The Controversial Muslim preacher has now extended his tentacles into schools in the United States, where he controls and operates more than 100 charter schools within a calculatively set up maze of dubious NGOs. Fethullah Gulen, whose organizations’ net worth is estimated to be somewhere between $22 billion and $50 billion, owns and operates over three hundred Madrasas around the world, including Pakistan, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. While Gulen’s suspicious and secretive Madrasas have been shut down and or restrained in countries such as Russia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, based on these governments’ justified suspicions that his schools had more than just education on their agendas, his rapidly and secretively expanding charter school empire here in the US has gone quite unnoticed and unacknowledged.
In less than a decade Gulen’s Islamic network in the US has established over 100 publicly funded charter schools in 25 states. What makes this eyebrow raising phenomenon a very disturbing case is the fact that despite official documents and publicly available data Fethullah Gulen is going out of his way to deny his connections to these schools. The question is why? Here are a few excerpts from a USA Today article in August 2010:
The schools educate as many as 35,000 students — taken together they'd make up the largest charter school network in the USA — and have imported thousands of Turkish educators over the past decade.But the success of the schools at times has been clouded by nagging questions about what ties the schools may have to a reclusive Muslim leader in his late 60s living in exile in rural Pennsylvania.
Top administrators say they have no official ties to Gülen. And Gülen himself denies any connection to the schools. Still, documents available at various foundation websites and in federal forms required of non-profit groups show that virtually all of the schools have opened or operate with the aid of Gülen-inspired "dialogue" groups, local non-profits that promote Turkish culture. In one case, the Ohio-based Horizon Science Academy of Springfield in 2005 signed a five-year building lease with the parent organization of Chicago's Niagara Foundation, which promotes Gülen's philosophy of "peace, mutual respect, the culture of coexistence." Gülen is the foundation's honorary president. In many cases, charter school board members also serve as dialogue group leaders.
…lawmakers, researchers and parents are beginning to put the schools under the microscope for hiring practices — they import hundreds of teachers from Turkey each year — and for steps they take to keep their academic profile high.
The schools' unacknowledged ties to Gülen, they say, mock public schools' spirit of transparency.
My regular visitors are familiar with my on and off coverage of Fethullah Gulen and his movement. Others who have not read our previous commentaries and updates on this topic can check them out here, here, and here . I can sit and write volumes on Gulen’s history and his ‘real’ operations, but I am going to limit the length of this piece and provide you with a list of significant facts and background relevant to this particular post without going into other details:
-In 1999 Gulen defected to the US shortly before his scandalous speech, where he is heard calling on his supporters to "work patiently and to creep silently into the institutions in order to seize power in the state", became public. Turkish prosecutors demanded a ten-year sentence for Gülen for having "founded an organization that sought to destroy the secular apparatus of state and establish a theocratic state". Mr. Gulen has not left the United States since.
-The Netherlands has taken major steps to cut funding to all Gülen associated organizations and is investigating his operations. The Turkish Fethullah Gülen movement is really an Islamic fundamentalist group, claims Rotterdam council member Anita Fähmel (Leefbaar Rotterdam) on the basis of her own study of the Turkish movement.
-In 1999 Uzbekistan closed all Gulen’s Madrasas and shortly afterward arrested eight journalists who were graduates of Gulen schools, and found them guilty of setting up an illegal religious group and of involvement in an extremist organization.
-In Turkmenistan, government authorities have placed Gulen’s schools under close scrutiny and have ordered them to scrap the history of religion from curriculums.
Okay, let’s recap and pay attention to the absurdity:
Here is a Turkish Muslim preacher who fled Turkey after his alleged intentions to replace the secular government with one based on Sharia laws were exposed. He comes to the US, settles here, and starts taking advantage of our vastly and overly used nonprofit laws to build his network of dubious NGOs. Meanwhile he continues to expand his network of Madrasas and related businesses overseas-Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, etc.
After years of investigating him the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, due to his guardian angels in the State Department and the CIA, are prevented from bringing an indictment against him, so they try to kick him out of the US. But once again Gulen’s CIA angels step in and portray Gulen as a scholar, despite the fact that Fethullah Gulen doesn’t even have a high-school diploma and never went beyond the 5th grade. Among his angels who vouched for him were Graham Fuller, George Fidas, and Morton Abramowitz.
With his proven immunity Gulen accelerates his operations in the US, and now with a minimum $20 billion worth of operations and front organization he is the largest US charter school operator. Not only that, while American teachers are finding it much harder to obtain jobs, Gulen’s network, thanks to their closeted State Department ties, have been securing US work visas for Turkish and Turkic Republic citizens over there to come and teach at their charter schools here in the US. Some very interesting documented data on Gulen-based work visas provided to the Turkic individuals overseas here.
And here comes the most important question: Why is Gulen trying so very hard to deny his intimate ties to his organizations’ US charter school empire?
Interestingly, Gulen and his entourage have been gloating about these US charter schools as their territory and a major accomplishment, but not here; not in the US. There are dozens of articles in the Turkish media such as this and this one.
Several dozen American teachers from Gulen’s charter schools have formed a coalition to expose the organizations’ documented ties to Gulen and other nefarious activities. A few groups have set up websites to provide information and exposés on this issue, since the mainstream media hasn’t been giving it deserved coverage. Examples can be found here and here.
I’ve been in touch with several teachers, some of whom have resigned from their positions to pursue and expose these long-censored operations. These teachers were willing to give up their income and go through incredible economic hardship during these hard times in order to warn the American public, and those who have so far gullibly entrusted their children to Gulen’s agenda that is being systematically implemented through his new charter schools empire. I am sure they will add their input to this article in our ‘comments’ section, and I am thankful to them for all the documents and sources they’ve been providing me. We’ll continue our coverage of this case, so stay tuned.