Erdogan-Gulen Power Struggle Divides European Turks

erdoganIPT News
August 8, 2016

On the night of July 15, members of the Turkish military stormed the state-run TRT news agency in Ankara and forced an anchorwoman to read a statement calling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “traitor.” Within moments, tanks began to drive menacingly through the streets of Ankara and Istanbul as military planes roared over Turkish skies. The Parliament was bombed. The fifth military coup in the history of modern Turkey had begun, taking even the most anti-government Turks by surprise.

But Erdogan regained complete control within hours, thanks to his fervent supporters who took to the streets in his defense. Throughout the night, pro- and anti-Erdogan military and civilians clashed across the country, leaving nearly 300 dead and 2,100 injured by morning.

The attempted coup and its aftermath, however, soon exploded into more than just a national crisis; it has had incendiary repercussions globally, particularly in the Turkish communities of Europe.

Erdogan declared a state of emergency July 16, and began cracking down on suspected members of the coup plot and their allies. By July 20, more than 45,000 people had been arrested, including 2,700 judges and 15,000 teachers. As Erdogan called for reinstating the death penalty, credible reports emerged of prisoners being tortured and raped.

In the meantime, tens of thousands of others have been fired from their jobs as the state takes over or shuts down nearly all the country’s media outlets – including three news agencies, 16 television channels, 45 newspapers and 15 magazines, Reuters reports. And on Monday, more than three weeks after the failed coup, Turkey recalled five senior diplomats from its embassy in The Hague.

All who have been sacked are accused of complicity in the coup, based on their (ostensible) ties to Fethullah Gulen, a powerful cleric now living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Once one of Erdogan’s closest allies, Gulen has become his most despised enemy in recent years, thanks in large part to Gulen’s criticism of Erdogan during the 2013 Gezi Park demonstrations. Now Turkey’s president accuses Gulen of being behind the coup attempt, demands his extradition from the United States. Meantime, he continues his crackdown on the cleric’s followers.

But those followers are not just in Turkey, and neither are Tayyip Erdogan’s. Millions of European Turks – both immigrants and subsequent generations – ally themselves with the Gulenist movement, or Hizmet. While some call it a cult and claim it represents a zealous Islamic religious movement, others view it as a more moderate strain of Islam and praise Gulen for his interfaith initiatives, and for the hospitals, schools and universities he has founded internationally, including over 100 charter schools in the United States. But since the split between the two men, tensions have also emerged between pro-Gulen and pro-Erdogan groups that are far more virulent than the disputes between those who favor Hizmet and those who condemn it.

As a result, the clashes between the conflicting sides have spilled beyond the Turkish borders into Europe, and have now exploded since the coup. Often, they have been violent, with pro-Erdogan protesters hurling stones into the windows of Gulen organizations in Gelsenkirchen, Germany and Rotterdam, Holland, or calling to set fire to a building housing a Gulenist organization in Beringen, Belgium (“Burn them alive!” the protesters shouted.). Arsonists also attacked several Gulen buildings in the Netherlands.

In other instances, the attacks are quieter but more sinister: members of 70 different Gulen-affiliated groups in the Netherlands report receiving hate messages and death threats. People believed to support the movement – or who fail to support Erdogan – report being banned from mosques and refused entry to restaurants. Dutch children have told each other “I can’t talk to you anymore.” A number of Gulen followers have gone into hiding, fearing for their safety.

And in Germany, home to Europe’s largest Turkish community, estimated at nearly 3 million, some 30-40,000 Erdogan supporters marched through Cologne on July 31. And while the demonstrations went off without incident, they represent a chasm within the country – not just between Germans and Turks, but – as in the Netherlands – among the Turks themselves. Noted Deutsch-Welle‘s Gero Schliess in an editorial, “After the coup attempt in Turkey, divisions have emerged in this country that no one had seen for a long time – or hadn’t wanted to see. The failed coup and President Erdogan’s massive onslaught against civil rights have deeply divided the Turkish community in Germany. The split runs right through families and neighborhoods, regardless of social strata or profession.”

But at least as disturbing is the idea of 30-40,000 people marching in support of the man who has led the profoundly anti-democratic crackdown in Turkey. While it may be understandable to oppose a military coup, it is something else entirely to continue marching in support in light of the abuses that have followed. Moreover, according to Politico, the situation has also “reignited a decade-long debate in Germany about the Turkish state steering public opinion within the German-Turkish community through a web of lobbying groups, religious institutions, media outlets and public figures.”

Religious groups seem to be chief among those, such as the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, sponsored by the Turkish state. That Turkey is therefore subsidizing mosques in Germany demonstrates the strength not only of the country’s influence on the political visions of German Turks, but on their religious ideas as well. And in an increasingly Islamist Turkey, those ideas no longer reflect the secular, humanist values of Ataturk; rather, they are based on an increasingly strict vision of Sunni Islam in which the state and the mosque are one.

Other Turkish religious groups, including Milli Gorüs, an Islamist group headquartered in Cologne, are also believed to hold sway over European Turks, particularly in the Netherlands.

Behind them all, particularly in Belgium, is the Diyanet, the official Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs .

Ataturk created the Diyanet soon after the founding of the Turkish republic, to help ensure that imams preached moderate interpretations of Islam. They were critical to maintaining the separation between mosque and state. With the rise of Erdogan and his AK Party, however, it has served to do just the opposite: it now promotes Islamist views in Turkey and among the Turkish community abroad. As Istanbul-based journalist David Lepeska noted last year, the Diyanet‘s budget has quadrupled since 2006 to over $2 billion, with a 2015 budget allocation that was “40 percent more than the Ministry of the Interior’s and equal to those of the Foreign, Energy, and Culture and Tourism ministries combined.” In addition to presiding over Turkey’s own mosques, the directorate governs hundreds of mosques across Europe, has increased the number of religious classes in public schools, and, reports Lepeska, “runs a 24-hour television station, Diyanet television, available via satellite, cable, and YouTube, and manages a Facebook page (with nearly 230,000 fans), two Twitter accounts (more than 50,000 followers), and an Islamic lifestyle hotline.”

The result is a toxic mixture of religion and politics that could not be further from the secular ideals of the founder of modern Turkey. Add Erdogan’s and the AKP’s human rights abuses and dictatorial leanings to this and the cauldron boils hotter and more dangerous than ever. Whatever problems existed previously, the post-coup situation bears far too many parallels to the impulses and ideologies of radical Islamism: whoever does not support Erdogan becomes the enemy. And Erdogan, as the leader of Turkey, is the leader of the Diyanet.

The outcome is a kind of tribalism that already infects the rest of the Middle East: to be outside the Erdogan support core is to be outside the realm of the Diyanet – an apostate of sorts, threatened with death.

That this could become the future of Ataturk’s secular democratic republic is tragic. But there is also a very real possibility of the impulse spreading into Europe. Other events this year, such as the attacks on Dutch journalist Ebru Umar and German comedian Jan Bohmermann, both of whom criticized the Turkish president, demonstrate that many European Turks lean towards such a radicalized and tribalist vision. It is a vision Europe’s leaders would do well to extinguish while they still can.

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Does Erdogan Want To Be Sultan?

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Democracy is like a train — when you reach your stop, you get off.

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, July 20, 2016:

Last Friday’s failed coup attempt in Turkey, which claimed the lives of over 200 individuals, has left a lot of speculation about the causes of the incident and Turkish President Erdogan’s level of collusion. Erdogan has already stated that the coup attempt “is a blessing from Allah, because it will allow us to purge the military[.]” Reuters reports on the current number of detainees or those suspended by Turkish authorities at around 50,000 people – including military personnel, members of law enforcement, court officials, teachers and civil servants. Erdogan is clearly using this division to further Turkey into a more autocratic system of governance with him at the helm. For example, in a 2015 speech Erdogan addressed the issue of altering Turkey’s Constitution to match his expanded presidential role stating:

“There is a president with de facto power in the country, not a symbolic one. The president should conduct his duties for the nation directly, but within his authority. Whether one accepts it or not, Turkey’s administrative system has changed. Now, what should be done is to update this de facto situation in the legal framework of the constitution[.]”

Erdogan paints himself as an ally to the West, but he’s unquestionably an Islamist using the democratic process to transform a once secular-democratic country of the Ataturk tradition to an authoritarian Islamic state that punishes dissenting opinions.  Journalists, politicians, academics, military figures, and religious leaders alike have suffered under his rule.

Freedom House, an independent organization that monitors freedom and democracy, labeled Turkey as “Not Free” in 2016 – receiving poor rankings in different categories such as legal environment (26/30 with 30 being worst), political environment (30/40 with 40 being worst), economic environment (15/30 with 30 being worst), and press freedom score (71/100 with 100 being worst). Freedom House explains that constitutional protections such as freedom of press and expression are subverted by “the penal code, the criminal procedure code, and the harsh, broadly worded antiterrorism law that essentially leave punishment of normal journalistic activity to the discretion of prosecutors and judges.” For example, in 2015, Turkish authorities charged three Vice News journalists on terrorism related charges.  They have since been released with the help of freedom and human rights organizations.

Erdogan has made it clear that one of his chief rivals in his quest for power is an Islamic cleric named Fethullah Gülen, whom he accused of staging the recent coup attempt. Gülen is often regarded as a ‘moderate’ in the West but shares a similar Islamist ideology to that of Erdogan. Gülen, like the Muslim Brotherhood, goes by the strategy of gradualism or incrementalism to slowly bring about an Islamic state with the implementation of sharia. Gülen has built a vast network of schools and cultural centers around the world to gradually expand Islam’s role within society. This deceptive strategy is revealed in a former Gülen sermon, of which this is an excerpt:

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 … Until that time, any step taken would be too early—like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty 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 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.

Because of Gülen’s influence and following within Turkey he is seen as a major threat by Erdogan. Erdogan officially designated Gülen’s movement a terrorist group and vowed to come after its members. Erdogan is now using the failed coup to try once more to extradite Gülen and clampdown on his followers.

Turkey is not only a strategic NATO ally but also holds considerable political clout with the EU in regards to Europe’s Muslim immigration crisis.  For that reason, he is likely to enjoy considerable support from the United States and the EU in spite of his autocratic tendencies.  As Erdogan continues to gain power and advances toward his aspirations of another Ottoman empire ruled by Sharia, the EU can either placate Turkish demands or stand up for their European values. Let’s hope they choose the latter.

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New Ties Emerge Between Clinton And Mysterious Islamic Cleric

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at the Turkish Cultural Center, Sept. 2007. (Youtube screengrab)

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at the Turkish Cultural Center, Sept. 2007. (Youtube screengrab)

Daily Caller, by Chuck Ross, July 13, 2016:

A newly-released email and lobbying documents filed with Congress reveals new ties between Clintonworld and members of a network operated by a mysterious Islamic cleric from Turkey.

Connections between Clinton and acolytes of the imam, Fethullah Gulen, could muddle the complex relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, a key NATO ally, if the former secretary of state wins the White House.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has mounted an aggressive crackdown against Gulen and his followers, known as Gulenists. Erdoğan, who was once allied with Gulen, has even personally asked President Obama to extradite the 74-year-old guru, who has lived in self-exile in Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains since 1999.

(RELATED: Followers Of A Mysterious Islamic Cleric Have Donated Heavily To Hillary’s Campaign And Charity)

Erdoğan has accused Gulen of attempting to undermine the Turkish government. Gulen’s followers control many Turkish institutions, including the media, courts, and police force.

In addition to muddying that complex geopolitical dynamic, a 2009 email recently released by Judicial Watch provides yet another example of access being provided to a Clinton campaign and Clinton Foundation donor.

In the April 1, 2009 message, a Gulen follower named Gokhan Ozkok asked Clinton deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin for help in connecting one of his allies to President Obama.

Ozkok is founding board member of the Turkish Cultural Center and part of a network of businesses and non-profits affiliated with the Gulen movement, also known as Hizmet.

Ozkok served as national finance co-chair of the pro-Clinton Ready PAC. He gave $10,000 to the committee in 2014 and $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign last year. He is also listed on the Turkish Cultural Center’s website as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of the non-profit arms of the Clinton Foundation. He’s given between $25,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton charity.

Another link between Gulenists and the Clinton orbit was revealed in a lobbying registration disclosure filed last month with the Senate. It shows that a Gulen-aligned group called the Alliance for Shared Values hired the Clinton-connected Podesta Group to lobby Congress on its behalf. The group seeks to lobby for the “promotion of peace, tolerance and interfaith dialogue.”

The group’s executive director is Alp Aslandogan, a former professor at universities in Texas. He has also donated to Clinton’s political endeavors, campaign finance records show.

The Podesta Group is a natural choice for those seeking influence with Clinton. The firm was co-founded by John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and his brother Tony, a major Clinton campaign bundler.

Through various non-profit groups, both Gulenists promote the cleric’s teachings, which are relatively moderate and pro-Western. They are also involved in the Gulen movement’s money-making endeavor: a vast network of taxpayer-funded charter schools.

Those schools, which number more than 150, have been a source of controversy for the Gulen movement.

Federal investigators have reportedly investigated some of the schools for using work visas to bring Turkish citizens to the U.S. to teach. In some cases, taxpayer funds were used to pay immigration and legal fees for family members of teachers who worked at the facilities. Funds allocated to the schools have also been funneled to contractors controlled by Turkish nationals with connections to the Gulen movement.

A 2011 New York Times article focused on suspicious ties between Gulenist schools operating in Texas under the name Harmony Public Schools. Harmony contracted with a company controlled by a pro-Gulen non-profit called the Cosmos Foundation. In 2002, Aslandogan purchased property that was later sold to Harmony. He also founded the Texas Gulf Foundation, which has also been awarded taxpayer-funded contracts to provide services to Gulen schools.

Aslandogan did not return a request for comment. Nor did Ozkok, who has affiliations with Gulen-connected education firms Sema Education and Apple Education Services.

The partnerships between the schools and contractors allow taxpayer funds to remain within the Gulen network. Teachers at the schools, many of whom are not fluent in English, are also used to help finance Hizmet, according to one former teacher at a Gulen institute.

The teacher, who is now a government whistleblower, told “60 Minutes” in 2012 that Turkish teachers are required to return a large portion of their salary to the Gulen network. She said that her Turkish husband, who taught at one of the schools, was required to return 40 percent of his salary.

Accusations of visa fraud and other impropriety, which Gulenists largely deny, have contributed to an increased profile for Gulen, who ended up staying in the U.S. permanently after coming here for medical treatment.

Erdoğan’s campaign to rid Turkey of Gulen’s influence has also thrust the recluse onto the public spotlight.

On top of his efforts to crackdown on Gulenists within the Turkish media, judiciary and police, Erdoğan has sought to exert influence over Gulen in the U.S.

During a 2014 visit with President Obama, Erdoğan, who served as prime minister prior to his presidential term, reportedly asked Obama for Gulen’s extradition. The Turkish government has also retained the law firm Amsterdam & Partners in an effort to undermine Gulen and Gulenists in the courts as well as the media.

The connections between the Gulen movement and Clinton are not the first to be revealed. They also add to questions about what it is the Gulenists want from Clinton and whether the Democrat has rewarded their financial support with favors.

Last year The Daily Caller reported that numerous Gulen followers have donated to Clinton’s various political campaigns and to her family charity. One Gulen movement leader, Recep Ozkan, donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.

As senator from New York, Clinton gave a keynote address at the Turkish Cultural Center’s annual banquet.

The email to Abedin, which is the first piece of communication showing that a Gulen follower had direct access to Clinton’s staff, sought a favor.

“Please tell Madam Secretary that it would be great if President Obama can include a 15 minutes [sic] meeting with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of of [sic] the Islamic Conference (OIC), in his trip to Turkey,” wrote Ozkok.

April 1, 2009 email from Gokhan Ozkok to Huma Abedin. Obtained by Judicial Watch

April 1, 2009 email from Gokhan Ozkok to Huma Abedin. Obtained by Judicial Watch

It is unclear if Abedin forwarded Ozkok’s request to Clinton or anyone else in the Obama administration. But Ihsanoglu, who is an ally of Gulen’s and lost to Erdogan in the 2014 presidential election, did meet with Obama in Istanbul several days after the email. There, Obama reportedly extended an invitation to Ihsanoglu to visit the White House. The academic visited in June 2009 and reportedly asked Obama to create a U.S. ambassador to the Muslim world.

Huma Abedin (R) and Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill (L). (REUTERS)

Huma Abedin (R) and Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill (L). (REUTERS)

Some terror watchdog groups flagged the meetings, pointing to Ihsanoglu’s past praise of the terrorist group Hamas and for Sudanese president and U.S. foe Omar al-Bashir. But Ihsanoglu does not appear to be a radical firebrand like so many Islamists in the Middle East.

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Clare Lopez: Gulen and the Gulenist Movement

Center for Security Policy, May 10, 2016

Clare M. Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, is the co-author of the recently published book “Gülen and the Gülenist Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and its Contributions to the Civilization Jihad.” Fethullah Gülen is the head of a vast political network in Turkey that promotes theocracy and has infiltrated the Turkish state. Gülen lives in the U.S. where he has established a significant number of charter schools. Her remarks included commentary on Gülen’s erstwhile ally, now opponent, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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Why should Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen operate charter schools on U.S. Military bases?

GULEN-630x357The Hill, by Robert R. Amsterdam, March 31, 2016:

A secretive Islamic movement is trying to infiltrate the U.S. military by establishing and operating publicly-funded charter schools targeted toward children of American service personnel.

That charge may sound like a conspiracy theory from the lunatic fringe, but it is real and it is happening right now.  The most immediate threat is in Nevada, where Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas (CASLV) is currently negotiating with the United States Air Force to locate a charter school at Nellis Air Force Base, with classes starting this fall.  What is not widely known is that CASLV is part of a nationwide organization of charter schools and other businesses headed by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, a reclusive but influential Imam living under self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania to avoid criminal prosecution in his native Turkey.

Our law firm has been engaged by the Republic of Turkey – a key NATO ally in a hotbed region – to conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the operations and geopolitical influence of the Gülen organization, which is behind the Coral Academy of Science and over 140 other public charter schools scattered across 26 American states.  Our investigation, still in its early stages, reveals that the Gülen organization uses charter schools and affiliated businesses in the U.S. to misappropriate and launder state and federal education dollars, which the organization then uses for its own benefit to develop political power in this country and globally.

Aside from defrauding American taxpayers, the Gülen organization has an even more ominous objective in the United States.  The organization is one of the country’s largest recipients of H1-B “specialty occupation” visas, which it uses to import Turkish teachers into its charter schools, supposedly because local U.S. talent is not available to fill math and science teaching positions in its charter schools.  The Gülen organization illegally threatens to revoke these visas unless the Turkish teachers agree to kick back part of their salary to the organization.

More importantly, the Turkish teachers in Gülen organization charter schools are evaluated not on the basis of their teaching skills, but rather on whether they achieve monthly goals in a secret point system designed to instil Turkish culture and Gülenist ideology in our American students. The goal, we are told, is to develop a Gülenist following of high achievers, incubated in our local community schools across the country.

The Gülen organization has been able to grow in the U.S. largely because it conceals both its identity and its motives.  The first line of defense for Gülenist charter schools and companies has been to deny any affiliation with Fethullah Gülen (their officers and directors claim that they are merely “inspired by” Gülen’s religious teachings), as if the simple creation of business entities in which Fethullah Gülen himself holds no ownership interest could alter his ultimate control over the organization.  In reality, the governing boards of the Gülen charter schools are populated disproportionately by loyal Turkish men answering to a handful of Imams who rule over defined regions across the U.S., reporting ultimately to Gülen in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

In Nevada, CASLV is a three-campus school operating under a charter held by tax-exempt Coral Education Corp., headquartered in Reno.  Three of Coral’s board members are Turkish, one of whom was formerly the Principal at two other Gülen organization charter schools, the Sonoran Science Academy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and the Bay Area Technology School in California.

Unfortunately, Nellis Air Force Base is not the Gülen organization’s first stab at a U.S. military base.  The organization successfully opened a school on Davis-Monthan AFB in 2009, and it tried but failed to gain access to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois.  In California, Magnolia Public Schools applied for a charter in Oceanside, where Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is located, although it temporarily withdrew its application after our law firm pointed out Magnolia’s connection to the Gülen organization earlier this year.

Lest there be any doubt about the objectives in the United States, the strategy of subtly indoctrinating school children into the Gülen movement is a familiar one overseas, and there is great peril in allowing it to flourish in this country.  In his native Turkey, Gülen created a network of hundreds of schools that have produced – over the past three decades – a vast cadre of followers now prepared to perform his bidding from official positions in government, law enforcement, the judiciary and the media.  Although precise numbers are impossible to verify, some have estimated that he currently controls more than half of the entire Turkish police force. The Economist newspaper compared Gülen’s influence in Turkey to the Freemason infiltration of law enforcement and judicial elites in Europe during the last century. Numerous documented cases in Turkey involving planted evidence, tainted prosecutions and illegal incarceration of Gülen critics underscore that he is quite willing to abuse his power and influence.

The same game plan is playing out, at last count, in 101 countries on every habitable continent.  With an estimated six million followers globally and assets in the range of $20-$50 billion, the Gülen organization has managed to conceal a great deal about its doctrine, mission or objectives.  Whether Gülen’s followers are classified as a religious sect, a commercial enterprise, a political movement or – as Dutch legislators concluded – a cult, it should be a matter of significant concern for our security and regulatory authorities.

In light of Gülen’s modus operandi elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security should be asking itself why such a non-transparent, religion-based organization would seek to establish itself on our military bases, teaching the children of our service men and women.

Robert R. Amsterdam is founder of Amsterdam and Partners LLP, an international law firm based in Washington, DC and London.

Turkish Police Takeover Largest Opposition Newspaper

Turkish police break down the entrance to the largest Turkish opposition newspaper Zaman. Inset: A photographer inside is ousted by special forces. (Photos: Video screenshots)

Turkish police break down the entrance to the largest Turkish opposition newspaper Zaman. Inset: A photographer inside is ousted by special forces. (Photos: Video screenshots)

Clarion Project,  March 6, 2016

Turkish special forces stormed the largest opposition newspaper in Turkey Friday night, forcibly taking over the paper. Outside, riot police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons into the crowds of thousands protesting the takeover (see video below).

The front page of the Zaman’s last edition, printed entirely in black and published before the takeover, read “Shameful day for free press in Turkey.”

Abdulhamit Bilici, the paper’s editor-in-chief, who was fired and dragged out of the building, said, “It is a dark day for Turkish democracy and a flagrant violation of the constitution.”

Earlier, commenting on the fact that under President (and former prime minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has been labeled the biggest jail for journalists in Europe, Bilici said, “It has been a habit for the last three, four years, that anyone who is speaking against government policies is facing either court cases or prison, or such control by the government.”

Bilici said the Turkish media, for the most part, had avoided covering the details of the takeover out of fear that they might be targeted next.

According to Erkan Ipekci, award-winning Turkish journalist and president of the Turkish Journalists Union, 183 journalists have been imprisoned since 2009 with 63 still remaining in jail. Journalists who have been critical of Erdogan and his Islamist government have had their phones tapped and been arrested on charges of “terrorism.”

Erdogan has linked the paper, as well as its English-language edition Today’s Zaman and its news agency Cihan, to his nemesis Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish preacher with enormous wealth and support. Erdogan accuses Gulen, who fled to the U.S. in 1999, of conspiring to overthrow the government by building a network of supporters in the judiciary, police and media.

In a statement, Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said the operation was “ideological and unlawful.”

“Erdoğan is now moving from authoritarianism to all-out despotism,” Deloire said. “Not content with throwing journalists in prison for ‘supporting terrorism’ or having them sentenced to pay heavy fines for ‘insulting the ‘head of state,’ he is now going further by taking control ofTurkey’s biggest opposition newspaper.”

Three trustees supportive of Erdogan were appointed to manage the paper. When reporters returned to work the next day, they found that their Internet connection had been cut, they were not able to access their email accounts and that attempts were being made to wipe out the paper’s entire online achive.

In the last number of years and particularly since the popular uprising at Gezi Park, Erdogan has been cracking down on press freedom and directed his majority parliament to pass laws limiting that freedom.

At the beginning of 2014, a new bill was approved to allow any Internet site to be blocked by the telecommunications authority without approval by a court. In addition, the law mandated that Internet providers must keep records of each subscriber’s online activity which must be made  available to authorities upon request.

In December of 2014, Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı was arrested on charges of forming and leading a terrorist organization. He was subsequently released.

Also see:

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Gülen Movement’s Atlantic Institute Infiltrates Maitland, FL Holocaust Center

20160208_GULENMOVEMENTTERRORISMFamily Security Matters, by Alan Kornman, Feb. 9, 2016:

The Atlantic Institute will be partnering with the Maitland Holocaust Center and the Interfaith Council of Central Florida on a special program entitled, Is History Repeating Itself? Jewish and Muslim Immigrant Experiences in America, scheduled for Thursday February 25, 2016 at the Holocaust Center, 851 N Maitland Avenue in Maitland, FL.

The Atlantic Institute is partnered with the Alliance for Shared Values which is openly affiliated with the Gülen Movements Hizmet social initiatives in the United States.  The Atlantic Institute on their website, praises Mr. Fethullah Gülen as their Imam and political leader.

Fact #1

Recently, FBI agents carried out raids at 19 Gülen Charter schools in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio as part of an “ongoing white-collar crime matter.” The investigations are still ongoing however, this is a clue the Atlantic Institute and the Gülen Movement are not all about interfaith peace and love.

Fact #2

IBTimes, Michael Kaplan reports on 10/29/15,  “Fethullah Gülen has been placed on Turkey’s most wanted terrorist list along with leaders of the Islamic State militant group…the Turkish government seeks Gülen’s extradition from the U.S.”  This is a clue there is a serious terrorist problem with the Gülen movement’s leader, Mr. Gülen.

Fact #3

The Middle East Quarterly reports, in 1999, Turkish television aired footage of Mr. Gülen delivering sermons which revealed his plan to implement Shari‘a Islamiyya (Islamic Law) using deceptive tactics.  This fact is a warning to Jews and Christians, approach Gülen franchises like the Atlantic institute with extreme caution.

In the sermon below, Gülen explains how he is an Islamic Law supremacist without fear or remorse.

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 … Until that time, any step taken would be too early-like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty 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 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.

To date, Huseyin Peker Executive Director of The Atlantic Institute in Orlando, FL has not publicly condemned these problematic statements from their spiritual leader Mr. Fethullah Gülen, the designated terrorist.

Interlocking Directorships

Coincidentally, Pam Kancher, Executive Director of the Maitland Holocaust Center, is also on the Advisory Board of The Gülen Movements Atlantic Institute.  One can only guess she didn’t do a Google search on the Atlantic Institute and Mr. Fethullah Gülen before partnering with them.  Perhaps it is this interlocking Board of Directorships that drives Ms. Kancher to blindly allow The Atlantic Institute to dictate their false narrative there is a moral equivalence between Jewish immigrants from the 1900’s to WW2 and the current Syrian refugee’s.

What The Gülen Movement Is Selling

The Atlantic Institute is promoting the February 25th event this way, “It’s difficult to imagine any political discussion today that does not include some mention of immigration. There are increasing concerns about border security, and ongoing debates about who we will allow in to our country and who we must keep out.  

For the Jewish community, particularly among Survivors and their families, this concern feels in some ways like their own history.  Jewish immigrants to America at the beginning of the 1900s and up to WWII era faced many of the same types of suspicions that Muslim-Americans, particularly immigrants, face today.

Jewish Persecution Has More In Common With The Syrian & Yazidi Christians

Joel B. Pollak, in his 11/17/15 article, Why Syrian Refugees Are Not Like Jewish Refugees in WW2, makes this compelling observation challenging the entire premise of the Feb 25th event at the Maitland Holocaust Center.  Mr. Pollak says, “Jews were singled out for persecution by the Nazis, not (initially) fleeing an ongoing war. If anyone has a unique moral claim that parallels the Jews of Europe, it is the Syrian Christians, Iraqi Yazidis, and other minorities being persecuted by radical Islamist forces in the Middle East. But that is not true of the broader wave of Syrian refugees. That is not to blame them for the war, but it does suggest there is a good moral case for distinguishing among refugees, rather than admitting all who wish to come.”

Conclusion

Publicly, the Gülen Movement and their franchises sell themselves as a peaceful interfaith group.  I’m sorry to tell you this, many American’s gladly buy into these wolves in sheep’s clothing Islamist interfaith partners because they sell coexistence and peace.  Like Mr. Gulen however, many of these Islamist interfaith groups have very close ties to the Global Jihad Movement.

Dig a little deeper into the Gülen Movement and you find FBI raids, Turkey designating Mr. Gülen a most wanted terrorist, and Mr. Gulen’s use of spycraft to violently spread strict Islamic Law after infiltrating governments power centers, as articulated in his sermon above.

The Atlantic Institute scored a big propaganda victory being invited inside the hallowed halls of the Maitland Holocaust Memorial Center in a deceptive effort to raise the status of Syrian refugees off the backs of persecuted Jews from the pogroms to the Holocaust.  I’m confident behind closed doors the Gülen movement and the Atlantic Institute are pleased how easily manipulated the Maitland, FL Holocaust Memorial Center’s leadership is.

If Pam Kancher, Director of the Maitland Holocaust Center, is sincerely looking to dialogue with a true Muslim reform group; I suggest she contact my friend Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Alan Kornman is the regional coordinator of The United West-Uniting Western Civilization for Freedom and Liberty. His email is: alan@theunitedwest.org

Islamist running 140 tax-funded charter schools in U.S.

Muhammad Fethullah Gulen heads a global empire of schools and Islamic cultural centers and is one of Turkey’s most influential spiritual leaders. He lives in exile in the United States and has 140 charters schools in 26 states.

Muhammad Fethullah Gulen heads a global empire of schools and Islamic cultural centers and is one of Turkey’s most influential spiritual leaders. He lives in exile in the United States and has 140 charters schools in 26 states.

WND, by Leo Hohmann, Jan. 17, 2016:

Muhammad Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish Islamist, writer and preacher with a secret plan for bringing Shariah law to America.

Arguably Turkey’s most influential spiritual leader of the past 50 years, Gülen left that country in the late 1990s and now directs his cult-like Islamic movement from a guarded compound in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Part of his empire consists of a thriving network of more than 140 charter schools in 26 states that sell themselves to parents as a secular and more academically rigorous alternative to public schools.

As the second largest chain of charter schools in the United States, Gülen schools rake in tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars every year.

But the schools — which have innocent-sounding names like the Horizon Science Academies in Illinois, Harmony Schools of Excellence in Texas, Dove Science Academies in Oklahoma and Magnolia Science Academies in California — have long been the subject of investigations into alleged corruption scandals involving influence peddling and visa abuse.

USA Today reported recently that the Gülen faith movement secretly funded 200 overseas trips for congressional lawmakers and staff since 2008.

“Turkish leaders have asked the United States to extradite Gülen from the remote compound in rural Pennsylvania where he has lived for 20 years.

The movement has founded hundreds of charter schools across the United States and around the world, has its own media organizations, and was deeply entrenched with the Turkish regime until a falling out two years ago. That led President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare Gülen was running ‘a parallel state’ inside the country with the intent of undermining the government.”

Critics argue that the schools also covertly engage in Islamic missionary outreach, usually after-hours or during school extra-curricular activities.

Anti-Shariah activist Pam Geller says Gülen has been dubbed “the Turkish Khomeini” for a reason.

“It has been widely reported for years that he wants ultimately to restore the Islamic caliphate in Turkey. That alone should make his charter schools in the U.S. a subject of law enforcement scrutiny, but it largely hasn’t,” Geller told WND. “There have been allegations that funds from these schools have gone to a Turkish Islamization movement, Hizmet. The U.S. government shouldn’t be funding Gülen’s schools; it should be investigating them and shutting them down.”

See list of 140 Gülen charter schools in 26 states.

See sampling of state and federal grants to Gülen schools.

Most of the parents of students who attend Gülen charter schools have no idea about Gülen’s background as a Turkish Islamist and believer in civilizational jihad — which is a form of nonviolent jihad focused on infiltrating and overcoming Western nations over time through immigration and exploitation of the civil liberties available in those nations.

But a new book on Gülen and his U.S. schools hopes to blow the lid on his cloak of secrecy.

GulenClare Lopez, co-author with Christopher Holton of “Gülen and the Gulenist Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and its Contributions to Civilizational Jihad,” says the movement is extremely secretive but there’s no small amount of information for those willing to dig. She and Holton decided to peel back the layers.

“There have been many articles and of course the movement itself puts out a great deal of material and Fethullah Gülen himself is a prolific author of articles and books,” Lopez told WND.

Lopez, who is vice president of research and analysis for the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank operated by former Defense Department analyst Frank Gaffney, said Gulen is “fundamentally jihadist in outlook,” while promoting orthodox Islamic tenets within a worldwide movement.

Gulen is also heavily involved in the global interfaith movement, which seeks to build bridges between the major faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

“While not very well known by many Americans he is nevertheless quite influential and works through the schools, cultural organizations and the media to promote not only the orthodox teachings of Islam, but also a positive outlook towards Turkey,” Lopez said. “We’re concerned about its influence on our children, civic leaders and elected officials.”

Listen to Clare Lopez talk about the subject of her new book, the shadowy Gülen movement.

Traditionally the centers of Islam have been based in Saudi Arabia for Sunnis and Iran for Shiites.

But Turkey has always been the wild card. Students of history will recall that it served as the head of the Ottoman Empire for more than 500 years, but crashed and burned in the aftermath of World War I and was steered into a more Western mindset by Ataturk.

Under Erdogan’s AKP party, however, that has all changed, as documented in the film “End Times Eyewitness” by Christian author and filmmaker Joel Richardson.

Erdogan has overturned the secularized Western influence that had banned the hijab and the fez in public places and eliminated the many Shariah-compliant restrictions placed on society.

Asylum in American

Gülen’s cultural empire, including his schools and media companies, had a lot to do with the return of Islamist values in Turkey. But Gülen lost out on the political power struggle and in 1998 fled to the U.S., where he was offered asylum.

In the U.S., Gülen schools are not outwardly Islamic. Any influence in that regard is subtle, Lopez said.

map-of-gulen-organizations-in-US

But he has become expert at buying influence from politicians in Washington and in state Capitols.

“There have been many allegations of abuse of the visa system, kickbacks in salaries, and attempted influencing of school administrators, parents and teachers, journalists, priests and rabbis, everyone,” Lopez said.

Sign the petition! Urge Congress to ‘halt Muslim immigration now!’

In 2013 Gülen and Erdogan had a final falling out.

“These are two powerful men each intent on seizing power for themselves, not that they disagree in any way over the direction to take Turkey, which is away from the West and toward the neo-Ottoman Islamic caliphate,” Lopez says.

The U.S. gave Gülen legal permanent resident status in 2008, and he is now eligible for citizenship.

Soaking the U.S. taxpayer

The amount of public taxpayer money Gulen’s charter schools receive every year runs into the tens of millions. A charter school is essentially operated like a private school only it receives taxpayer funding and does not answer to any widely elected school board.

“There’s all kinds of charter schools in the U.S. that receive taxpayer funding and that is how the Gulen movement has developed its network of schools in the U.S., making them attractive by making them STEM schools, which parents love,” Lopez said.

And when Congress passed the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind late last year, it included increased funding for taxpayer-funded charter schools run by unelected boards.

“Gulen Charter Schools exemplify the unconstitutionality of tax-funded school choice,” writes Charlotte Iserbyt, a former education adviser to President Ronald Reagan, in her blog, “The ABCs of Dumb Down.”

“There is no citizen accountability or oversight,” Iserbyt says. “No wonder there is corruption. Those who think that charters are the solution for Common Core, forget it.”

And for all of the taxpayer money flooding into the Gülen schools, most of the teaching positions go to foreigners who come to the U.S. on H-1B guest-worker visas from Turkey. This is the visa program that GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio wants to expand through his I-Squared bill, tripling the cap on such visas from about 66,000 per year to 195,000 per year.

“To the best of my knowledge in all the research I’ve done, I don’t see that the Gülen schools are being accused of teaching Islamic ideology in the schools, that’s not the issue, rather it’s the abuse of H-1B visa system to bring in Turkish teachers instead of hiring Americans,” Lopez said. “There is alleged abuse of the teachers who are required to kick back a percentage of their salaries, and they do teach a cultural emphasis on Turkey and Islam.”

Charges of influence peddling

The schools also are known for offering lavish, all-expenses paid trips to Turkey for friendly politicians at the state, local and federal level.

The USA Today investigation accuses the Gülen movement of falsifying its funding of trips for U.S. congressional members.

Lopez said teachers and parents have complained that the schools’ main purpose is to promote a love not only for Turkish culture but Islam.

“You’ll see in the book former teachers or people who’ve broken away from the movement who say there is an attempt to inculcate a positive view of Turkey and Islamic culture,” she said.

An Islamist with a hidden agenda

Joel Richardson is a Bible teacher, author and documentary filmmaker.

Joel Richardson is a Bible teacher, author and documentary filmmaker.

Richardson, the Christian author and filmmaker, said Gülen is without a doubt an Islamist with an hidden agenda. His strategy mirrors that of the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates non-violent civilizational jihad as the means to infiltrate and influence Western societies.

“In the past, he has made very overt comments about the need to infiltrate the arteries of the system and so forth,” Richardson told WND. “On the other hand, he is definitely non-violent and has furthered the idea, popular within some of the Turkish-Islamist movement of non-violent Islamism.”

Erdogan struck harshly against the Gülen movement in Turkey, rooting numerous Gülen supporters out of the government and throwing them in prison. Erdogan has called for the U.S. to extradite Gülen for allegedly subverting the Turkish government.

“In terms of the danger that Gülen represents to the United States, I would say that five years ago, Gülen and his charter schools were a bigger concern,” Richardson said. “They still need to be defunded by the U.S. government. Today, however, compared to the much larger dangers we are facing, including the very real Islamists that Obama has allowed into the U.S. government, or the very real, very violent Islamists that have infiltrated the country, Gülen, with his ideological jihad, is a relatively small fish, in an ever-expanding pond of violent Islamists.”

Lopez said the Gülen movement helped drag Turkey back to its Islamic roots and so his influence should not be under-estimated in the U.S., and certainly should not be given taxpayer funding.

“Look what’s happened to Turkey, the Islamists were voted in, and Erdogan is on a neo-Ottoman path to take Turkey back to its roots as a jihadist state, so I think there is ever good reason to be concerned about his activities (in the U.S.),” Lopez said.

BOOK RELEASE: The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and its Contributions to the Civilization Jihad

Center for Security Policy, Dec. 18, 2015:

ISLAMIC SUPREMACISM DOES BUSINESS IN U.S. VIA A TURKISH CULT:

GULEN MOVEMENT IS AN ENGINE FOR ‘CIVILIZATION JIHAD’

It has become increasingly apparent that the United States is not only confronting a violent effort by Islamic supremacists to impose the program they call shariah on the rest of the world, Muslim and non-Muslim, alike. Dangerous as jihadist terrorism is, America – and the rest of the Free World, for that matter – also face what amounts to a pre-violent assault.

The Muslim Brotherhood calls this stealthy, seditious effort to “destroy us from within” a “civilization jihad.” One of its prime practitioners in this country is the Gulen Movement, a cult/business empire led by a reclusive Turkish expatriate, Fethullah Gulen, who operates from within an armed camp in the Poconos.

This movement and its penetration of our country is the subject of an important new monograph published as part of the Center for Security Policy’s Civilization Jihad Reader Series: The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and Its Contribution to Civilization Jihad in America. It is co-authored by two members of the Center’s senior leadership team: Vice President for Outreach Christopher Holton and Clare Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis.

As The Gulen Movement monograph makes clear, one of the most troubling aspects of this cult is its success in advancing the Islamic supremacist agenda – albeit under the guise of Turkish nationalism – via one of the fastest-growing networks of publicly funded charter schools in the United States.GulenMovmentcrop

Fethullah Gulen is wanted on multiple international arrest warrants issued by the regime of his one-time ally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Here in the United States, government investigators are also looking into numerous allegations against the Gulen Movement involving: indoctrination, influence operations, salary-kickback schemes, visa system abuse and more.

In fact, the allegations against the Gulen Movement extend all the way to the U.S. Congress. In late October 2015, a USA Todayinvestigation revealed that the Gulen Movement had illegally funded more than 200 trips to Turkey for Members of Congress since 2008. It did so using false disclosure statements that concealed their Gulen sponsorship from both the legislators and the House Ethics Committee, which had been misled into approving member- and/or staff participation in the trips.

Thus, in spite of the Gulen Movement’s carefully projected image of harmony, interfaith dialogue, and tolerance, a far more troubling picture is beginning to emerge that the Center believes warrants a closer look. In praise of this new Center publication, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney said:

In short, the Gulen Movement in Turkey, the United States, and worldwide promotes a far-more problematic program than its adherents would have us believe. It is not a benign cultural and educational institution, or even a billion-plus dollar commercial empire. Rather, it is a prime practitioner of civilization jihad, enabling the spread of the Islamic supremacism’s shariah doctrine under the banner of a Turkey that aspires to renew its role as the Caliphate of the Ottoman empire’s glory days.

U.S school districts, parents and students, federal, state and local governments, media organizations and academic institutions have clearly been successfully targeted by the Gulenists’ influence operations. It is essential that we expose the true nature and civilization jihadist ambitions of Gulen’s taxpayer-subsidized educational empire and the favors its parent movement has deployed – notably, via all-expenses-paid trips to Turkey. This monograph makes an important contribution to that end.

The Center for Security Policy is proud to present this monograph as a superb addition to its Civilization Jihad Reader Series. “The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and Its Contribution to Civilization Jihad in America” is available for purchase in Kindle andpaperback format at Amazon.com. As with all of the other volumes in this Readers Series, this one can also be downloaded for free at www.SecureFreedom.org.

– 30 –

For further information on the threats shariah poses to our foundational liberal democratic values, see more titles from the Center for Security Policy’s Civilization Jihad Reader Series at https://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/civilization-jihad-reader-series/

Buy “The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and Its Contribution to Civilization Jihad in America” in paperback or Kindle format on Amazon.

DF of the newly released monograph: Gulen_Final

 

Gülen Movement Presents Yet More Interfaith Bloviating

The setting of the Rumi Forum gives a idea of how “interfaith” it is.

The setting of the Rumi Forum gives a idea of how “interfaith” it is.

Religious Freedom Coalition, by Andrew Harrod, June 18, 2015:

Perhaps the naïve expected insightful discussion of modern Islamic violence worldwide at the April 12 Fairfax, Virginia, panel “Community and Faith Leaders’ Role in Countering Radicalization,” recently available online.  Befitting the panel’s banal title anddubious Gülen movement sponsors, however, the panel’s inane multicultural, politically correct platitudes whitewashed critical issues concerning political Islam before about 50 listeners.

The Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies (IITS), a member of the Hizmet (Service) movement of the shadowy Turkish Muslim leader Fethullah Gülen, hosted the event along with another Gülenist organization, Washington, DC’s Rumi Forum.  In his introduction, IITS imam Bilal Ankaya explained that Hizmet is “always an advocate of moderation” before an audience that had respectfully removed its shoes inside IITS’ carpeted mosque space.  Hizmet seeks to “build bridges between communities,” just as diverse “people lived in peace and harmony” supposedly in the movement’s native Turkey.

Panel moderator and IITS Senior Research Associate, Dr. Margaret A. Johnson, opened the panel by addressing brutal jihadist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  The veiled devout Muslim Johnson considered it “unfathomable that such crimes can be committed in the name of Islam.”  “This blessed mercy has become so maligned,” she said, and argued that with ISIS the Islamic “words are familiar but everything else is foreign.”

Declaring “I feel Allah’s presence here very, very strongly,” Rabbi Gerald Serotta, InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington executive director, added to the panel’s emphasis on ecumenical moderation.  He referenced the oft-quoted Quran 49:13 (God “made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another… the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous”).  He blithely asserted that Judaism’s “daughter” monotheisms, Christianity and Islam, both possess divine covenants, but said nothing about Islam returning the compliment.  Yet well-documented, persistent Islamic anti-Semitism and condemnation of Christianity derive from Islamic orthodoxy’s claimed supersession of biblical scriptural corruption.

“In their origins” these three monotheisms “were peaceful and loving traditions,” Serotta stated.  Extremist phenomena like terrorism resulted from an ecumenical “tremendous ignorance” in all three Abrahamic faiths that necessitated “challenging texts which appear to be exclusionary.”  Jewish oral tradition (Talmud), for example, modifies Old Testament “genocidal texts” and declares, among other things, that purely idolatrous peoples deserving destruction no longer exist.  He offered, however, no parallel interpretation negating Islam’s violent canons.

Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Director of Interfaith Partnerships Gail Hambleton then explained GPF’s vision of “One Family under God” as announced on a slide.  “Our rights are endowed to us by our Creator,” she stated without mentioning the biblical origins of this proposition announced in America’s Declaration of Independence.  Such “universal principles that we all hold dear” are “incredibly powerful,” she asserted without recognizing that natural law does not rule the world as much as Americans like Hambleton might wish.

Hambleton asserted “deep, deep shared heritage” of humanity is an “essential reality more important than the divisions that separate us.”  While everyone has “unique doctrines & ways of faith” in their “Divine Focus,” her slides announced, a “Civil Focus” unites with “civic virtues,” Islamic sharia law’s (sharia) human rights violations apparently notwithstanding.  Such unity is important given that people often seek to “avoid those who are different” and “stay in our comfort zone,” such that “communication breakdown” causes conflict.  Nonetheless, she left uncommunicated GPF’s founder, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, who in GPF has pursued some of the more benign ideas of the Unification Church cult founded by his bizarre father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Notwithstanding “civic virtues,” some Muslims seek a “sense and purpose” by joining ISIS, analogous to “youth at risk” in gangs, Hambleton argued, an analysis continued by Talib Shareef.  The imam from Washington, DC’s Masjid Muhammad saw parallels between adolescents who “become beasts” in groups like ISIS out of “protest” against parental neglect and the youth from broken homes he encountered in anti-gang initiatives.  “Everybody is crying out for something” and “we really don’t have a nature that wants to disobey God,” he stated with implicit invocation of Islam’s rejection of biblical original sin.

Shareef added that a “deeper stuff goes back to the Crusades,” Western colonization of Muslim societies, and conflicts over “Palestine” in creating global Muslim hostilities.  “To have been at the top” among history’s civilizations only to fall to a modern “third world” status means that the Muslim world “has not overcome hurt.”  He also attributed to such Western incursions the damaging of supposedly enlightened Muslim educational institutions.

The Quran, by contrast, inspired Shareef to “stand firmly for justice,” his paraphrasing of verse 4:135.  Like many Islam apologists, he misquoted Quran 5:32 to suggest Quranic support for sanctity of individual human life.  “The Quran explains itself” and its more troubling verses upon further reading, he asserted, and Islam’s prophet Muhammad “was the Quran walking,” giving two supposed guides for moral enlightenment.  He therefore called Saudi Arabian Bible seizures contrary to Islam, although his “I love Turkey” praise of his travels to his Turkish hosts ignored that Turkey has its own de facto Islamic blasphemy prohibitions.

The discrete radicalism of planned panelist Zia Makhdoom, a northern Virginia imam from Afghanistan, would have provoked plenty of disturbing questions from critical observers.  Funerary duties prevented his appearance, although his nationally (in)famous-for-15-minutes congregant Saba Ahmed, omnipresent at Washington, DC-area events on Islam, attended.  Thus the one disquieting note in this multicultural lovefest for Islam came from an audience questioner from Uzbekistan.  He considered “fundamental and revolutionary reforms” in Islam such as religion-state separation necessary for stopping groups like Al Qaeda and criticized the undiscussed Islamic origins of today’s “most powerful terrorism.”

The questioner drew varying responses.  Shareef conceded suddenly that these issues were among the “primary problems,” but stated that about six Quran verses (Are they abrogated?) described God refraining from forcing people into one faith.  “I just bristle when I hear ‘Islamic terrorism,’” a “perversion of Islam,” Serotta however countered.  He found in a mythological past Islamic “Golden Age” a “very robust theory” about the “compatibility of Islam and democracy.”

So ended a potpourri of Islamic pious hopes, unsubstantiated ecumenism, Moonie-derived humanism, selectively picked and interpreted Quran verses, Islamic victimization, and deprivation-causes-jihad fallacies.  None of this serves to counter Islam’s authoritarian, aggressive, and doctrinally-derived elements that continue to dominate world events in the 2015 centenary of Ottoman genocide against Armenian and other Christian populations.  In contrast to other institutions, the panel’s Hizmet hosts have had no events concerning 1915 and the parallel roles of Islam then and now in Turkey’s bloody region.  Do such wasted educational efforts reflect ignorance, critics must ask, or intentional misdirection in the name of various ideological agendas?

Allah in our schools

sysliderimagee1377122791697vi1-viAmerican Thinker, By Carol Brown, Dec. 28, 2014:

Jihad, in its many guises and forms, is being waged across America. No aspect of our society has been untouched by this relentless attack. Including our schools.

Our education system has been infiltrated by the enemy, as the next generation of Americans is brainwashed with white-washed Islam.

The assault is coming from all directions and it never sleeps.

Muslim Brotherhood front groups have been, and continue to be, integrally involved in the development of Common Core curriculum. They make sure a false picture of Islam is integrated into lessons, from K – 12. Our children are exposed to all manner of “educational” activities that amount to Islamic propaganda, which is now endemic in the school system.

In addition to Muslim Brotherhood front groups, Saudi Arabia exerts outside influence on school curricula. The Saudis spread a lot of money around, giving it to organizations that promote Islam throughout our institutions. Schools receive a hefty sum of brand name sickness called Wahhabism. As Stanley Kurtz wrote in NRO several years ago: “…the Saudis have figured out how to make an end-run around America’s K-12 curriculum safeguards, thereby gaining control over much of what children in the United States learn about the Middle East.” (To learn more about how the Saudi’s achieved this, see here and here.)

Then there are garden variety Muslims bent on advancing Sharia law in our schools who also wield enormous power. Take, for instance, Fethullah Gulen. Gulen is a Muslim committed to the advancement of the Islamic state. He has called for the destruction of the United States and all infidels. And he has set up a network of publically-funded charter schools.

Factor in political leadership that is clueless (at best) or willfully collaborating with the enemy (at worst) along with an electorate that has been marinating in politically-correct-multicultural-moral-equivalence “thinking,” and you’ve got a powerful force mangling the minds of our youth.

I wish I could call what is going on a battle. Or a war. But I can’t. Because thus far America has hardly put up a fight. And so, Islam advances. Marching through the halls of our schools.

To get a taste of what’s going on, please take the abbreviated tour below. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). The following all have taken place at one or more schools:

  • Students are taught the five pillars of Islam.
  • Students recite “all people must submit to Allah,” “there is no God but Allah,” and “Allah is great,” among other Muslim prayers. Sometimes students recite these words in Arabic. Students also recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic, saying: “One nation under Allah.”
  • Lesson plans promote Sharia law, polygamy, and burqas.
  • Classes unrelated to history or religion often morph into Islamic propaganda.
  • A Saudi-funded 3-week program on Islam has students living as Muslims, during which time, among other things, they recite Muslim prayers and chants and are prohibited from wearing a cross or saying the name “Jesus.”
  • Students are taught that Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews.
  • Students must write about how, if they were a travel agent, they would create a travel package promoting the Golden Age of Islam.
  • Textbooks include the Muslim call to prayer, whitewash Islam, denigrate Christians and Jews, and describe Muhammad as a wise spiritual leader; a gentle merchant with a strong moral compass; and a man who was deeply concerned about the mistreatment of others.
  • Student field trips bring them to mosques where students are given Korans, kneel down and pray to Allah, and are told that Muslims treat those they conquer better than minorities are treated in the United States. One field trip was to the mosque the Tsarnaev brothers attended, where non-Muslim boys joined adult males in prayer and girls were told Islam is pro-woman (among other egregious things).
  • A curriculum used a video that framed non-Muslims as bigots and enforced blasphemy laws.
  • Lessons teach more about Islam than any other faith.
  • Students must write essays about what it would be like to travel to Mecca.
  • Fill-in-the-blank assignments include answers that read: “Islam, at heart, is a peaceful religion” and “Most Muslims faith is stronger than the average Christian,” among other lies.
  • Korans are introduced into the classroom.
  • Muslim clerics, members of CAIR, and representatives from Islamic centers come into classrooms to observe and/or lecture.
  • Female students wear burqas as part of a lesson on Islam.
  • Lessons teach that terrorists must be called freedom fighters.
  • Students are required to study Arabic.
  • A teacher is forced to resign after making critical statements about Obama and Islam on a talk radio program. CAIR accuses a teacher of being a “racist” because she drew an analogy between the Taliban and Hamas during lessons on bullying. Christian teachers are harassed by Muslims in the school hierarchy.
  • Muslim students are given special privileges that students of other faiths are not afforded, including several times during the school day when they are allowed to leave the classroom to pray.
  • Muslim holidays are added to school calendars.

The list above is by no means exhaustive, but you get the idea. Needless to say, everything that is being taught is the taqiyya version. Would that it were the truth, we could take heart that our children were learning about an enemy intent on cutting their lives short. Instead, brainwashing is taking place that will help the enemy advance with even less resistance than it currently faces. (And it faces precious little.)

In many situations parents were kept in the dark about the Islamic propaganda being peddled in their children’s schools and only learned about it after seeing something on their child’s homework assignment.

In some cases, after parents found out about what was being taught, they challenged the school and/or pulled their children out of school. Some have pursued legal action and there have been some victories because parents became informed, took action, and fought back.

On the flip side, many parents appear unaware, unconcerned, or even supportive of this dangerous assault – otherwise known as “soft jihad” – against the minds of our young people. In addition, in many cases power brokers in the school system have stood behind the twisted ways Islam is impacting the education of our youth.

Moral equivalence, ignorance, and dhimmitude have taken hold.

So how are we dealing with this avalanche of jihad reigning down on our children?

Poorly.

In dribs and drabs. Here and there. With a barely perceptible, momentary flicker of light. And then it goes out. While the forces we are up against are organized and gaining ground by the day.

Here’s an example of the kind of slick organization that is operating to advance Sharia. It’s called the Islam Project. Their mission statement is filled with buzzwords so many Americans have come to embrace. It’s Exhibit A for taqiyya-in-action and is an example of the first stage of the 3 stages of jihad:

The PBS films Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet and Muslims are the keystones of the Islam Project, which also includes a national community engagement campaign to raise public awareness, build community bridges, support dialogue, offer educational resources, and explore workplace issues as they relate to Muslims.

The Islam Project is partnering with interfaith and other community-based organizations to focus attention on issues facing Muslims in America and throughout the world. The campaign includes a range of tools — both video and print — for use by community organizations, educators, civil rights leaders, policymakers, journalists, employers, and those in the general public who want to learn more about Muslims and Islam.

Communities in ten cities — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Wichita, Kansas — have launched campaigns based on the tools of the Islam Project….

The Cliff Notes for the above would be: If you believe any of what you just read, you’re an idiot. Our goal is submission and we will achieve this goal by any and all means. Useful idiots welcome. Until you’re no longer needed.

An army is on the march. Where is our army to beat back this beast?

We cannot afford to lose one more child – and certainly not another generation – to the deadly influence of Islam in our schools.

Speak out. Get involved. You don’t have to start from scratch. You can, for example, join ACT! for America, a large organization dedicated to national security and battling Islamic supremacism. ACA has 280,000 members and nearly 900 chapters across the country. Become a member and help our army swell to millions.

Additional ideas for taking action can be found here (action items at end of article).

To read more about how Islam is taking hold in our schools, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. To read about a 2008 study by the American Textbook Council called Islam in the Classroom, see here.

Hat tip: While I used multiple sources for my research, I’d like to express a special word of acknowledgement to the website Bare Naked Islam which was an extraordinary resource.

America’s “Most Influential Muslim” Endorses Sharia Law

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

By Ryan Mauro:

This year’s issue of The Muslim 500 names Sheikh Hamza Yusuf as the most influential Muslim-American. He is often portrayed as a moderate, but he recently endorsed Sharia governance and heads an Islamist college in California with extremist faculty.

Yusuf is ranked as the 35th most influential Muslim in the world by the publication. He is described as the “leading Islamic authority” in America. He is the current president and a senior faculty member of Zaytuna College in California.

He and 17 other Muslim-American leaders signed a lettercondemning the tactics of the Islamic State terrorist group and offering theological rebuttals. It is a letter that earned them tremendous positive publicity by news outlets that didn’t notice that the letter endorsed the resurrection of the Caliphate and Sharia governance, specifically its brutal hudud punishments.

Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qu’ran and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law,” point 16 of the letter states.

It also used vague language that could justify other acts of terrorism, such as attacks by Hamas on Israel. The condemnation of the Islamic State’s targeting of American journalists contains an exception that approves of jihad against reporters they view as dishonest.

In a interview, Yusuf mourned “what happened in the 19th century with the abdication of Islamic Law and the usurpation of its place by Western legal systems.” He also accused the U.S. of trying to “unite the world” and criticized the “dominant world order, which is a capitalistic, Western world order.”

In 1996, he proudly displayed his anti-Americanism saying:

“[America] is a country that has little to be proud of in its past and less to be proud of in the present. I am a citizen of this country not by choice but by birth. I reside in this country not by choice but by conviction in attempting to spread the message of Islam in this country. I became Muslim in part because I did not believe the false gods of this society, whether we call them Jesus or democracy or the Bill of Rights.”

Read more at Clarion Project

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