BBC reports that Erdogan’s new laws would give Turkey’s secret service, known as MIT, extensive surveillance powers to monitor opposition groups in the country. It would allow for significantly freer intelligence gathering and encourage counterintelligence operations against enemies of the government, which opposition leaders in the legislature vehemently oppose.

The law would also gives MIT agents expanded immunity powers relating specifically to MIT work that requires some skirting of the law.

The particularly controversial proposal in the bill is a proposal to allow judges to sentence journalists for up to ten years for publishing leaked information brought to them by whistleblowers, including video or audio tapes. This provision follows the release of a number of audio tapes allegedly of phone calls Erdogan has made, including a particularly controversial one posted on social media in which it appears Erdogan and his son are scheming to hide large sums of money.

The BBC notes that these laws, following attempts by Erdogan to ban social media vehicles like YouTube and Twitter, are receiving significant pushback from opposition leaders. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, warned that Turkey could become an “intelligence state” under the new provisions, even more so than some in the opposition argue the state currently is.

Erdogan also announced that Turkey has begun proceedings to extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish citizen living in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen’s teachings are said to have fueled the opposition into organizing against Erdogan, and the president considers him an enemy, after the government accused Gulen of inappropriate Islamic activities.

Speaking to Charlie Rose, Erdogan said that Gulen was involved in “an effort to take away some power, and these efforts involved the security forces and judiciary.” These efforts, he added, “were unacceptable to me” because they were an attempt to stage a coup. He added that “the first step that they took was against the secretary of the national intelligence agency,” implying that this agency more than any needed to be protected from the opposition.

Erdogan went on to say that he fully expected the United States to cooperate and extradite Gulen, as a threat to his government would be a threat to any government. “These elements which threaten the national security of Turkey cannot be allowed to exist in other countries because what they do to us here, they might do against their host,” Erdogan said,according to transcripts. He also relied on what he considered a positive relationship with Washington to see the extradition happen.

Erdogan’s AKP Party Rocked By Scandal: Who’s Behind It?

Edogan

Some analysts are saying that, because of this corruption scandal, either Erdogan or what remains of democracy will exit from Turkey.

BY LONNA LISA WILLIAMS:

No one is sure who is behind the corruption inquiries that have been rocking Turkey the past week and upsetting Prime Minister Erdogan’s AKP Party, but there are several theories.

Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan of the AKP (“white”) Party closed down the private language schools of powerful exiled Islamic cleric Fetullah Gulen. Then, to everyone’s surprise (even Erdogan’s), top leaders in the AKP Party found their families being investigated.

Erdogan called this an attack against his government and implicated Fetullah Gulen as being behind the sudden corruption inquiries that landed top government officials, bank presidents, and even billionaire builders in jail.

Gulen denied involvement in the “operation” (as it’s being called in the Turkish news).

No one really knows what is happening right now in Turkey. The U.S. is calling this “a family fight” and doesn’t want to be dragged into it. Whoever is behind this scandal, the fact remains that lots of money is involved.

Photos of cash, huge safes and even ATM machines stashed in the houses of top Turkish leaders have circulated the internet. Erdogan struck back by firing dozens of police officers and even police chiefs across Turkey, including the one in charge of Istanbul.

Gulen cursed this act of firing police officers (and, it seems, in doing so cursed the one responsible for the acts—Erdogan himself). On one of his websites Gulen wrote, ” . . . Those who don’t see the thief but go after those trying to catch the thief, who don’t see the murder but try to defame others by accusing innocent people—let God bring fire to their houses, ruin their homes, break their unities.”

“Maybe the CHP [the main opposition party] is at least partly behind this,” one Turkish man told me. “They are Ataturk’s party and don’t want to see his ideals of secular democracy betrayed. They also want closer ties to Europe and the human rights it offers. Too many Turks now sit in prison simply for speaking or writing what Erdogan doesn’t like. They don’t want to see Turkey become an Islamic state like Erdogan envisions. They don’t want to be dragged back to the time of the sultans.”

Read more at Clarion Project

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

Turkey’s Gülen Movement: Between Social Activism and Politics

[Left: Fethullah Gülen, from Diyar Muhammed, via Flickr; right: Prime Minister Erdoğan, from World Economic Forum via Flickr.]

[Left: Fethullah Gülen, from Diyar Muhammed, via Flickr; right: Prime Minister Erdoğan, from World Economic Forum via Flickr.]

By Bayram Balci:

Since its election in 2002, the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has transformed Turkey. The reforms initiated by this conservative government with Islamic roots have amounted to a passive revolution—they have profoundly altered Turkish society, modernized its institutions, and strengthened its economy, which is now the sixteenth-largest in the world in terms of GDP.

Yet it would be a mistake to attribute the many successes that have enhanced Turkey’s role as a major regional and international player to AKP leadership alone. Erdoğan’s government has enjoyed support from a number of political organizations as well as from influential religious and social forces within Turkey. The most invaluable, but also the hardest to assess, is a movement that plays a fundamental role in Turkey’s social and religious life: the Gülen movement of Fethullah Gülen, referred to by the terms cemaat or hizmet.

The AKP and the Gülen movement established an alliance in 2002 based on a common desire to push back the central role of the military in the country and create a new, more conservative, and more Muslim Turkey. Each brought different skills to the task—Erdoğan and his AKP colleagues were experienced in political activism and electoral politics, while the Gülen movement used education and social activism to promote its objectives. This alliance was not without disagreements, but until recently common interests outweighed differences.

During the past few months, however, tensions have deepened between Erdoğan and the Gülenists in the realms of both domestic and foreign policy, causing speculation that the alliance is headed for a fundamental break. There can be no doubt that rifts have emerged over a variety of issues, from the rising power of the Gülen movement to the increasingly authoritarian actions of the prime minister. But talk of a complete break may well be premature.

THE GÜLEN MOVEMENT

Fethullah Gülen emerged as a religious authority in Turkey in the 1970s, and little by little he became the spiritual leader of a vast community that now boasts an estimated 3 million sympathizers. Gülen, who moved to the United States in 1999, encourages his disciples to become modern, moderate Muslims. An adherent of free markets, he champions the Islamic faith and the spirit of capitalism. He is also a nationalist, seeking to boost Turkey’s influence and prestige abroad.

Gülen relies heavily on education to transmit his ideas, and he has formed a network of hundreds of schools and businesses worldwide. This network is active on every continent, including in the United States, where his sympathizers run approximately 130 charter schools, mainly in Texas.

He focuses his efforts on educating new generations and promoting the emergence of elites who are simultaneously pious, modern, patriotic, committed to globalization, and comfortable with economic success. Like the Jesuits and other missionaries who trained Turkey’s republican, Kemalist elites to value secularism and follow a Western path through the schools they founded at the end of the Ottoman Empire, Gülen aspires to use education to help forge new generation of Anatolian, conservative elites (or counterelites) that might play a key role in creating a modern, more openly Islamic Turkey.

Read more at Carnegie Endowment For International Peace (H/T Patrick Poole, @pspoole)

Protesters want Turkish Islamic cleric ousted

bildePocono Record, By Jenna Ebersole:

Protesters waved Turkish and American flags, chanted and played Turkish songs Saturday afternoon at a second peaceful protest this summer against Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen in Saylorsburg.

But this time, rather than scrambling for a place to stand after police told them they could not block Mount Eaton Road in July, protesters’ plans were more sophisticated.

A sound system and stage area gave speakers a platform, while portable toilets and coolers of soda for sale were available on the same field where they held their last protest several miles from the retreat center where Gülen lives.

Gülen has made his home in the Poconos since the 1990s and is a controversial, but well-known figure in Turkey. Supporters say he promotes living in harmony with people of different faiths and has inspired people around the globe, while critics treat his “movement” with suspicion.

The property owner at T&R Farm Shack declined comment Saturday, but representatives collected $10 per car and directed traffic as more than 100 protesters filed into the area with the enthusiasm they also brought in July.

Most of the protesters were Turkish American and many wore shirts with the Turkish flag and depictions of national secular hero Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The protesters repeated earlier accusations against Gülen, arguing that he is connected to the government now leading Turkey and is seeking to Islamicize the country. Speakers also discussed charter schools affiliated with the movement across the U.S. and said Gülen is using American tax money to spread his message.

Umit Dikkaya came from New York City and joined friends. She wore a shirt proclaiming that she is proud to be from Turkey.

“We’re here to expose the reality about this Gülen movement,” she said.

Retired Admiral Turker Erturk came to speak from Istanbul and said he wanted to be part of the peaceful protest.

“I think our mission is to send a real message to the American people,” he said, exposing Gülen.

He spoke to the crowd, leading a chant of “We are Mustafa Kemal’s soldiers.” Attendee Sevtap Schreffler, from Washington D.C., translated his words and said the chant references Atatürk but demonstrates solidarity with all who fight for democracy.

A tattoo of Atatürk’s signature decorated Schreffler’s arm. She said to her, Atatürk represents freedom of religion and feminism.

“Gülen hates Atatürk,” she said. “They want to do away with everything he did.”

Representatives for Gülen released statements Saturday, once again countering each accusation and calling Erturk a well-known Communist in Turkey.

Sharon Higgins, of California, told protesters she has done extensive research on Gülen-affiliated charter schools in the U.S. She has said she favors public school districts against the privitization of education with charter schools.

The statement from the center said the schools are not religious and each began as an individual grassroots effort.

At the protest, Turgut Gozlev wore elaborate clothing and walked quietly with a large flag. He smoked a cigar while explaining he was born in Istanbul, but has lived in the U.S. for 45 years. He came from Philadelphia for the protest and said Gülen must go.

“I do miss Turkey,” he said. But, “this is my country. My children were born here.”

Also see:

More Dangerous than bin Laden? Protestors to Descend on Gulen’s Mountain Fortress in Pennsylvania

20100406_PaulWilliamsGulenCompoundby PAUL L. WILLIAMS, PHD:

A protest against Fethullah Gulen and his movement will take place on Saturday, August 31, at Logging Road in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. The rally is set to start at 2 p.m. and hundreds of Turkish Americans are expected to be in attendance.

The purpose of the event, according to organizer Armagan Yilmaz, is “to warn the American people” about Gulen, “a man even more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden.”

This description, Mr. Yilmaz insists, is not hyperbole. Gulen has been responsible for the transformation of secular Turkey into an Islamic state with 85,000 active mosques – – one for every 350- citizens – – the highest number per capita in the world, 90,000 imams, more imams than teachers and physicians – – and thousands of state-run Islamic schools.

Gulen accomplished this through the creation of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma, AKP) which now controls the Turkish government.

Within the past ten years, Mr. Yilmaz says, everyone who has opposed the militant Islamization of Turkey has been murdered or tossed into prison. Several Turks who escaped from the oppression are scheduled to speak at the gathering, including former Tirkish Admiral Turker Erturk and noted journalists and authors Baris Terkoglu and Baris Pehlivan.

20130828_FethullahGulenKuranYetimFethullah Gulen came to the United States in 1998 and settled in Saylorsburg after an arrest warrant on the charge of sedition was issued in his native Turkey.

Court records from his hearing for permanent U.S. residency show that his financial holdings are enormous, exceeding $25 billion. With these funds, he has established schools throughout Turkey and Central Asia to bring about his dream of “a New Islamic World Order.”

Several countries have outlawed the establishment of Gulen schools within their borders – – including Russia and Uzbekistan. Even the Netherlands, a nation that embraces pluralism and tolerance, has opted to cut funding to the Gulen schools because of their threat to the social order.

In recent years, Gulen has established over 140 charter schools – – all fully funded by U.S. taxpayers allegedly as a means of indoctrinating American students in his militant ideology.

“Under the pretext of being qualified teachers hundreds of unqualified disciples are brought from Turkey to the United States with an H1B visa to work at these schools,” Mr. Yilmaz says. “These teachers are to return 40% of their salaries to the movement in cash which then funds the movement. This way not only is the funding of the movement illegal but also tax fraud is committed.”

The thirty-four “Gulen-inspired” Harmony Schools throughout the Lone Star State have been established at an annual expense to Texas taxpayers of $68 million. The schools are operated by the Cosmos Foundation, a mysterious non-profit corporation with headquarters in Houston. In an interview with this reporter, Sonar Tarim, the superintendent of the schools and a member of the Cosmos Foundation, said: “We have no ties to Fethullah Gulen or his movement.” While Mr. Tarim admitted that the schools participate in the Turkish Olympiad, an event organized by Gulen, he expressed surprise that all of his schools were constructed by Turkish construction companies that reportedly are affiliated with Gulen and his movement.

*****

Osman Nori, the retired head of Turkish intelligence, recently alleged that the Gulen movement has served as a front for US intelligence by sheltering 130 CIA agents in its schools throughout Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

This claim collaborates the testimony of Sybil Edmonds, a former FBI translator and celebrated whistleblower. Ms. Edmonds says that Gulen and his movement began to receive vast sums of money from the CIA in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when US officials realized that they could not obtain control of the massive energy resources of the newly created Russian republics because of a deep-seated suspicion of American motives.

The CIA, Ms. Edmonds maintains, came to view Turkey as a perfect “proxy” for US interests since it was a NATO ally that shared the same language, culture, and religion as the other Central Asian countries. But centralized control of these republics, she points out, could only be actualized by the creation of the Pan-Turkish nationalism and religion, envisioned by Gulen and his followers. And so, according to Ms. Edmonds, the CIA became Gulen’s partner in the creation of the New Islamic World Order. The money for the pasha’s schools and settlements, she says, came not from congressionally-approved funding but rather from covert CIA operations, including narcotics trafficking, nuclear black market, weapons smuggling, and terrorist activities.

Although Gulen and his defenders have refuted this testimony, a Department of Justice inspector general’s report called Ms. Edmond’s allegations “credible,” “serious,” and warranting a full and complete review. Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee members Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have offered her public backing. “60 Minutes,” the CBS news program, launched an investigation of her statements only to find them truthful and substantial. No one has ever disputed any of Ms. Edmonds’ revelations which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files.

Despite Gulen’s global ambitions, he continues to be presented as a moderate Muslim, who champions the causes of tolerance, peace, and good-will. Dalia Mogahed, the first Muslim woman to serve as a member of the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, says that the Gulen movement “offers people a model of what is possible if a dedicated group of people work together for the good of society.”

Read more: Family Security Matters

Paul L. Williams is the author of Crescent Moon Rising: The Islamic Transformation of AmericaThe Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World, The Al Qaeda Connection, and other best-selling books. He is a frequent guest on such national news networks as ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR.

Also see:

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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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

Who Is Fethullah Gülen?

Gülen in his Pennsylvania compound

By Claire Berlinski:

With the American economy in shambles, Europe imploding, and the Middle East in chaos, convincing Americans that they should pay attention to a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gülen is an exceedingly hard sell. Many Americans have never heard of him, and if they have, he sounds like the least of their worries. According to his website, he is an “authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology.” The website adds that “by some estimates, several hundred educational organizations such as K–12 schools, universities, and language schools have been established around the world inspired by Fethullah Gülen.” The site notes, too, that Gülen was “the first Muslim scholar to publicly condemn the attacks of 9/11.” It also celebrates his modesty.

Yet there is a bit more to the story. Gülen is a powerful business figure in Turkey and—to put it mildly—a controversial one. He is also an increasingly influential businessman globally. There are somewhere between 3 million and 6 million Gülen followers—or, to use the term they prefer, people who are “inspired” by him. Sources vary widely in their estimates of the worth of the institutions “inspired” by Gülen, which exist in every populated continent, but those based on American court records have ranged from $20 billion to $50 billion. Most interesting, from the American point of view, is that Gülen lives in Pennsylvania, in the Poconos. He is, among other things, a major player in the world of American charter schools—though he claims to have no power over them; they’re just greatly inspired, he says.

Even if it were only for these reasons, you might want to know more about Gülen, especially because the few commentators who do write about him generally mischaracterize him, whether they call him a “radical Islamist” or a “liberal Muslim.” The truth is much more complicated—to the extent that anyone understands it.

To begin to understand Gülen, you must start with the history of the Nurcu movement. Said Nursî (1878–1960), a Sunni Muslim in the Sufi tradition, was one of the great charismatic religious personalities of the late Ottoman Caliphate and early Turkish Republic. His Risale-i Nur, disdained and sometimes banned by the Republic, nevertheless became the basis for the formation of “reading circles”—geographically dispersed communities the size of small towns that gathered to read, discuss, and internalize the text and to duplicate it when it was banned. Nurcus tend to say, roughly, that the Risale-i Nur is distilled from the Koran; non-Nurcus often find the claim inappropriate or arrogant.

These reading circles gradually spread through Anatolia. Hakan Yavuz, a Turkish political scientist at the University of Utah, calls the Nurcu movement “a resistance movement to the ongoing Kemalist modernization process.” But it is also “forward-looking,” Yavuz says, a “conceptual framework for a people undergoing the transformation from a confessional community (Gemeinschaft) to a secular national society (Gesellschaft). . . . Folk Islamic concepts and practices are redefined and revived to establish new solidarity networks and everyday-life strategies for coping with new conditions.” To call this movement “fundamentalist” or “radical” is to empty both terms of meaning. It is equally silly to dismiss it as theologically primitive. I confess that I have not read all 6,000 pages of the Risale-i Nur, but I have read enough to be convinced that Nursî is a fairly sophisticated thinker.

Gülen’s movement, or cemaat, arose from roughly a dozen neo-Nur reading circles. Gülen was born in 1941 in a village near Erzurum, the eastern frontier of what is now the Turkish Republic. This territory was bitterly contested by the Russian, Persian, and Ottoman empires and gave rise to interpretations of Islam strongly infused with Turkish nationalism: when nothing but the Turkish state stands between you and the Russians, you become a Turkish nationalist, fast. Likewise, contrary to a common misconception among Americans who view the Islamic world as monolithic, Gülenists do not consider Persians their friends.

Two notable points about Gülen’s philosophy. First, he strongly dissuades his followers from tebliğ, or open proselytism. He urges them instead to practice temsil—living an Islamic way of life at all times, setting a good example, and embodying their ideals in their way of life. From what I have seen in Turkey, the embodiment of these ideals involves good manners, hard work, and the funding of many charities. It also involves a highly segregated role for women. I would not want to live in the segregated world that they find acceptable here; neither, I suspect, would the Western sociologists who have enthusiastically described the Gülen movement as analogous, say, to contemporary Southern Baptists or German Calvinists.

Second, Gülen holds (publicly, at any rate) that Muslims and non-Muslims once lived in peace because the Ottoman Turks established an environment of tolerance. To restore this peaceful coexistence worldwide, he says, Turks should become world leaders in promoting tolerance among religions—and Turks following his teachings should become world leaders.

Gülen’s detractors, however, inevitably point to a speech of his that surfaced in a video in 1999:

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, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria, . . . like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. . . . The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it. . . . 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 . . . . Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all—in confidence . . . trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here, [just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.

By this point, Gülen had decamped from Turkey to the United States for medical treatment. Nonetheless, in 2000, he was tried in absentia by a state security court for endeavoring to replace Turkey’s secular government with an Islamic one; the indictment alleged that his movement had attempted to infiltrate Turkey’s military schools. His followers say that the video was altered to incriminate him, but they have never produced the putatively innocuous original videotape. After years of legal wrangling, Gülen was acquitted in 2008.

Read more at City Journal

Claire Berlinski, a City Journal contributing editor, is an American journalist who lives in Istanbul. She is the author of There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.

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