Hey Colorado Springs Independent,
Read how the grown-up journalists do it: "U.S. charter-school network with Turkish link draws federal attention" (Philadelphia Inquirer, March 19, 2011)
If you're trying to say that Littleton is wrong when she links Obama's pro-charter school stance to the expansion of the Gulen charter schools, then you're right. The Gulen charter schools started their massive expansion under GW Bush. Fortunately, the Obama administration is finally conducting investigations into the Gulenist educational network.
If you want to dismiss Littleton's concern about the 130 charter schools being operated by members of the Gulen movement, then you're wrong. This is indeed happening and taxpayers should be very concerned.
The schools are acknowledged in the invitation produced for "Transnational Religious Nationalism in the New Turkey: The Case of Fethullah Gulen" (Dec. 9, 2010) a presentation sponsored by The Religion and Public Policy Program of the James Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. It stated:
"Joshua D. Hendrick, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of international studies at the University of Oregon, addresses the conflict between Turkey's secular and Islamic forces by explaining the organizational impact of the education and business community known as the Gulen Movement. The followers of Fethullah Gulen, one of Turkey's most famous and controversial religious personalities, attract a great deal of international attention because of the extent of their education network, which now spans over 100 countries AND INCLUDES APPROXIMATELY 100 CHARTER SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES [my caps]..."
Watch the webcast here:
One place to begin to learn about the Gulen movement is Hendrick's dissertation, "Globalization and Marketed Islam in Turkey: The Case of Fethullah Gulen." Google it or try this link @
Why should we be concerned about a controversial foreign religious movement operating so many charter schools UNDER THE RADAR OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC? Well for one thing, watch this report by WorldFocus (a broadcast produced by WNET, distributed to American Public Television) "Rising Islamist Movements Challenge Secularism in Turkey."
Taraf newspaper is just beginning to publish a large number of WikiLeaks secret cables about Turkey and Fethullah Gulen that are going to be quite informative. For instance, this morning we have already learned that the U.S. demanded assistance of spiritual leaders of Turkish ethnic minorities so Fethullah Gulen could be granted his U.S. residence. Spiritual leaders of Armenian, Greek and Jewish communities of Istanbul were instructed to write letters of recommendation for Gulen, but the Greek and Armenian patriarchs refused.
So after the Department of Homeland Security denied granting Gulen a visa, he appealed and won, largely because of these types of letters as well as those of former CIA people. Ever since, he has been living at the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center in Saylorsburg, PA. Check out "Islamic group is CIA front, ex-Turkish intel chief says" (WaPo, 1/5/2011).
In Colorado, the Gulen charter school is Lotus School for Excellence in Aurora. The operators have been quite aggressive about trying to start their school #2, but despite multiple applications submitted to multiple sponsors, and even appeals up to the state level, they've been denied, most recently last week (see "No, No, No..." @ http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com/)
Feel free to browse through the 990s for Lotus School for Excellence (EIN at 200419295) @ http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/PubApps/searc…
Also look at the 990s for the Accord Institute of Education Research out of California (EIN 260658913) to which Lotus gives a portion of its per pupil spending (10-11%). The charter schools that do business with Accord are all Gulenist.
And don't forget to check out the 990s for the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation (Colorado's Gulenist "interfaith dialogue" front organization, EIN 030515223), of which the president of Lotus was the director in 2005 under his un-Anglicized name, before his duty was shifted to opening a local Gulenist school.
And finally, keep up with the CASILIPS Twitter feed.
Sorry to be this long, but so many people are just so clueless.
@ Chet Hardin from March 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM
This is a story which is currently unfolding. One year ago, there were but two articles about the Gulen movement / charter school connection.
These were followed by Tim Steller's series about the Sonoran Science Academy schools, which revealed the connection and the modus operandi a bit more. It took just these few stories to pique the interest of USA Today, which then produced an article only seven months ago.
Since then, reports mentioning that US charter schools are being run by the Gulen movement have been published by STRATFOR Global Intelligence and The New Republic. There was also an event at the Baker Institute at Rice University last December which was created explicitly to discuss the situation because of all the heat. It featured a Gulen-friendly academic who is probably this country’s most expert non-Gulenist, who has studied the movement at length, and who listed some of the Gulen movement's schools (including a handful of their US charter schools) at the end of his 2009 PhD dissertation. I doubt you've read it yet, but I have.
Admissions of the link between the Gulen movement and some of its charter schools were made last October by a longtime board member of the organization which operates the Louisiana schools (Pelican Foundation's Karen Fontenot) and by a person who has been intimately involved with the movement for many years (Helen Rose Ebaugh). I do not believe it is a coincidence that the people who publicly announced the connection happen to both be American women sympathizers/converts/believers/whatever. I believe their tongues were just looser because they haven't been as extensively indoctrinated as the members of the brotherhood are.
Frankly, I find it disturbing that you insist on being so skeptical about the connection when you obviously know so very little. Perhaps you are blinded by your prejudice against people like Peggy Littleton and by the desire, at all cost, to be "politically correct."
This network is larger than any other group of charter schools (KIPP, Imagine Schools, etc.). You can continue to be a denier, or you can begin to inform yourself beyond what can be presented to you in these comments, wherein you could then ride the crest of what is going to evolve into a major national story. Trust me, even the most liberal-minded Americans are going to feel a lot of discomfort when they catch on to this one.
Unlike the wingnuts, I do not believe the Gulenists are terrorists, but they are arrogant and extremely power-hungry, and they are using your tax dollars to do a lot of murky business in the interest of advancing the strength and influence of their movement here.
Notice how, just by bringing up two topics together (charter schools + Gulen movement), the comments start to pour in about Turkish politics and current events?
If the charter schools have nothing to do with the Gulen movement, why would a random set of deniers feel so compelled to post their comments under this relatively obscure article?
To read other Gulenist-outing vs. Gulenist exchanges, here's one about a Gulen charter school about to open in Georgia:
And of course there is this monumental exchange (170 comments!) after an article about the Texas schools.
Be sure to follow the commentary by Gulenist "William Pack." It starts out oh-so-innocent, and then gets really crazy.
Here's his first comment:
"As a nation, we need to increase the number of those high-achieving schools. Instead of chasing bogus stuff published in certain free blogs, where the quasi-authors hide their identity, I would always personally follow reliable sources such as "Texas Monthly" and "Texas Tribune". That is why I believe the authenticity of those articles and I consider Harmony Public Schools exceptionally successful. Keep up the good work folks!"
Then he totally, totally takes the bait and utterly unravels. You have to take a look.
Here are some of the strange things he writes (the caps are his):
- YOU ARE GETTING PARANOIS BY CLAIMING THAT I AM 100 % BELONGING TO SOME CULTS :) HA HA HA.. I AM JUST A REGULAR BELIEVER...
- NOW GO TELL YOUR BIG BROTHERS (IF THEY ARE AWAKE) THAT WILLIAM IS GOING OUT OF CONTROL AGAIN AND IT IS NOT EASY TO STOP HIM...OK? I AM HERE...
- I WAS A POOR PROPONENT OF CHARTER SCHOOLS. AFTER YOUR GROUNDLESS ACCUSATIONS, YOUR DEFENSE ON YOUR "KEMALIST BROTHERS" AND YOUR EVERCHANGING IDs ON CYBERSPACE, I DECIDED TO LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR KEMALIST BROTHERS.
- I WILL BE ALONE HERE AGAIN DEFENDING ALL THE SUCCESSFUL CHARTERS IN THE NATION.
- YOU WILL BE LONGING FOR THE REALIZATION OF YOUR DREAMS WHICH WON'T HAPPEN.
and more and more and more. I wouldn't be surprised if they shipped this particular Gulenist back to Turkey.
Look around on Google and you'll see "William Pack" posting on tons of ed articles last fall and directing readers to the Gulenist website www.divedu.com ("your daily scoop on Diversity in Education"). There they can read one of the Texas Gulen charter school propaganda pieces by William (Bill) Martin and other Gulenist nonsense.
Mr. Hardin, can you write a story that explains to your readers why publicly-funded schools attended by so many American school children should IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM have a relationship to this particular geopolitical drama?
Even "The Economist," a conservative mainstream magazine, is catching onto the Gulenist tactics.
An article which appeared on Feb. 17, 2011 ("A Muslim democracy in action") described the press as "largely unfettered."
But a turnaround appeared yesterday (March 10, 2011) with the publishing of an article entitled "A dangerous place to be a journalist - More arrests stoke fears that the government is intolerant of criticism."
Guess who backs the current government?
Answer: Followers of Fethullah Gulen, who refer to themselves as the "Community" but are also known as the "Gulen movement."
Here's a petition on behalf of the arrested journalists from Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International.
Mr. Hardin, you're a journalist, are you not? Perhaps you've heard of PEN?
If they could, the Gulenists in the US would like to do what is being done in Turkey and completely shut out the voices of people who are trying to expose their dirty activities. Since they can't do that, they are doing the next best thing, as they've deployed their members who are are highly computer savvy and know how to use Google Analytics to drown out the voices of their enemies.
They are very good at using cyberspace to their advantage.
In 2008, The Gulenists initiated an online media tsunami to get an UNKNOWN Fethullah Gulen -- who was selected by a landslide with an online poll -- named as the as the "world's top public intellectual." Last November, they did the same thing and almost got their Gulen-backed Turkish prime minister named as Time Magazine's "Person of the Year."
Mr. Hardin, you really do need to get in touch with what's going on.
To the Gulenists reading here, I offer the bottom of my foot to you.
From my American contact in Turkey re accessing anti-Gulenist websites outside of Turkey:
"Many sites and blogs are blocked by the fascist gulenista government here. I know about feto and his us friends. He and his people are bad news. The recent wave of writers arrested in Turkey was because they wrote about his subversive activities. He is poison to leftists...Regarding secular Turks in America. For the most part they are just happy to be there. The Turks are alarmingly passive, odd, since Ataturk was the greatest revolutionary mind in history. But then he came from Salonika [Greece]."
The Gulenists are indeed bad news and, yes, members of the movement are operating Lotus and other US charter schools on taxpayer dollars.
As far as being Gulen-inspired goes, I'm sure that
Westboro Baptist Church members are Jesus-inspired, and that
Scientologists are L. Ron Hubbard-inspired, and that
Moonies are Sun Myung Moon-inspired, and that
People's Temple members were Jim Jones-inspired, and that
the Gestapo was Hitler-inspired, and that
Manson Family members were Charlie Manson-inspired.
So, being "Gulen-inspired" isn't necessarily a good thing for people outside of the movement.
You'll find that the websites of the links posted by Gulenists who are now posting here offer very little in the way of genuine information, as they are a recycling of puff pieces produced by their sympathizers (esp. Bill Martin of TX) or material they've culled from Gulenist websites. They are getting cornered and they know it.
I can't wait for that news to break about the federal investigation into the Gulen movement's practices in the US. It's going to be very touchy diplomatically, not to mention how it's going to fuel the rising Islamophobia. The feds obviously know they must proceed with care.
More reading for Mr. Hardin:
One year ago, who knew that so much Turkish political drama was going to spill over into the United States?
The set of Obama-haters that Mr. Hardin features in this article don't quite have it right, but they're trying. The Gulen movement is less about converting kids to Islam than they think. Also, they are trying use the Gulen charter school situation to blame Obama for the presence of Gulen charter schools, when in fact, the Gulenists only took advantage of the free-for-all nature of charter school expansion that was massively accelerated under GW Bush.
But Chet Hardin doesn't have it right, either. His problem is that he is as narrow-minded and uninformed as the people he is ridiculing and dismissing in his article. It’s quite clear he hasn’t done his homework.
The fact of the matter is there IS a cult-like religious movement out of Turkey, which consists of the work of followers of a charismatic religious leader who view themselves as missionaries 'for the cause.' They cloaks themselves in "interfaith dialogue" and “educate children” goodness, as they simultaneously conduct a geopolitical campaign, the goal of which is to accumulate global power by influencing as many susceptible people as possible. This hard-driving entity is ascendant and is responsible for the political party which is currently ruling Turkey and for the changes which that country has experienced in recent years.
You’ll find that -- despite members’ denials that they conduct their activities independently – they all utilize a very specific template of activities, whether in the US or abroad. The activities work in symphony to foster sympathy and action on behalf of Turkish interests and to warm outsiders’ affection for the ways of Fethullah Gulen’s brand of Turkish Islam. Any look into Gulenist activities will find:
- an expansion of schools which teach Turkish language and culture, and take students to the motherland (the central activity, as it indoctrinates a generation)
- lobbying influential local community leaders (politicians, academics, religious leaders, and reporters) by way of office visits; free, guided propaganda trips to Turkey; gifts of dinners, awards, Turkish platters, etc., and most recently for legislative resolutions
- using the media and marketing techniques for promotional spin (exaggerating charter school interest, press releases about accomplishments, a focus on obtaining and posting photos of Gulenists interacting with community leaders, online information manipulation via Google analytics and the countering or removing of potentially damaging web content, etc.)
The nuance that needs to be expressed is that Turkey is 99% Muslim. Just as with Christianity or Judaism, not all Muslims believe exactly the same thing. Only some Turks and Turkic people are followers of Fethullah Gulen, and these people are on a mission. Even people who are on friendly terms with the Gulen movement will acknowledge that it is secretive. That feature is because the members are devout and faithfully follow the tenets of their leader.
If you don’t think a cult-like religious movement can infiltrate a mainstream institution, then you don’t know anything about Scientology’s Operation Snow White.
PS: The Gulenists are being investigated by the feds.
Mr. Hardin, for your reading:
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