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The Gülen Movement

 

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: His name is Fethullah Gülen. He is a 69-year-old Turkish Islamic scholar and author, apparently in poor health, who came to the US seeking medical treatment. He lives a secluded life at a retreat in Pennsylvania. So why was he voted by his admirers in a survey by Foreign Policy magazine as the most significant intellectual in the world? Among those admirers are Kemal Oksuz and Alp Aslandogan.

KEMAL OKSUZ (President, Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians): Kind, modest, humble, generous. We see him as a source of information, inspiration, but never prophet. He would be the one who would be troubled the most if he hears that followers or inspirers see him kind of prophet.

ALP ASLANDOGAN (Institute for Interfaith Dialogue): Personally, he is definitely very knowledgeable, very sincere in wanting the best for the people—not just Turkey, but for all humanity.

SEVERSON: Gülen has inspired his followers to build schools, provide humanitarian aid and engage in interfaith dialogue. University of Houston Professor Helen Ebaugh, who wrote a book on the Gülen movement says the movement got its start when Gülen was an imam in Turkey.

post01-gulenPROFESSOR HELEN EBAUGH (Dept. of Sociology, University of Houston; Author of “The Gülen Movement”): When Fethullah Gülen began preaching in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s in Turkey, his message was we don’t need more madrassas. We need schools that would promote science and math and secular subjects, and his contention was that one can be modern and one can be scientific and still be a good Muslim.

SEVERSON: Bill Martin is a senior fellow in religion and public policy at the James Baker Institute at Rice University. He says the Gülen movement is different from fundamentalist Islam because they respect all faiths and believe religion is compatible with science.

WILLIAM MARTIN (Senior Fellow, James Baker Institute at Rice University): I think it’s fair to say that Islam has had difficulty in coming to terms with modernity, and in that I think that the Gülen movement offers a much more positive picture of what Islam can be.

SEVERSON: Gülen-inspired volunteers from Turkey bring Turkish language and culture with them. In Houston they sponsor a Turkish Olympiad where American students compete in Turkish dance and song. The winners compete in an annual competition in Ankara, Turkey. There are more than a 1000 Gülen-inspired schools and universities in over 100 countries.

MARTIN: Gülen has always emphasized education, and that really lies at the core of this movement. To be a good Muslim meant to be well educated, and to be a good Muslim who participated in modernity meant to be conversant and well educated in science, math, and technology.

post02-gulenOKSUZ: Education helps you overcome ignorance, poverty, corruption, hate, extremism, racism, whatever, all the illnesses of the society. Because of that education is very important.

SEVERSON: In Texas there are 33 nationally recognized public charter schools with over 16,000 students grades K through 12. They’re called Harmony schools, and the Turkish superintendent insists they are strictly secular and in no way connected to Gülen. Professor Ebaugh says there’s a reason for this kind of sensitivity.

EBAUGH: I think a lot of that is related to the Islamophobia that exists in this country. I think there is a lot of fear that Islam is trying to take hold of this country and countries around the world—that it’s trying to spread itself.

SEVERSON: About 60 percent of the kids in the Texas Harmony schools come from disadvantaged neighborhoods. The schools say they have a 100 percent graduation rate. No wonder there are 21,000 kids on the waiting list.

MARTIN: I think the Harmony schools are an outstanding example of what the Gülen followers have been able to accomplish in particular with respect to education. Of the three high schools that had graduating seniors this year, only three students had not already been admitted to a four-year college at the time of graduation.

PHOEBE TAYLOR (Teacher, Harmony School of Innovation): I know teachers who stay up here seven o’clock at night, eight o’clock at night who are also working at night from home.

post03-gulenCHUCK LAMBERT (Teacher, Harmony School of Innovation): They know our expectations for them. Through kindergarten all the way through high school, they know this is a college school. Our goal is to get you into college.

SHARON QUINILTY (Teacher, Harmony School of Innovation): I have never worked harder. But you really see the results. Because the parents are very involved, the kids really respond.

OKSUZ: Gülen—not only he urges teachers to go and work at these schools, on the other hand he urges people from all walks of life to go and support all these schools. Build up schools instead of mosques. Build up universities instead of mosques. Build up cultural centers, interfaith organizations, aid organizations, hospitals instead of mosques.

SEVERSON: Supporters say Gülen owns nothing himself but has persuaded others to give generously to many independent organizations.

EBAUGH: The movement has become quite wealthy. It’s one of the richest movements in Turkey. It has private hospitals, it has all these private schools. There’s a big media industry, one of the biggest in Turkey. It has the Zaman newspaper. Kimse Yok Mu is one of the latest. That’s their relief organization. They help disaster victims all over the world.

post04-gulenSEVERSON: Kimse Yok Mu and in the US Helping Hands contribute millions of dollars in humanitarian aid each year. Professor Ebaugh says in Turkey Gülen urged businessmen to grow their businesses and give a part of their earnings, as much as a third, to support humanitarian aid and education.

EBAUGH: The movement is financed not only by these wealthy businessmen, but more importantly it’s financed by everybody in the movement. Everybody contributes, and the average seems to be about 10 percent.

ASLANDOWAN: I go beyond the expected level in my income level. For all of this my motivation is that just like God loves us as human beings we also should act in a manner that is pleasing to God. And I believe that all of these actions—charitable donations, volunteerism—are pleasing to God. That’s why I’m doing all of this.

SEVERSON: Alp is a volunteer in charge of the Institute for Interfaith Dialog in Houston, which is located in the Raindrop Turkish House. This is a mockup of the projected interfaith center, which will include a Jewish synagogue, a mosque, and a Christian church. Gülen has always stressed the importance of interfaith dialogue to promote peace and has met with Pope John Paul II and reached out to leaders of many religious minorities. And he may have been the first Muslim leader to condemn the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

ASLANDOWAN: He immediately posted an ad clearly saying that this was an anti, a non-Islamic act. It’s not even a human act. The people who committed this are not Muslims; they can not even be called humans. He said Bin Laden is a monster and people around him are monster if they think like him.

post05-gulenSEVERSON: Alp Aslandowan says Gülen teaches that suicide attacks cannot be justified in Islam.

ASLANDOWAN: Some people try to justify the killings, homicidal killings, by saying that those people who are engaged in those, they don’t have any other means, and he said that this is not a Muslim’s view. It cannot be a Muslim’s thinking, because for a Muslim if the end result, if the end goal is virtuous, worthwhile, holy, then the means should also be holy.

SEVERSON: Professor Ebaugh says the movement could do better by placing women in leadership roles. Gülen is not without his critics.

EBAUGH: The big issue in Turkey for the critics is the fear that the movement is becoming very powerful, very wealthy, and that there is a sub rosa agenda to create an Islamic state, and they always compare it to Khomeini and Iran.

MARTIN: I think there’s no warrant to the charges that Gülen wants to take over and impose Sharia law. I think that, frankly, is an absurd fear.

OKSUZ: The movement is neither sect nor cult. It is a civil society movement.

MARTIN: Sometimes they are accused of being a missionary, a missionizing entity. As far as I know, I don’t know anyone through the schools or otherwise that they’ve tried to turn into a Muslim.

SEVERSON: For the time being, those who follow Gülen, both critics and admirers, seem to agree that he is leading one of the most important movements in Islam.

For Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, I’m Lucky Severson in Houston.

  • ohohmrbill

    Gulen did not leave his country to seek health benefiets. He was “Exhiled” and now lives under house arrest in Pennsylvania. He has been jailed numerous times back in Tukey and this last time he fled in order not to be prosicuted again. I really wish reporters would get there facts strait before writing these fluff pieces. …

  • Lauren Alexander

    If you think that the only “criticism” of Gulen is that he does not have enough women in powerful positions (which is an understatement in itself), then maybe you should read some of the websites that are being published about what is going on in Gulen’s charter school movement throughout the United States.

    What is of great interest in this “conversation,” are the comments from the Harmony teachers. Gulen’s schools have consistently denied any type of affiliation with Gulen, yet, teachers from the Harmony schools — which are clearly Gulen schools, are commenting.

    Gulen’s movement is not as benevolent and tolerant as he and his followers would like everyone to believe. They are insidious and continously violate the rights of American teachers employed in their schools — 155 and counting. They are engaged in a sundry of illegal activities, including immigration fraud.

    It’s about time journalists looked a little deeper into Gulen’s well-oiled propaganda machine.

    Charter school watchdog has a wealth of credible evidence documenting some of the criminal activities and human rights violations that the Gulenites are engaged in.

  • Willow Barrish

    Gulen and his cronies are engaged in a myriad of criminal activities involving the 155 charter schools that they continually deny have an affiliation with Gulen. If that is so, then why is it that this article features teachers from Harmony schools — schools that are affiliated with Gulen? If they are not doing anything illegal, then why do they continually deny their association and allegiance to Gulen?

    Dig a little deeper, move past Gulen’s propaganda machine and you might just discover the truth behind the movement and not what Gulen has fed to the American media.

    Gulen is not the benevolent benefactor on a mission to help educate our children and promote a more modern version of Islam. His only mission is to pursue his own agenda of deception, lies, and illegal activities, all the while smiling at the naive Americans that have allowed him to do so.

    Charter school watchdog and other websites have credible evidence of what Gulen and his cronies are really
    doing and it’s not nearly as neat and tidy as your panel would believe.

    Wake up America — we do not need to go to Afghanistan or Iraq to fight the enemy — the enemy is lurking close by in 155 of our tax-payer funded charter schools, operating under the false guise of educational redemption.

  • Katherine Mortelli

    Speaking as a proud American and Texan I resent the flag of Turkey (which is the symbol of Islam) flying next to our state flag and the flag of this country.
    These Schools are American tax payer supported and the Gulen Movement has no right pushing their culture, religion or other nonsense off on our children.
    Soner where is the 21,000 students that are “waiting” to attend one of these schools?

  • carolyn

    News correspondents, college professors, teachers, parents and all Americans who have their heads in the sand, need to study up on the Arabic word TACQIYYA, which means deception! Taught to Muslims from the cradle, tacqiyya is practiced widely by Gulen as well as all other Muslims in the world .Look it up. It is mentioned in the Qur’an.

  • David Rubinstein

    1) Gulen is acquitted from all his legal cases in 2008. Check his legal status in Turkey. There is no obstacle for Gulen to return to Turkey

    2) He is no under arrest. He was even granted Green Card by the US authorities. If he were dangerous, he would definitely be deported out of country.

    3) I guess you wrote those things in a hurry or you don’t speak English very well. Learn the correct spellings of “exhile” (which should be “exile”) and “prosicuted” (which should be “prosecuted”).

  • notquite

    Actually, he was jailed once during a military coup (lots of religious and influential figures were jailed during those times) but that was the only time. The latest case against him was never proven.In my humble opinion, he is a very important figure and I believe his honesty and sincerity.

  • Angela Franklin

    Thank you PBS for the great article and interview with the members of Turoquise Council, Raindrop Turkish house, Dr. Ebaugh and the other Gulen Movement organizations that are linked to the Harmony Science Academies. Soner Tarim is a great man and a shining example of what being a member of Hizmet is about.
    I am so thankful with a 21,000 waiting list that my 2 children were accepted without a wait.

  • john

    1. Its exiled and not (exhiled)
    2. He WAS’NT exiled.. i think you need to get your facts straight, and neither does he live in house arrest !!! where are you getting this information from??? and house arrest really?? under which judicial order? woooooowww !!!

    Please get your facts straight before you comment. Thank You !!

  • selman

    Reply to ohohmrbill: Please do show evidence for any guilt of Gulen, otherwise these are just meaningless accusations. Gulen and his ideas have been accepted and supported unbiased individuals in Turkey and more than 100 countries. He had to stay in jail when the military intervened the system without any set judgment. You can’t judge a person under the conditions of unusual times. A lot of good people experienced this kind of thing in the history, even now. But I can understand how hard for some to stand for blossoming of this movement around the world.

  • To ohohmrbill

    Mary from Ohio, you’re wrong once again.

    1) When he left Turkey for the U.S. for the treatment, there was no charge or court order against him.
    2) All charges against him were dropped several years later for having had no basis at all.
    3) He chooses to stay even though there is no warrant against him in Turkey for years.
    4) Had there been such a warrant to arrest by the Turkish court, the agreements between the U.S. and Turkey would have required U.S. law enforcements to arrest and deport him. No body visited him for this purpose.

    Mary, Mustafa misinforms you on many accounts. Stop listening to him.

  • Chriss English

    Unfortunately what “ohohmrbill “says is not true. He is not under house arrest in PA and he has not been jailed numerous times. This kind of public figures’ life stories are also public.
    if you simply google “Fethullah Gulen” you will learn much more about his life.

  • calhoun

    Gulen voluntarily lives in solitude for totally personal reasons.In Turkey, he has been cleared of all charges against him, which were baseless accusations in the first place. In US, there has not been a single lawsuit against him. You should get your facts strait.

  • fan

    ohohmrbill, I am not a supporter of this man; this news about him was totally NEW to me as of this morning. I tell you this so you hopefullly can know I am nuetral on the issues surrounding this man. What was he arrested for in his county? Can you briefly explain more about him being exhiled? Knowing this would be part of getting the facts straight. Do you think he did not create the schools and focus on education as cited by Reliogion and Ethics nesweekly. if he did notThank you

  • Can Cem

    I do not know why is this hatred for, ohohmrbill. That is right, Gulen left his own country because of intolerant people like you. He has never lied or deceived any one. Looking at the activities and products of his movement, one must be blind not to see how hard they work for positive goals. Have a little mercy and be a little fair, please. Unforunatelly, in the modern world a practising muslim is automotically perceived as a radical, no matter how hard he tries for the happiness of the humanity.

  • E.Patrick Mosman

    The panel members and speakers seem to believe that education is the key to combat radical Islam yet the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the root of Al Queda, were educated men, Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenants were and are educated men, the leaders, planners and those carrying out the 9/11 attack were educated men and all reverted to the practice of violence, terrorism and suicide bombings based on the writings of Mohammad. While the program was in reference to “The Gulen Movement” there was no mention of the writings of Sayyid Qutb, another educated man as described in :
    The Thought of Sayyid Qutb: Radical Islam’s Philosophical Foundations
    Statesmanship Thesis
    Recipient of the 2004 Charles E. Parton Award
    by Luke Loboda
    Sayyid Qutb: The Man, His Life, and His Significance

    One only has to read the final paragraph of the Introduction to understand that education is not the answer to radical Islam;
    “However, unless the West has a deeper understanding of the ideas which bring about support for terrorist activity, those ideas will continue to resonate within the hearts of certain Muslims and continue to perpetuate violence. Unless the West can respond to the philosophical arguments of men like Sayyid Qutb, its victory over groups like al-Qaeda can never be total and final. Therefore, this thesis is written to be a fair and concise presentation of the thought of Sayyid Qutb as it is relevant to today’s political world. It is up to the people of the West and their leaders to fire back the next philosophical shot.”

  • Ali

    Gulen has all the tools for the peace and understanding that our world needs. I think we should give him the credit he has already deserved.

    I also don’t agree with the statement that he is under arrest in Pennsylvania. He was also acquitted of the cases he was sued for. It was probably in 2007 or 2008.

  • E.Patrick Mosman

    I get a Word press error every time I try to leave a comment. Is there a problem?

  • peace

    While there is very little to find good in our old world, it is hard to make some people happy even if you offer a lot for the society. I think what Gulen has done or inspired the people to do is great!

  • Kemal

    The previous comments do not have a piece of truth in it. I wish the person would have done a bit of research prior to making those claims. Or visited one of the institutions before making those statements. Anyway, I pray to God that everyone will see the truth one day.

  • Micheal Scott

    As a parent of one of Harmony Schools and now an expert on efforts of forcibly linking harmony schools to gulen movement and gulen himself, I find this coverage very biased. It seems like whoever edited this piece had in mind to mingle footage from harmony schools with gulen people and sub-consciously make people believe these schools connected to Gulen. So many examples can we given but one obvious one is this:
    -right after the interviews of harmony teachers, we have following testament:
    OKSUZ: Gülen—not only he urges teachers to go and work at these schools, on the other hand he urges people from all walks of life to go and support all these schools.
    It seems like OKSUZ is talking about schools of the movement in other parts of the world, but the editing here makes it like he is talking about the harmony schools. EDITING IS DONE NICELY AND PERFECTLY..

  • mike

    I don’t think he is a bad guy. Prefer him to other radical people. I see him as a man dedicated himself to education and peace.

  • etk

    I really wonder, if you have read any of Gulen’s books, ohohmrbill? What do you know about him? It’s obviously seen that you have prejudegments and hate. Gulen was acquitted from all charges. He’s innocent according to highest courts in Turkey. Also he is not under arrest in Pennsylvania. He has residence permit and if he wants he can come back to Turkey. But he doesn’t want to because of some people who has meaningless hates to him like you. Because he doesn’t want seperation and disagreements in Turkey. I strongly recommend you to read Gulen, may be one day you’ll understand.

  • brottblatt

    Why do you publish whatever people says in here. He says he lives under arrest but he has nothing to prove. so Please be a bit justified. The only fluff pieces are the sentences that he/she wrote down. Please dont judge anyone if you have very little knowledge about them. This is what human character requires…

  • redmondian

    Mr. Gulen is one of the prominent scholars/preacher in his home country, a famous author who has published more than 50 books and an influential activist. He spent his entire life in elevating the human values, spreading the education all over the world and building bridges between different cultures/religions. He’s been in states for more than 10 years and this is solely result of his heath issues.

    He has inspired many people with this life, writings and speechs. Encouraged people to build more than 1000 schools all over the world more with no goverment support at all, but just civil philantropy.

    On the contrary to one of the readers’ claim, there is no jurisdictional restriction, court decision against his freedom and/or his civil initiative. It is entirely his willlingness that makes him concentrate his intellectual energy and time for today’s worlds problem, like most of the other world-changing civil leaders, like Dr. Luther King.

    He spent his whole life striving for removal of ignorance. As many times in the past and as in Dr. King’s example, some individuals are insisting to keep censoring his opinions. But what history thought us is the very fact that it is not the ideas of the oligarchies that prevails, it is the truth itself ,from which human benefit, will survive in the long term.

  • josheph

    re:ohohmrbill
    he never sentenced and he is not under house arrest.i think you never want to see the truth,he wants peace on the world.

  • Steve Wells

    Gulen is not under house arrest or any kind of arrest in Pennsylvania. He has never been jailed in Turkey also. There is a google you can search for true facts.At the time he fled to USA, there wasn’t any lawsuit or any court order for him and now there is not any lawsuit against him. When you write sth. just be honest as they are.

  • recep

    Hi,
    Gulen has never been arrested or jailed but he was stood trial in his absence and found NOT guilty of all of the accusations. He can come and stay in Turkey whenever he wants but there is this ETO trial and deep state that keeps him away from his home.He doesnt want to come because he thinks and believes that those corrupted organization will try to do everything to change the agenda in Turkey as they did with other puppet people in the past to manipulate current issues.
    And he doesnt live under house arrest in Pens otherwise how can you explain hundreds of visitors visiting him there every month and this broadcasting on one of the most prestigious TV in the U.S.
    thanks

  • John

    ohohmrbill could you please give the details when was he jailed? Because there is no record of his jailing except during coup d’etat of 1971. Also no record of continuing prosecution.

  • arif

    Gulen has made tremendous contribution to the democratisation of today’s Turkey. Millions owe today’s speedily developing country to his educational initiatives.

    Those who are opposed are disturbed by his ambitions mainly because they don’t want their dicta to come to an end. The same dicta is making ungrounded and unsubstantiated excuses to let people think that he is a criminal. He is an intellectual who I believe not only Turks but other people can enormously benefit from and be inspired by.

  • Gul

    “He has been jailed numerous times back in Tukey”
    What a lie

  • LoveandPeace

    Gulen is the one who is going to survive the world from wars and poverty. When the movement is evaluated, it is obvious to see he is encouraging people to go all around the world for educational purposes not for money, not for career, not for fight or war. In the past there was claims about him like “he is aiming to capture the control of the state” but he had to move to US because of his health problems. He is always peaceful and encourage people for dialog. The former Pope(J.P.) also met with him. I dont think he is a normal man, I think he is born with duty for humanity for dialog, peace and love.

  • nerdesin

    Well, Gulen was not exiled neither was he ever convicted of any crime. He was detained by the military regime when they overthrew the democratically elected government in Turkey (as they did the same to many innocent people). I wish this person( ohohmrbill) did some research like scholars in the movie did before writing these comments. But his/her comments show a point clearly: many who accuse Gulen and his followers speak their prejudice or misunderstandings, rather than facts, when making unfounded accusations.

  • Ahmet Bagci

    I am from Turkey and I know him just like any ordinary Turkish citizen. First of all, he was not exiled. There is no court order or whatsoever. Secondly, he is not under house arrest. He is a free man but chooses to live like that as most spiritual men in the history did. I see it on the news all the time that people from all walks of life visit him. Thirdly, being jailed numerous times is not true either. Our current Prime minister was in jail once and he is considered one of the most successful PM of Turkey. Yes he was in jail once during army takeover. Turkey is changing as the world is changing…

  • Mark Webb

    It’s not accurate to say he was exiled, since he left voluntarily (not expelled by government edict), and he doesn’t live under house arrest, because he hasn’t been arrested by anyone in the US. He was threatened with prosecution in Turkey (under laws that criminalize the expression of opinions deemed to threaten the secular state), but he was also cleared of all charges. It’s also not true to say he was jailed “numerous times.” As far as I know, he was never jailed.

    Many in Turkey are so afraid of an Islamic state that they are jumping at shadows. There is not a shred of evidence for the accusations people like “ohohmrbill” make.

    I really wish commentators would get their facts straight before writing hatchet jobs.

  • Fazil Erdem

    Did you understand anything said in the program? There is not court decision against him. Yes, he was arrested under the military rule along many others. I do not thing there is anyone in the face of earth that can defend the military coupe and consequences of them.

  • Chris Steller

    I would have liked to have heard from a critic directly rather than supporters or scholars who explain (away) criticisms of the movement. If you had time for a testimonial about Gulen’s humility you had time for an actual critic.

  • orhan

    I think before reporter, you have to learn about him.. thank you

  • Truth Always

    I strongly suggest to you to search the “Truth”, you have completely wrong information.
    Mr. Gulen has very serious health problems if you followed the media closely you would know that.
    Arrest happened by the dark forces, again if you followed the media you would know well that he was dismissed by the state security court and he was exonerated of any wrongdoing.
    House arrest?!? Where did you get the idea ?
    He is free to go anywhere, anytime and visitors never leave him alone.
    Mr. Gulen and people are inspired by him dedicated their life for humanity. If we have a human heart, we must support at least applause the good things for humanity, not block them.
    You are right , I really wish reporters would get more facts that they can write better glowing pieces.

  • Erci

    Thanks for a program like that…In the world and USA, there is a phobia about Islam and when big TV ‘s make programs like this one, I am sure we will have more peace and understanding toward each other…
    Thank you

  • distinguishedrock

    To know more about Mr. Gulen and the movement have to see the web pages about Him and movement. There is a lot of links what followers did around the world and why this earth need more activist like Him.
    http://www.fethullahgulen.org/
    http://en.fgulen.com/

  • Good Christian

    I have been following Mr. Gulen’s movement closely. Gulen left his country to seek medical treatment. He was not exiled, and furthermore, he was acquitted by the supreme court of Turkey. He does not live under house arrest, he is free to turn back to Turkey any time, but he really believes in interfaith dialog, and he ardently works for this purpose. As a Christian, I admire his peaceful work…

  • Arif

    Unfortunately, some people are trying to misinform others who don’t know anything about Gulen. I trust what is broadcasted in this video; the university professors like Dr. Ebaugh who analyzed and wrote a book about Gulen movement, school teachers worked in the charter schools for years and volunteers of the movement. If you don’t believe them check President Bill Clinton’s talk about Gulen at Youtube titled “Bill Clinton: Fethullah Gulen’s Contribution to the World” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPiPOL9-EQs. I advise anyone who wants to know more about the Gulen movement to take a look at Dr. Ebaugh’s book “The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam” and see the revolutionary approach of the people inspired from Gulen and how they are trying to help humanity.

    P.S. It is fact that there is no reason for him to go Turkey or anywhere in the world but he just wants to live in Pittsburgh with his relatives and seeks medical treatment. Please do not believe any comment which has no reference.

    Thanks,

    Arif

  • coolboy

    F. Gulen did leave his country to seek health benefits. And he can get back to his country whenever he wants.

  • a chemist

    I could not find a truth in ohohmrbill’s comment. S/he is not writing the truth.

  • Turko

    If only you had not had this prejudice for people whose only reason is to bring education to people around the world. You got your facts from the media who has a strong opposition against those people. Did you by your own intellectual abilities and understanding look in to this movement and what they reaaly are?
    Did you read anything Mr. Gulen wrote?
    If you want to judge someone, you should do it by your own judgement created by your own investigation.

  • john

    ohohmrbill When you will stop defamation of this man by lying and distorting the reality.

  • Mustafa Sahin

    Well I don’t know what ‘exhile’ means but what I know for sure is that he left Turkey on his own will for medical treatment. Besides, recently charges against him were all dropped . Considering the fact that the current president, many of the past presidents, current prime minister, many if not most prime ministers and politicians in Turkey have been prosecuted and jailed at some point during their careers, Gulen’s sentences during the military coups only make him less fascist and militarist but more democratic and pro-civil society..

  • kemal

    >>ohohmrbill says:
    >>January 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm
    >>Gulen did not leave his country to seek health benefiets. He was “Exhiled” and now lives under house arrest >>in Pennsylvania. He has been jailed numerous times back in Tukey and this last time he fled in order not to >> be >>prosicuted again. I really wish reporters would get there facts strait before writing these fluff pieces. …

    under house arrest?!!
    jailed numerous times?!!

    reporters are just doing what they are supposed to be doing “reporting what is happening / what is being said” unlike you telling lies around…

  • mustafa

    gulen is removed of all his blaming in turkey, and he is free, he can go back to his country anytime he wants. he never been jailed , please check the news and claim later

  • murat

    so according to ohohmrbill all these professaurs and experts are wrong and only he himself smart.just tell us about your researches and your profession and enlighten us.if your not able to at least listen to these peoples and enligten yourself

  • mikelee

    This is really good news, I congratulate all reporters. In fact, Mr. Gulen was not exiled nor under house arrest. He has been found NOT guilty by all courts and absolved all aspersions. He promotes the cooperation of civilizations as opposed to clash, through dialogue, mutual understanding and gathering around shared values…

  • Murat

    ohohmrbill, where do you get your information? Gulen was not exhiled and has never been jailed in Turkey. Thankfully there is reliable sources like pbs.

  • Aydin

    Gulen movement is exclen’t ,They are peace symbol in the Earth ,i knew them since 1987,
    If you wonder Gulen read his books and watch his Media like EbruTV, Todayzaman,
    Thank you PBS your great news.

  • tneme

    check your spellings before you post a comment!!!!

  • Kay

    Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish scholar, thinker, social entrepreneur and opinion leader known for his stances for democracy, interfaith dialogue, peaceful coexistence, and secular education where universal values are embodied by altruistic teachers. Numerous non-governmental organizations have been established by citizens inspired by his life and works in the areas of education, interfaith dialogue, health-care, disaster relief and economic assistance.
    In order to promote interfaith dialogue in his home country he has met with the leaders of various religious minorities including the Greek Patriarch, Armenian Patriarch, Chief Rabbi of Turkey, and others. In recognition of his contributions to interfaith understanding, he was given personal audience by the late Pope John Paul II.

    Former U.S. President Clinton commented in an address to an audience at New York Turkish American Cultural Center that Turkish-Americans “are contributing to the promotion of the ideas of tolerance and interfaith dialogue inspired by Fethullah Gülen in his transnational social movement.” And they “are truly strengthening the fabric of our common humanity, as well as promoting the ongoing cultural and educational ties that bind our world together.” Recently former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan commented that the activities of the Gulen Institute hosted at University of Houston overlapped with his efforts during his tenure at the U.N. You may or may not agree with President Clinton’s or Secretary Annan’s views in other areas, but let’s agree that appreciation at this level is an indicator of significant positive social impact.

    Readings:

    “Fethullah Gulen’s Contribution to Muslim-Christian Dialogue in the Context of Abrahamic Cooperation” by Dr. Pim Valkenberg, November 3, 2005, Rice University

    “Advocate of Dialogue: Fethullah Gulen” by Ali Unal, October 2000, Fountain Press

    Fethullah Gulen is a supporter of democracy and human rights. He was one of the first Muslim scholars who publicly condemned September 11 attacks, and continue to condemn any form of terrorist actions. After the September 11, 2001, Gulen released a message both in New York Times and Washington Post to condemn 9/11 attacks.

    Further Readings:
    • “A Sunni Muslim Scholar’s Humanitarian and Religious Rejection of Violence against Civilians” by Dr. Alp Aslandogan, November 12, 2007, London School of Economics

    • “Fethullah Gulen’s Thoughts on State, Democracy, Politics, and Terrorism” an interview with Fethullah Gulen by Dr. Zeki Saritoprak, July 2005, Muslim World Journal

  • cancer

    ohohmrbill, Do you think people are stupid? You know all “these facts!!!” but nobody else !

    You may dislike one’s ideas but that never should make you LIE !

  • aaron

    Gulen Movement is a great example of making peaceful revolution…They are doing dialog with everyone not monologue…

  • Benjamin

    Yes, they try to put him to jail many times in Turkey and there were some claims about him but all of those claims have been dismissed by court many years ago. I think there are many people have some prejudice about him even now.

  • CASILIPS

    “The schools say they have a 100 percent graduation rate.”

    Did the producers take the time to research this statement instead of simply reproducing it without question?

    Harmony Science Academy, Houston: The class of 2008 started out in 9th grade with 47 students. In 10th grade it was 44, 11th grade 35, and by the 2007-2008 school year the class was down to 31 twelfth-grade students. Many education researchers would argue that this implies a graduation rate of 31/47 = 66%. In fact, some would say that an additional correction should be made for the fact that the total enrollment in the high school increased from 129 to 151; making such a correction would give an even lower graduation rate.

    This is not an isolated example:
    Harmony Science Academy Houston – class of 2009. Started with 47 9th graders in 2005-6, ended with 37 12th graders in 2008-9 (79% graduation rate).

    Harmony Science Academy Austin – class of 2009. Started with 24 9th graders in 2005-6, ended with 13 12th graders in 2008-2009 (54% graduation rate).

    Harmony Science Academy Dallas – class of 2009. Started with 44 9th graders in 2005-6, ended with 14 12th graders in 2008-2009 (32% graduation rate).

    (All enrollment numbers came from the National Center for Education Statistics.)

    Clearly these schools have a large amount of attrition. Before producing what is essentially an unpaid advertisement for them, it would be appropriate to investigate why. Why didn’t more of those ninth graders stay in the schools through 12th grade? Where did they end up – as dropouts or in another school? The claim is that the schools’ goal was to get all the 9th graders into college; a necessary step towards that goal would be getting them through 12th grade.

    We would also have appreciated an independent confirmation of the claims regarding the waiting lists. The schools have a powerful incentive to inflate these lists, and there is no outside agency checking on them.

    Finally, dismissing all criticisms of Gulen and the Gulen Movement’s charter schools as due to “Islamophobia” is a crude form of stereotyping and a great disservice to the American public. This is an extremely one-sided and biased article; all the people interviewed are either members of the Gulen Movement (Oksuz, Aslandogan) or sympathizers of the Movement (Martin, Ebaugh) or employees of the Harmony schools which are run by the Gulen Movement.

  • Esra

    Gulen is not under house arrest (how about getting your own facts straight), and there is no charge against him in Turkey either. True, he has been jailed numerous times as lots of other intellectuals in Turkey; free speech can be too much ask in a ‘democratic’ country. As of today, he can go back to Turkey whenever he wish.

  • RobJaro

    How incredibly disappointing that Mr. Severson did not do his homework! As a longtime PBS supporter who is NOT a member or sympathizer of the Gulen movement — but who has been monitoring the GM’s U.S. activities for some time — it is clear that Severson has become the Gulenists’ puppet.

    The truth is that the members of this organization are in the midst of implementing a carefully devised, stealth global geo-political strategy on behalf of Fethullah Gulen. Outside its borders, the “volunteers” spread a Pan-Turkic ideology. Within its borders, the movement is responsible for Turkey’s recent increase in religious conservatism. These people, teaching science to tens of thousands of charter school students, are also Creationists.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjjY750wTs0&feature=player_embedded
    http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?id=54183&lng=en

    Severson did not mention that Fethullah Gulen’s central fantasy is the establishment of a neo-Ottoman empire. The GM is highly ambitious and is collectively working for an expansion of Turkey’s global power. It is this, not the garnering of religious converts, which is its central focus — for the time being. Severson’s flowery promotion is helping this strongly nationalistic, religious cult to further its goals.

    Note that Severson has only featured Gulen’s followers and American Gulenist sympathizers in his article. These sympathizers have been the recipients of Gulenist largess (at the minimum they have received multiple, free, Gulenist-guided trips to Turkey). One of the Gulenists’s techniques is to target reporters, community leaders, politicians, and gullible academics with gifts and manipulative charm. For a tiny peek into their style of persuasiveness, read this account involving Congresswoman Gaby Giffords.
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=the-gulen-movement-plays-big-in-washington-2010-05-14

    Severson chose to take the easy route, by not including views held by anyone who exists outside this religious cult. He pretends to present a counter view by asking a Gulenist-sympathizer (Martin) to respond to the criticism and concerns. What a joke!

    Had Severson done his homework, he might have asked his Gulenist contacts why such a supposedly “honorable” religious movement has established the largest network of charter schools in the U.S. (nearly 130 Gulen charter schools) — all under the radar of Americans. Severson should be pointing out that unknowing U.S. taxpayers are supporting these schools, which exist to further the Gulen movement’s true agenda.

    The Gulenists set up their charter schools and do not speak a word about their ties to Gulen, nor reveal that opening schools (where they have access to young people’s minds) is a primary GM global project. NOTHING is ever mentioned about Gulen’s educational philosophy in the charter school petitions that are presented to local charter school authorizers – nor is anything mentioned about Gulen in promotional material on their charter school websites. Thousands and thousands of U.S. families are kept clueless, as millions and millions of public dollars are being provided to these schools. Abroad the Gulen schools are private. The fact is that our current twisted and defective educational reform movement is allowing all of this to happen.

    The Gulen Movement is conducting deception of the worst kind.

  • Challah

    Why leave out the facts about the Gulen movement? Read them for yourself and then decide if this movement is one that our United States government should be supporting, and giving money to support.

  • omer

    ohohmrbill i think everybody understanded gulen but you didn t show us one information about he has been jailed i guess you are dreaming a lot.He is cleared from all the lawsuits opened against him from the courts.I guess you have to make more resource

  • Istanbul

    Hew has never been convicted for anything! He is free to come back to his country. The justice minister of Turkey said that he is free to come to his country whenever he want and he is not convicted for any crime. He has never been prosecuted for anything. That is a fact !

  • Leonard Swidler

    I am not aware of there being any “house arrest.” What government is alleged to have arrested him? Surely no American government – and how could a foreign government arrest him in Pennsylvania?
    The first group of followers of the Gulen Movement I met – in Philadelphia about four years ago – consisted of ten young persons. Three were men, seven women, all of whom either had graduate degrees or were in grad school.
    Len Swidler

  • tulip

    Mr Gulen has devoted his life to peace, humanity and inter-cultural / inter-religious dialogue. He has inspired millions to found schools and universities to fight against illiteracy and poverty. There are tens of thousands of schools that have been built in all over the world by his followers.

    He has never jailed except a couple days during the military coup period in 1980s in Turkey. He has never sentenced to any punishment and has never found guilty. What ‘ohohmrbill’ says is totally a lie. This can be easily figured out by a quick search on the web… That doesn’t mean that everybody in Turkey loves him. There is a ferocious minority in Turkey and they never tried to understand him and his movement. They always behaved in a hatred way against him.

    Mr Gulen and his followers are walking on their ways for more than 40 years. Nobody saw a malice behavior coming from them. Some still doubts that he might change the democratic (?) regime in Turkey. What a paranoia!.. It has been fourty years; why is he not taking any action to make this happen? He has tens of books and hundreds of speaches; why doesn’t any of them mention about such a thing? He has preached for democracy, humanism, dialogue, love and tolerance for his life. Why do you think that his followers will still be around him if he starts to say something different, like changing the regime in Turkey?…

    There will be always some shortsighted people who try to blame on any beatiful things that are happening in the world. Nothing else to say…

  • ebubekir

    i respect your opinion but u mentioned about writing ‘fluff pieces’. i found some in your message:
    1) u said he is “Exhiled” and this is comlete false claims. i live in turkey and just a year ago appeal of innocence has been approved in the competent court in turkey called ”anayasa mahkemesi”. and there is no legal prohibition to come back turkey.u can check it.
    2) ”now lives under house arrest in Pennsylvania” that is easier to check for u. altough there has been a case on him he is not under arrest or something.
    if u care about strait facts u cant be satisfied by just rumurs.because there is so much…

  • Halil Koc

    I’d object the comment that ohohmrbill made. It’s a very well known truth that Mr Gulen has not been exiled. He had the come to US under those circumstances to see a treatment. I’d like to also remind you all that the court had already declared that Mr Gulen hasn’t committed any illegal action which disproves ohohmrbill’s argument explicitly. On the other hand, there are a few people of course who really don’t like Mr Gulen because of his religious identity. I assume that ohohmrbill is one those people. Everyone knows that he was sued based on some groundless lies. Furthermore, anyone who knows Gulen would say that he’s more democratic and liberal than those who don’t like him on the behalf of secularism.

  • MehGen

    @ohohmrbill … Mr.Gulen has never been jailed, nor exhiled.. and he is not under house arrest.. he voluntarily exhiles himself in order to save his lovely country against your kind of agents.. In fact, there’s formally and technically no reason to keep him away from Turkey..

  • Burhan

    He is not currently under house arrest and all cases against him have already been dismissed. He has been jailed numerous times during trials but he was never found guilty of any crime. This only goes to show all the oppression he had to go trough.
    Maybe you should get your facts straight instead of “strait”.

  • Goose Hunter

    Why my messages aren’t being approved? PBS, it’s not like I am writing lies … whose messages by the way you have delightfully approved. You approve his messages and not mine? Well.. I guess you just might as well, ignore this message too. so much of a freedom of speech from PBS.

  • nerdesin

    Question to Carolyn

    “tacqiyya taught to Muslims from the cradle” ???

    What a big lie!
    Being honest and trustworthy are the most important characteristics for Muslims.
    How do you know tacqiyya is taught to muslims from the cradle?
    Once again, most of the accusations to Gulen are based on either misinformation, prejudice or ideological hatred.

  • FGulen.ORG

    I’m not going to try to explain why every single one of the negative comments above are just big LIEs, because I know that an American doesn’t need my help to find out what’s right and what’s wrong when we talk about peace and freedom. I’ll just try to help my American friends to ask the right questions to themselves. Here are the first questions one should ask himself/herself when trying to understand Mr. Gulen:

    1) What are the thoughts of Mr. Gulen about Islam & Terror? What does he think about the terrible events happened on 9/11?
    2) What does Mr. Gulen think about PEACE? Is he just another radical Islamist who tries to convert Islam to a religion of horror or terrorism or does he try to explain the REAL ISLAM which is only about PEACE? It is a fact that, both Muslims and non-Muslims need scholars explaining Islam. Should these scholars be similar to Mr. Gulen or should they be like the ones who organized or supported terror events like 9/11? Who should be supported and who should be rejected? All of us know what happens when radical Islamists start to speak. All of us need the scholars who explain the correct Islam.
    3) What do the security and intelligence agencies in the U.S. think about Mr. Gulen and the Gulen Movement? Mr. Gulen has been in the U.S. for more than 10 years and he has always been visible both in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. How can he still live in peace in the U.S. without any problems with the state?
    4) Does he really have any convictions in Turkey? Is he just a fugitive or living in exile? It is a widely-known fact that Turkey and the U.S. have had very strong relationships for a long time? Then, why doesn’t the U.S. just deport him and have him arrested in Turkey?

    My dear American friends, please just spend some time to read the books/articles written by Mr. Gulen before making a decision about him. You’ll see that you need to support him for peace, regardless of your religion. Don’t let the attackers to stop the Gulen Movement, which can also be called as the Peace Movement.

    You don’t have to believe me, just go and search the truth yourself.. Start with visiting http://www.fgulen.org, which is the official web-site of Fethullah Gulen.

  • jay

    As a parent of Harmony schools I have only good things to say about the people who are inspired by Mr Gulen. The teachers are all wonderful people, caring and very respectful. I have never doubted their sincerity.

    My kids learn great things along with living examples of good how to become a good citizen and contributor. If only we had more of these schools we would have more peace in America.

    Look at us we have crazy ‘educated’ people shooting their senators or school mates in high scools or universities or bombing federal buildings or killing each other for drugs etc…. America is in need of this men and his ideals. At least he is doing some good… For those who speak nothing but hatred what are you doing to help America besides spreading hatred and cause division?

  • Charter School Graduate

    As a gradute of one of the “Gulen inspired” charter schools, I can offer insight about the quality of the teachers and schools. First of all, charter schools are schools of choice. A charter school environment might not be for every child, but it does offer a great experience for children who are looking for their niche. These schools offer more than the status quo public school education. These create a culture that engages parents, students and teachers in the education of students. It is a triad of support for students who left on their own may not have access to much support. The home visits, clubs, trips, and camps that opponents of the schools like to use to imply some dirty and innappropriate behaviors are going on actually help to engage stundent, parents, and teachers in the students’ education. It deepens everyone’s committment to the school, creates a sense of school culture, expands on what students are learning in the classroom and creates a bond between students, parents, and teachers that has been absent in our society for some time. The school is not only there to educate but to recreate the “community” that is missing from so many people’s lives today. That sense of community is the fundamental building block for creating a society of well educated, well intentioned, committed citizens who hopefully will lead a PEACEFUL society of people of all nations and creeds.

    If the educators that are inspired to open such dynamic institutions of education have been influenced by Gulen, then Gulen deserves the positive attention. His “mission” should be shared with people. If people are opposed to a “mission” that tries to created educated, socially adjusted, peace promoting global citizens then they may send their students to a puplic, private, or any other charter school.

    Kudos to Mr. Gulen for inspiring people to offer perspectives and open doors to things that many young people may have otherwise never experienced. I at least would like to personally thank him.

  • Dr. Sacha Goldberg

    This comment board provides perhaps one of the best public records to date of the manipulation, deceit, arrogance and condescension of the members of the Gulen Movement.

    In particular, notice:
    - the endless repetition of two or three basic talking points;
    - the way the discussion is inevitably hijacked and steered back to these points, often illogically;
    - the incessant twisting and manipulation of what others say;
    - the deflection away from the current topic whenever an inconsistency in their argument is exposed;
    - the recurring theme that only Gulen and his movement provide the solutions to our problems;
    - the lack of any acknowledgement that there are valid alternative perspectives;
    - the recurring theme that any opposition to the Gulen Movement constitutes hate, and that only through acceptance of the Gulen Movement can one find love and peace.

    These points are virtually identical to the tactics used by all aggressively proselytizing religious groups to gain converts. This is nothing unique to any Muslim group; Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, etc. use the same general scheme.

    Normal, rational people can never “win” an argument with these proselytizers, because logical, thoughtful and respectful discussion is not something that these people engage in. They are highly trained in how to endlessly argue, cajole and manipulate, and their skills at this exceed those of normal people simply because normal people have a very different agenda.

    Those academicians, journalists and other influential people who, to date, have supported the Gulen Movement should in particular take careful note of the Gulenist comments here. If they choose to continue their support, they will have to consider that while, to date, it has mostly been under the public’s radar, it will not continue that way. As some of these individuals intertwine their careers ever more deeply with the Gulen Movement, they might want to think carefully about exactly what it is they are getting entangled with. Some may still choose to exploit the “Interfaith Dialog Industry,” getting all the free Turkey trips, Gulenist awards, conference invitations and honoraria while the getting is still good. But those who are hoping for a more permanent legacy might wish to pay more attention to the likely outcome, as the tactics used by Gulen Movement members are coming more and more into the public eye.

  • Kevin

    Thank you PBS. I didn’t know Fethullah Gulen before. After this program, I have searched “Fethullah Gulen” name on internet and I got tons of knowledge. Now I can say that he is doing wonderful job and I think this world needs him and his ideas. Thanks again!

  • Ergenekon

    Yes, we would love to have our Imem Mouhamad Fethulla Gulen back home with us. We really look forward to his return.

  • Laura Erickson

    This PBS documentary was very one-sided and biased, they would have done better if they would have talked to the many critics of Gulen including people in Turkey that do not like or trust the Gulen Movement. Thus, the REAL reason for Mr. Gulen for not returning to his country that he so loves and misses.
    For all the posters on here that are using American names or pretend to be “other” religions, it is very low that you have to lie or pretend for Hizmet. If you are ashamed of your leader and have to pretend with these amusing posts you are only kidding yourself.
    The Gulen Movement cares about 1 thing, that is expansion for their schools and the movement. They don’t give a flying flip about our children or our country. If Hizmet cared they would be correcting the many civil issues and educational shortfalls that are common place in Turkey.

  • John Carson

    Yes, do your research and you can start with reading Sibel Edmonds (Ex-FBI Turkish Translator who describes Gulen as “100% threat to American security, then you can read the new book from former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes, and also the book from former police chief Hanefi Avci, and you shall listen what former Gulenist Nurettin Veren says….
    You will find out, Gulen is nothing more than a fifth grade Kurdish imam, who thinks and teaches to his followers that slavery, polygamy and pedophile and discriminating women is normal. He and his followers will not succeed to transform Turkey into an Islamic state. Don´t let him to poison your kids.

  • Jesse Parker

    From USA Today Article : “Turkish Ties to Charter Schools Come Under Question”
    In Texas, the Cosmos Foundation has filed 1,157 H1-B applications since 2001. It operates 25 Harmony schools statewide. Since 2001, Harmony has imported 731 employees using H-1Bs, surpassing all other secondary education providers nationwide. Parents last year also accused one Harmony school of “pushing out” underperforming students — a charge the Texas Education Agency confirmed.
    Ed Fuller, a University of Texas-Austin researcher, found that Harmony schools throughout Texas had an “extraordinarily high” student attrition rate of about 50% for students in grades six through eight.
    Crossing the line?

    Gulen Movement we are still waiting for transparency and accountability. Until then, there will always be questions. How about comming clean as Dr. Joshua Hendricks suggested?

  • John Malik

    Before you judge Mr. Gulen, you had better to read his books to understand his philosophy.

  • Salahadin

    @ Laura Erickson

    “hey don’t give a flying flip about our children or our country. ”

    Ask your government how much they DO for your CHILDREN? They blow all your taxes in military systems instead of helping your CHILDREN and your PEOPLE. Think about that…

  • David Crane

    Finally someone finally admits that these charter schools are Gulen Schools!!!

  • Been done before

    What if investigators discovered a large network of charter schools scattered across America at which Scientologists consistently comprised 99% of the founders, board members, administrators, business managers, as well as 50% of the teachers (including 100% of the character education teachers)?

    What if the leaders of these schools denied their connection to Scientology and would only say that some of the staff “might” know about L. Ron Hubbard, but that is because most people have heard of him? And what if the leaders of the schools became upset when their schools were called “Scientology schools,” but would be willing to admit that indeed the schools were “L. Ron Hubbard-inspired”?

    Insert Mormon and Joseph Smith, or Unification Church/Moonies and Reverend Sun Myung Moon instead, or any other church and prophet that you would like.

    Would supporting admitted “Joseph Smith-inspired” charter schools be okay with taxpayers?

    What about supporting 122 “Sun Myung Moon-inspired” charter schools that had been established under the radar of Americans, where kids were taught Korean, encouraged to particpate in Moonie organization-sponsored Korean language competitions, and taken on a Moonie-guided trips to South Korea?

    What if in order to deceive charter school authorizers, these types of connections and activities were intentionally not included, or were disclosed in a very duplicitous way, in the charter school applications? What if these connections never appeared on websites and were never disclosed to prospective parents?

    Would such activity on the part of the charter school operators produce any public outrage?

  • Martyn

    Thanks for the nice piece Severson. Being for humanity and being useful for humanity is the key concept of these schools around the world in over 100 countries. Where not many people have even dared to step in because of the ongoing conflicts, the schools were already present in Zamboanga, Afghanistan (The schools were kicked out by the Taliban later reestablished), Bosnia and Northern Iraq.

  • Laura Erickson

    It is very important to learn of what others believe about the Gulen Movement. At the Kurdish Aspect dot com- there is some insights from a Kurdish perspective. And to the poster above, my country is the greatest country on earth and they do their utmost for our children and education. Such as why America is still ranked above average and Turkey’s education is ranked below average out of 34 countries.
    Excerpt from Kurdish Aspect:
    In his home country Gülen and his followers had very different experiences than

    in America. There the people initially reacted very harshly to his followers and

    his teaching. Gülen’s conversions were slow and limited to certain people, and

    even then the movement were under scrutiny. Before the 1997’s alleged coup plot, the military made a series of attempts to close Gülen‘s schools and topple other Islamic activities. The military also kicked out more than 250 of Gulen’s

    followers who had infiltrated the high ranks of the military. In 1999, after an

    incident involving the confiscation of his sermon tapes in which Gülen spoke of

    changing the secular government, Gülen left Turkey and emigrated for alleged

    health reason to the US to continue his mission activities there and to increase

    his power base. Now having opened schools in each of the fifty states, business

    companies, cadres of followers in universities, the Ebru TV station, the Zaman

    Today newspaper, the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA-a USA political action

    committee established to shape the American view of Turkey through public

    education), the Turkish PAC, the Turkish Coalition New Jersey Political Action Committee (TC- NJ PAC), and the Turkish Coalition California Pac(TC- CAL PAC), he has moved from having a toehold to a stranglehold in America. Even a preliminary glimpse at the TCA website would confirm the agenda of this concerted Turkish Islamic movement to assert control over the American political process.

  • Richard James

    One of the strangest twists to the story about how the Gulenists are all about helping humanity (NOT!) is the one about Muhammed Cetin, a very high-ranking Gulenist who once held a position as a Ministerial Advisor in Turkmenistan under the ruthless dictator Saparmurat Niyazov.

    One of Cetin’s roles was to translate a bizarre book that Niyazov had written (the “Ruhnama”). In 2003 the NY Times published a story about Niyazov entitled, “When a Kleptocratic, Megalomanûacal Dictator Goes Bad.” In 2004, 60 Minutes did a segment on Niyazov called “Turkmenbashi Everywhere: If You Think Saddam Was Fond Of Himself, Visit Turkmenistan”

    Visit YouTube and search for ‘shadowoftheholybook’ to watch a trailer of the documentary “Shadow of the Holy Book,” a documentary about Niyazov’s craziness.

    The weirdest thing is that Cetin includes his role under Niyazov in the bios for his appearances at Gulenist events, probably counting on the fact that the title “Ministerial Advisor” trumps any of the attendees’ knowledge of Turkmenistani history.

    Cetin has served as the president of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog, the same organization that Alp Aslandogan represents in the article above. Cetin is also listed as a faculty member at East Strousdburg University in PA, conveniently only 11.4 miles from where Gulen holes himself up at the Golden Generation Worship & Retreat Center in Saylorsburg.

    Yup, the weirdness starts at the very top.

    Very, very few Americans know anything about Gulen or his movement because the movement likes to operate so secretively. As a result, for years U.S. taxpayers have been supporting the cult/movement’s establishment into our society by funding the Gulen charter schools.

    I say take away their public funding and let the parents who love them so much pay tuition.

  • Marcus DiFilippio

    This comment board provides perhaps one of the best public records to date of the manipulation, deceit, arrogance and condescension of the members of the Gulen Movement.

    In particular, notice:
    - the endless repetition of two or three basic talking points;
    - the way the discussion is inevitably hijacked and steered back to these points, often illogically;
    - the incessant twisting and manipulation of what others say;
    - the deflection away from the current topic whenever an inconsistency in their argument is exposed;
    - the recurring theme that only Gulen and his movement provide the solutions to our problems;
    - the lack of any acknowledgement that there are valid alternative perspectives;
    - the recurring theme that any opposition to the Gulen Movement constitutes hate, and that only through acceptance of the Gulen Movement can one find love and peace.

    These points are virtually identical to the tactics used by all aggressively proselytizing religious groups to gain converts. This is nothing unique to any Muslim group; Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, etc. use the same general scheme.

    Normal, rational people can never “win” an argument with these proselytizers, because logical, thoughtful and respectful discussion is not something that these people engage in. They are highly trained in how to endlessly argue, cajole and manipulate, and their skills at this exceed those of normal people simply because normal people have a very different agenda.

    Those academicians, journalists and other influential people who, to date, have supported the Gulen Movement should in particular take careful note of the Gulenist comments here. If they choose to continue their support, they will have to consider that while, to date, it has mostly been under the public’s radar, it will not continue that way. As some of these individuals intertwine their careers ever more deeply with the Gulen Movement, they might want to think carefully about exactly what it is they are getting entangled with. Some may still choose to exploit the “Interfaith Dialog Industry,” getting all the free Turkey trips, Gulenist awards, conference invitations and honoraria while the getting is still good. But those who are hoping for a more permanent legacy might wish to pay more attention to the likely outcome, as the tactics used by Gulen Movement members are coming more and more into the public eye.
    America grows tired of the excuses of “peace and harmony” – the goal of these schools is to teach everything Turkish and that the Turkish language is the language of peace and love. The Turkish character classes are more of your group pushing your ideologies off on American children. This may have worked 4-10 years ago but as people find out who Gulen is and how controversial he is in his own country – articles like this are telling the plain truth.

  • Debbie Franzler

    yes charter schools are a school of choice, they are taxpayer supported yet privately managed.
    we as parents can only make informed decisions when we have the truth upfront about the school’s management and it’s affiliations to the Gulen Movement.
    although this article and documentary were admissions of what many of us knew, that these schools are without a doubt part of the Gulen Movement and it’s worldwide goal of expansion and more schools until 50% of the world’s children are exposed to Turkification. at some point these schools will be held accountabily and money tied into school bond financing will freeze up until there is transparency BEFORE the school opens at the time of the charter school application is filled out. not after the fact, then dismissed off as Gulen is good for everyone. let me and my family decide what is right or good for us, not a group of people operating charter schools on the sly.

  • Kenneth Cruz

    During the 1971 military junta when Fethullah Giilen was an employee for the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), he spent seven months in prison for allegations that he was the leader of a secret religious community. He was released but was temporarily barred from public speaking. In the 1980 military coup, Gulen was again detained and questioned before being released. In 1999, Gulen faced more serious charges that he was the leader of a clandestine organization that directly threatened the integrity of the Turkish state. The primary evidence in the case was a video excerpt leaked to the press. His famous “get into the arteries of the system” speech. Gulen fled the country and has never gone back in over 11 years, and does live in seclusion for a reason and it isn’t health reasons. if you believe Gulen’s story, then I have beach front property in Florida to sell you for $1.00 an acre

  • Carla Fratelli

    did you ever do research on was Gulen‘s view on the Vatican? Did they ever let you listen to one of his speech accusing the Vatican of being the mother of all evil and scum responsible for bloodshed around the world? Gulenist are only wearing the clothes of democracy, tolerance, justice, and equality for the sake of getting total power around the world. In Turkey they have already toppled the secular government in the media and the military in the judiciary, and now their dream is global power. Those who do not see this are living in a fantasy

  • Ozgur Pamuk

    If Islamic Imam Fethos Gulen is so worried about our schools back in Turkiye, why isn’t he and his beloved AKP party working to put more money into the schools in his homeland rather than 1,000+ schools throughout the world; Central Asia, Europe, Africa, SE Asia, America, etc.,

    This week 14 school principals in the Diyarbakir region of Turkey resigned because they had no money to further keep the schools open. If Gulen (who only has a 5th grade education) is so concerned about the education in the world he needs to start with the schools in Turkiye, THEN maybe he could set some kind of example.
    http://kamilpasha.com/?p=4173

  • Gulen Not In Hawaii
  • RRF1966

    Mr. Severson, no, Gulen’s critics do NOT all agree that Gulen is leading one of the most important movements in Islam today.

    Gulen’s teachings have not taken root outside Turkey, despite being translated into Urdu, Indonesian, Arabic, etc, and thus being entirely accessible to the majority of the world’s Muslims. The Gulen Movement is not inclusive, and will always have limited appeal for this reason. It promotes a Turkocentric brand of Islam that Muslims of most other cultures are understandably not prepared to accept. Even among the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, who would seem to have the most natural affinity for the Gulenists, there has been resentment of Turkey’s “Big Brother” attitude.

    Most significantly, Gulenists assiduously avoid acknowledging the contributions of anyone outside their movement, and in fact seek to undermine any rivals. This can be seen even here in the US, in their refusal to recognize any excelling schools other than their own, and in their constant trashing of US schools and society in their attempt to offer themselves as a unique solution. No group that operates this way can ever have broad appeal.

    Listening to the Gulenists and their sympathizers, you easily get the impression that there are no other Muslim leaders or groups speaking for non-violence and education. This is simply false. Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Shaykh Nazim (Nazim Al-Haqqani) and others have been quite vocal in publicly denouncing terrorism. Yet instead of engaging and partnering with these other leaders, Gulen’s followers seek to make it appear that they don’t exist. They don’t want any competition for market share in the highly lucrative “moderate Muslim” industry.

    Thus we are offered a false dichotomy: Gulen or radical Islam, as if the entire Muslim world of over one billion people could be reduced to just these two categories. Gulenist media outlets and press releases relentlessly push the idea that every day, all over Asia, young men and women who were on the verge of becoming violent radicals are now pursuing the rigorous study of math, physics and chemistry at their local Gulen school. The reality is that the Gulen schools in Asia and Africa are elitist. They charge steep tuition (they are run for profit, not “for humanity”) and cater to the upper echelons of society: ambitious families that will pay dearly to prepare their children for entrance into universities, hardly the demographic expected to breed terrorism. Gulenists themselves admit that they have to select for elite students to make their schools successful (see “The Educational Theory of Fethullah Gulen and its Practice in South Africa,” by Yasien Mohamed, available on Gulen’s own website.)

    Consider the following statement that someone posted above: “Gulen has all the tools for the peace and understanding that our world needs.” So let’s start with the number one problem the U.S. faces in the Muslim world – the Middle East conflict. What is Gulen’s “tool” for Mideast peace? Does he have any clout or influence on either side? Is he making any attempt to broker a peace by participating in negotiations? The answer is no. It is easy to sit at home in Pennsylvania and write about “peace” and “interfaith dialog” but it is all theoretical and accomplishes nothing.

    Indeed, Fethullah Gulen’s words about peace, dialog and tolerance were never aimed at anyone in the Middle East, or in any other conflict zone. They were written to win us over, and they have succeeded by opening the door into our public education system, where Gulen and his followers are now raking in American money.

    It is profoundly disappointing that PBS would adopt such a simplistic and poorly researched perspective on Islam.

  • WhateverFabricatedName

    Gulen’s websites and followers constantly push the fact that Gulen met with Pope John Paul II, and certainly mentioned it to Mr. Severson who kindly parroted it for them, without questioning the meaning of it at all.

    Such a meeting is not earth shattering, as a large number of people get the opportunity to meet popes at the Vatican, including boxing promoter Don King.

  • Carla Fratelli

    Meeting the former pope John Paul II as Whateverfabricatedname says was part of the interfaith appeal the Gulen Movement use to slip their foot in the door in countries, communities throughout the world. Gulen himself has said many vile things about the Vatican.
    His meeting with our former Pope was a 1 time meeting on the late pontiff’s birthday. It was about 16 years ago, Gulen arrived in a business suit (without his Imam prayer robes) with a gift for the Pontiff’s birthday. Many of you might remember it was a Turkish nationalist that previously had attempted to assainate the Pope John Paul II. Yet the Gulen Movement still parades this photo around like they were old buddies and it was yesterday.
    The current Pope Benedict has been to Turkey, and is quite vocal on the treatment of the Christian population in Turkey and the sad destruction of St. Hagia Sophia church converted into a Mosque (today a museum). The killings of a priest, a Christian journalist and 3 missionaries at a bible publishing house are just some of the more recent abuses of Turkey’s minority but indigenous peoples like the pontius Greeks, Aremenians, Alevis, Kurds and more. Pope Benedict was even quoted on Wikilinks about his opposition for Turkey’s acceptance into the European Union which has been turned down 2 times before.
    Gulen Movement is nothing more than a misguided group of people following a man that hides behind his $25 billion empire and never leaves his 20 acre compound, even to accept one of these honors or awards that his group is constantly buying, or manipulating for him. The Gulen Movement is merely the Public Relations arm of the AKP pro-Islamic Party of Turkey. As the poster above states, they will fail because their message doesn’t come from a place of sincerity nor does the message of the Gulen Movement promote other cultures or Islam. It is center to Turkification and all things Turkish, such as why they are teaching children Turkish in these “schools” and promoting the Turkish Olympiads in the USA and in Turkey. This was the mentality of the Ottoman Empire to create a “1 religion, 1 people universally” other ethnic groups or religions were demons or unimportant. As all Empires or Cults end and many end on a bad note.

  • Kadir for globalisation

    If education is very crucial in our modern, industrialised and scienstific world what concern do we have about the chain of schools opening and supporting by people inspired with a man who is very old in his seventies and has many health problems?
    his religion?
    his nationality?
    his thoughts?
    What do we do to learn about them? I mention real knowledge.
    Mr. Obama an ideal symbol for Americans accepting and supporting differences.
    We are getting becaming familiar and similar as humanbeings in this globalized world with increasing communication and transportation means because that we have more commonalities than differences.
    There are many American, Christian or other National, Religious schools all around the world, even in Turkey.
    People can have different thoughts and we can only judge them by their results not allegedly or supposedly accusations.
    This is just a short presentation of the ideas of Gulen and some results of these efforts and with this starting point we can find more detailed and comparable information on it.
    We as humanbeings have one world to sustain in our life and leave to next generations and have to learn live together in a peacful and respectful manner instead of hatring or killing each other for different selfish reasons.

    Lets know each other and be sure then love comes.

  • Mr G. Khan

    As someone who has worked in one of these Gulen “Educational” facilities abroad, I have to admit that I have never worked in such a disorganized place. The place was staffed by people that would NEVER be able to get a job in a non-gulen school. Most had PHD’s from other Gulen Universities abroad. The female teachers were also paid less than the males doing the same job.

    Education was a low priority, much more important was organizing publicity opportunities, social events and inane awards ceremonies. They were unable to “win my heart or mind” and I left as soon as I could.

    Creationists have no right to promote themselves as educators of math and science.

  • Ergen Kon

    At least the Gulen Movement is now admitting these charter schools are under the management of their followers working in tandem with Gulen NGOs such as Raindrop Turkish House, Turquoise Council, Gulen Institute and many more.
    Congratulations to Hizmet, a step forward in accountability and transparency.
    but the 21,000 waiting list? highly unlikely since these schools barely have a student enrollment of 16,000
    and Mr. Tarim mentioned the waiting list was 9,000- 14,000 in print at the 2009 December board minutes. This is just a drive to get more schools built.

  • emre

    This is not so much a profile as it is an advertisement. The transcript does not mention the fact that numerous intelligence bigwigs vouched for him on appeal when his immigration application as a scholar was rightfully denied. How many scholars have a primary school education, and no output one would recognize as scholarly? Why is he a scholar, then? Because his followers say so! Welcome to the Twilight Zone…

  • DoNotBeliveThoseBackbitterCommenters

    Come on, people ! If I say “He has 25 daughters and 9 sons” in my comment …Are you going to believe me without making any research about it ????? Not a research from that biased people’s cheap websites. A real research from USA’s or Turkey’s governmental documents, maybe. Or , like me, you can watch PBS where from we learn our history and a lot of good stuff.
    Be smart get the facts not biased opinions.
    Cheers! I am 17 today

  • RRF1966

    Gulenists tell us to listen to PBS and read the Texas Tribune and Texas Monthly. These are reliable sources for information on the Gulen Movement and the Harmony charter schools, they say.

    But, Gulenists don’t recommend The New Republic, USA Today, Foreign Policy, Deseret News, Tucson Weekly, and Arizona Daily Star, all of which have published articles raising serious concerns about the Gulen Movement or its charter schools.

    One commenter above suggested US government documents for researching Gulen. This is a good idea, and a great place to start would be the Congressional Research Service’s report “Turkey: Politics of Identity and Power” by Carol Migdalovitz, from August 2010. Especially the line about how Zaman newspaper “columnists harshly criticize and even threaten those who…shine a contrarian light on the movement.” (Zaman is of course run by the Gulen Movement.)

    This line speaks volumes about the current Gulenist smear campaign against Prof. Ed Fuller that is taking place on the internet. This attempt at character assassination aimed at a researcher who investigated the Gulen schools shows that the Gulen Movement is trying to intimidate everyone with the following message: don’t say anything critical of our schools in public, or we will do this to you too. Such attacks have no place in the realm of public education, where freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry should be respected. It is unfathomable that PBS and the Texas Senate were praising Gulen at the same time that his followers were conducting this smear campaign.

  • Dr. Kaz

    DoNotBelievethoseBackbitterCommenters……..please point out the documents and verifiable information. If we are wrong, please cite the proper documentation (besides those written by the spinmasters at Gulen’s media)

    about Gulen’s education in Gulen vs. Homeland Security, APPEAL court case docket it is VERY clear that Fethos only has a limited formal education and in fact..doesn’t even speak English. This is not debateable it is fact, as is the Green Card being DENIED as Gulen had no extraordinary talents or teaching abilities. Later members of the CIA (Graham Fuller et al) sent letters vouching for Gulen as Gulen feared returning to his native Turkey.
    If America denied Gulen’s APPEAL, Gulen was slated to live in China as his next option.
    Yes, Gulen has been arrested in Turkey in 1979 for 7 months in prison, and detained 2 times after that. This information is in Dr. Joshua Hendrick’s dissertation about Gulen. Dr. Hendricks lived in Turkey and researched Gulen as a doctoral student he was invited by the Raindrop Turkish House to deliver his paper at a Gulen Conference and was paid an honorium plus his expenses.

    Last month Dr. Hendricks returned to Rice University in a talk about Gulen sponsored by the Baker Institute, Mr. Aslandogan from the Turquoise Council who is mentioned in this PBS Documentary had a discussion with Dr. Hendricks in which Dr. Hendricks compelled the Gulen Movement to “come clean” about their obvious associations with the 122 Charter schools in the USA. Evidently this piece is the Gulen Movement’s attempt at honesty. It is difficult as Gulen’s Pearls of Wisdom teaches to guard your secrets and about secrecy.

    Everything that we have cited here is verifiable by documentation that is readily available and transparent. It is not pulled off of Gulen’s web sites where he spoon feeds his followers and naive onlookers his glazed version of “peace and harmony” so long as the Gulen movement is controlling and manipulating it.

    Lastly this same “vision” and schools, are controversial worldwide. The Hizmet is teaching the SAME agenda and curriculum in the Netherlands, Mexico, Iraq, Central Asia, etc., the Gulen schools are clones of one another. The Turkish flag, teaching Turkish this and that, Turkish Olympiad’s, singing the Turkish language so that it becomes a dominate worldwide language (hardly it is barely 22 on worldwide ranking of critical needs languages). the audicity and arrogance of everything Turkish is good, pure and peaceful……..while those that are not Turkish or not the Turkish brand of Islam are not.

    Stop with the lying and try some more accountability and transparency, your movement might make it another 5 years. Otherwise the government money will dry up, we grow tired of paying for your movement, h1-b visas, turkish olympiads and trips. Stop the arrogance.

  • Sammy Smith

    Presuming someone from PBS has read the comments here, I would very much like to see PBS or Mr. Severson do a follow up to this piece about the controversies and negative aspects of the Gulen movement now that they have learned more. This topic would be perfect for a Frontline documentary.

  • KazFriend

    The GM has gotten away with all of this for about 10 years, but those days are drawing to an end. Only a blind person couldn’t see all the close links. Only someone unable to read, or who is in the deepest state of denial, couldn’t grasp the fact that what is going on is much, much more than what the Gulenists claim it to be.

    The truth is that a foreign, cult-like entity has figured out a way (charter schools) to bring over hundreds of its members with H1B visas in order to influence young Americans’ minds in ways other than math and science.

    Since the Gulen movement operates in manipulation, deception and stealth, very few Americans are aware that it even exists. Everyone should read Fethullah Gulen’s very telling “Keeping Secrets” about which Dr. Kaz refers. Gulen instructs his followers as such and more: “Explain what you must, but never give away all of your secrets. Those who freely publicize the secrets of their hearts drag themselves and their nation toward an inevitable downfall.” What kind of religious teaching is that?!

    http://www.fethullahgulen.org/pearls-of-wisdom/639-keeping-secrets.html

  • americanharmonyteacher

    While I don’t profess to know one way of the other how paychecks (other than my own) are spent, I do know what kind of teaching is done and not done.

    I teach from TEA mandated curriculum (C-SCOPE….which I despise, but it’s what Texas wants).

    I have never been asked to teach anything related to religion, Muslim or Christian.

    I have never even heard Gulen’s name mentioned by any Turkish teacher at my school.

    If your concern with Harmony schools is that you are unsure, or believe that monies are going to un-American things, then by all means, collect appropriate data and fight for your beliefs.

    But, please don’t assume that our schools are teaching his ways, directly or indirectly. If you think that a 4th grader is somehow swayed to the Muslim persuasion via a fun dance (all they see it as), then you are taking things a bit far.

    I would like to address the graduation rate issues. A charter school is not going to be for everyone’s taste, and some may choose to withdraw to go back to their old school. Just like any other school, some kids choose to not follow the rules and are expelled. Some even move to other towns! (gasp!) The example stated that 47 were enrolled as freshman, and only 31 remained as seniors. I believe that when we claim 100% graduation rate, it means that no one has dropped out from our school. I know that my personal school makes phone calls when we haven’t received a request for transcripts so that we can get that student’s information to the next school. And we haven’t had a case where the student isn’t enrolled at another school. Might there be a student who once attended our school, transferred, and 2 years later, dropped out? Sure, but how would we know?

    Also, by that logic, if we’re counting students who withdraw/move from the school, then we cannot count those numbers of students who move/transfer in because they are still associated with the school they originally left. That’s flawed.

    To conclude, I do not know how I feel about Gulen, nor any other noted Muslim. I do know that I am a Christian, and a teacher, and as such I intend on teaching my students to the best of my ability, all the while, being influenced personally by Jesus’ teachings of peace and acceptance. Does that make my class a Christian class? Am I forcing my beliefs on children in my room? Never. I know the role of a teacher in a child’s education in a public school and it doesn’t include religion.

    Please think before you make accusations without judgment that affect many of us.

  • American Teacher

    To American Harmony Teacher poster;
    If you don’t know anything about Gulen why have your co-workers from the Harmony School of Innovation contributed to this article about Gulen?

    Additionally, the Harmony Science Academy’s, Harmony Schools have a huge drop out rate.
    Your argumentation is the typical dribble from Hizmet and so predictable, shamelessly acting like American parents or teachers. Your graduating class is low, this was discussed in the USA Today Article and is public information from the TEA.

    The Gulen Schools are not about education, it is a bigger agenda a world wide scale of domination. In the USA it is about spreading Turkish Culturalism, (Turkification) and utilizing as much American Tax money as possible to achieve the goals of Turkish Lobbying in the USA and businesses.

    Harmony Schools are nothing unique, this is the SAME model in every country that the Gulenists have spread to, and the SAME story. “Turkish business men and students see a need for schools” then the promoting of interfaith dialog to rope in local academia, polticians, religious leaders and before you know it they have schools established with a whole host of businesses that supply to the schools. For instance in Texas, the EGE construction, Atlas Construction and Rainbow Construction (All Turkish own businesses) have a no-bid contract for the schools and recieves millions in tax money.

    Lastly, these schools do not perform or have a waiting list as their media hype claims. What the Cosmos Foundation spends on non-educational expenses such as advertising, marketing and public relations should be audited.
    Check out this web site for more information about mis spent American tax money.

  • Humble Opinion

    Whether we want or not one third of the world is muslims and Islam is a religion that needs to be reckonned. In current multicultural world one cannot ignore the presence of islam in any country. If Islam is coming into western life one way or another why not through science and education. I think there is a great benefit for western world to support secular and modern islam because counter weight to these ideas is radicalism, which we have plenty all over the world. I would rather see muslims building schools and universities than mosques.

  • American Teacher

    Dear Humble Opinion:

    That is a great story coming straight out fo the playbook for every Gulen “inspired” school on the planet earth, when they start being audited.
    First of all, these are PUBLIC schools, if you want to spread your Turkocentric curriculum open a PRIVATE school one that is free of American Tax money and scrutiny.
    Secondly, Why are you bringing up Islam? This isn’t about islam it is about deceit, lying, bribing local polticians, manipulation, sending Texas lawmakers on trips to Turkey, campaign contributions by Hizmet members and threats/intimidation.
    Lastly, this group is under investigation for their H1-b Visa excesses, they are contributing to American unemployment by immigrating in: ESL Teacher, PE Teachers, and NOW this Group (Cosmos Foundation, et al) is bringing their own Financial Anaylsts, Legal Manager and Business Managers, etc., The only other group that keeps it in the “family” is the Mafia.

    Religion and Religious groups need to stay out of our public education. Especially those that are not even American citizens, handling American funds? PLEEZEEEE who turned their heads on that one?

  • Camer Mom

    He touches the Pope with his left hand first!!
    He’s a liar and will serve his life sentence if he is returned to Turkey.

  • Jim Harrington (Texas Civil Rights Project)

    Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey: The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gülen

    By Jim Harrington

    $29.99 Paper
    ISBN 0-7618-5461-4/ 978-0-7618-5461-6
    Visit http://www.gulenlegaljourney.org

    ”Harrington tells a story that illuminates two of the most important issues of our time. The way he tells the story and the sources on which he has relied represent the best kind of historical research and analysis. Jim Harrington is one of my heroes for he has spent more than four decades in the struggle for human rights.
    In this book, we see the struggle among secular and religious elements in Turkey…. Harrington has done us a service, for by seeing and understanding what has been going on in Turkey, we can draw lessons about the policies of our own government at home and abroad. Harrington’s method of research and analysis is particularly valuable in this respect.
    Trials can, and fair trials will, give voice to witness stories….The case [Harrington] has chosen is iconic because its central figure presents a challenge to important secular and religious trends in modern Turkey. The case is important to Americans because these very trends are at work in many parts of the Middle East, and because this Turkish political trial teaches us important lessons for our own country.“
    — Michael E. Tigar, emeritus professor of law, Duke Law School and Washington College of Law, author of Thinking about Terrorism: The Threat to Civil Liberty in Times of National Emergency

    The political trial of Fethullah Gülen, a moderate Turkish religious leader, helped to greatly expand civil liberties and strengthen democracy in Turkey. The trial began in 2000 in an Ankara state security court (now disbanded) and ended in 2008 in an appeals court in Gülen’s favor. This book explores Gülen’s trial, examines the evolving process of Turkey’s efforts to enter the European Union, and discusses ways that the EU’s insistence on expanding civil liberties in Turkey and reforming the judicial system affected the outcome of the trial (and vice versa). As a coda, the book considers unsuccessful efforts to block Gülen’s application for immigrant status in the United States as a religious scholar, which occurred during the same time as his political trial in Turkey.

    About the Author
    James C. Harrington, a human rights attorney with nearly four decades of experience, is founder and director of the Texas Civil Rights Project. He has taught at the University of Texas School of Law for twenty-five years. Harrington has handled landmark civil rights cases, written and published widely, and served on human rights delegations in different areas of the world..

  • Yuksel

    Compared to Taliban Gulen is the face of modern and the model muslim to the West, of course. Well, compared to Taliban, which muslim would not be, with the exception of Al-Qaede nuts? However, the secular in Turkey compare him to the Turkish leadership in early 1920s who gave women the right to vote before France, Italy and Switzerland did the same and see a man whose reference is 6th century Arabian desert. I hope you foreign Gulen admirers could understand and appreciate the difference in perception.

  • Miss C

    It’s easy to spot the posts from Turkish writers: they’re the ones missing the definite article.

  • Hasan

    Mr Gulen has gotten a lot of help from Graham Fuller, a former CIA station chief, for his Green card application. Dr Aslandogan loves to suggest books of Mr Fuller in talks that he gives as well. Don’t you think there is something Fishy? Also, followers of Gulen in Turkey use anti-american as well as anti-semitic doctrines quite often. They might have tolerant rhetoric, but try to tell those guys that you are an atheist and try to preach them – Their tolerance is for non-muslims who are eager to listen to them but not talk back only.

  • Mary Ann

    Gulen supporters, particularly those running the schools, are masters of marketing. They know better than to force their agenda overtly. They’re building a network of people sympathetic to them, who are so grateful for the “special opportunities” they or their children received. They know all the education buzzwords, and use them liberally, without necessarily applying them. They also know the social buzzwords, i.e., “tolerance,” “interfaith dialogues,” “multicultural.” They know that many Americans in particular don’t want to be seen as intolerant, and fear that saying anything negative about a Turkish school implies that they are being racist or “Islamophobic.”

    We liberals (I’m including myself) like to quell our doubts so that we can claim tolerance and feel superior to people who call Muslims things like “towel heads.” Who wouldn’t want to disassociate from these sorts? However, I’ve come to believe that to be truly broad-minded, we need to think critically and ask the hard questions. What is their agenda? Are their practices harmful in any way – in the short or long term? We should ask questions about all of our schools and their agendas, the Turkish ones included. There should be no hidden agendas, period.

    I find the fact that they keep denying their connection to Gulen troubling, as they most certainly are connected, if “only” ideologically. Do you think they don’t want a return of the glorious Ottoman empire? Do you think their “free” trips to Turkey are just magnanimous good will? Do you think the students who are sponsored by them feel obligated after their education is complete?

    I worked in a Gulen school in Asia. I unwittingly walked into it, not knowing it was even a Turkish school until I arrived. “We’re not a Turkish school,” they claimed. “We’re international.” Of course. That’s why the food served is Turkish and Halal. That’s why the funding comes from Turkish businessmen and tithes from those who support Gulen. That’s why they meet with their Turkish students after hours to “keep an eye on them.” It was an eye-opening experience. If I hadn’t had this experience, I might have dismissed naysayers as racists, too. No, they didn’t try to convert me to Islam. Instead, they engaged in relentless self-promotion, based on nothing. The school was the best in the country, before it even opened. But, since those who can afford the school are most likely to be the best educated already, I guess they’re going to “prove” how great they are. They love to hold all sorts of competitions, award prizes and certificates, and then use that to prove how top-notch the students are. They are also masters of testing. They actually created paid positions for people to be in charge of testing. Students will not fail if the administration doesn’t want them to fail.

    Here’s the trap. They’re such nice people. They really are. They are so friendly. They do so much. They invite us to tea, and make Turkish food for us. They “celebrate all cultures.” (Although they can’t eat the local food unless it’s Halal). They are so… ideal. Well, that’s the surface. Look deeper. What are Gulen’s goals? Where is your tuition money going? Are there political agendas afoot? Make no mistake, they intend to use your sympathies to their advantage. To wit: A Turkish teacher was wearing an interesting pendant. When asked what it was she said “it’s a symbol of the Ottoman empire.” Something to think about.

  • John H.

    I am an American and I also have strong ties with Turkey. I have deduced on my own opinion through many encounters with the Gülen movement that this is some very sinister stuff. I have worked for and been paid (cash) by the Turquoise Council, Raindrop Turkish houses, throughout the U.S. I have repeatedly seen them deny affiliations with Gülen and they no longer display his logos on their printed materials. They have large expensive “interfaith dialogues” with politicians and academic figures. They send many of them to all expense paid trips to Turkey under tightly controlled circumstances to conservative Islamic households that treat then very well. They also insist with a bizarre fanaticism that these exchanges are cultural and not political (while the room is full of Senators, Governors, you name it). These men that they recruit for their movement (usually from Gülen’s “schools”) are very poor liars to a comic fault. They all seem to exhibit a rather cult-like disposition. All of them are very shy “nerdy” men – mostly single that will do what ever they are told. On some level. Gülen reminds me of a kind of L. Ron Hubbard character (low education, many published books containing silly things that his followers view as gospel) The real difference is how good this movement is a controlling it’s own P. R. Just do a google search on Fethullah Gülen and look at how much propaganda comes up! One has to really look to find good information/journalism on the subject. It’s either “Gülen is the greatest man alive” or right -wing conspiracy/anti-Islamist nut jobs. The reason I feel it’s important to talk about them is many of my friends in Turkey are being censored and jailed in Turkey for writing/blogging about the current government (The AKP party has known ties to the Gülen movement). Many are being censored for odd things such as Evolutionary biology which is regarded as un-Islamic and against the Turkish state. The Police are mostly in the hands of the Gülen movement and arrest and confiscate their computers. Thousands of websites and blogs are now blocked. The AKP party and the Gülen movement want something that I believe are very noble. Freedom to say what they want and worship they way that they want. Turkey is a secular democracy but in a very different way than the U.S. They do not have the freedom of religion that we enjoy here and that is why their movement is based from the U.S. There is no way Gülen is stepping foot in Turkey soon – trust me. The problem of course is freedom of speech and religion is a two-way street. What do you think is happening now in Turkey? From what I see, it’s a tinderbox waiting for a match. If you need evidence of how bizarrely dedicated “Gülenists” are, just watch the defense for Gülen light up this discussion board after I post this. They all say what they are told to and repeat themselves. I believe the freedom of speech/religion that they seek will ultimately cause their demise.

  • Nancy Cartwright

    I am shocked by the statement of the so-called experts. Professor Helen Ebaugh suggests that there were madrasas in the 70s in Turkey but Gulen instead promoted the modern schools. This demonstrates the level of ignorance of these so-called experts who are indeed blind supporters of the Gulen propaganda. The modern education system was founded in 1920′s by Mustafa Kemal and indeed Islamist wanted to revert most of the revolutions started by the modernists, among them the women rights. Turkish women gained the right to vote much earlier than many European countries and the USA. This explains the lack of women in the decision making process in Gulen movement. I am surprised how PBS is involved in this propaganda without questioning and checking of the facts.

  • Jimmy Wafflee

    Well, Mr. Bill is everywhere. As soon as something appears about gulen schools on the internet, he pups up and reveals his genious ideas about Fethullh Gulen and gulen charter schools. http://horizonparents.blogspot.com/

  • Bob

    Gulen is a KURD, not a Turk. His family were islamic heretics that were kicked out of Bitlis Turkiye during Ottoman times, wondered through Yozgat and settled in Erzurum. His grandfather was half Armenian. He is thought to be a Mason and has close ties to Israel. The chief supporter of Gulen has been the gold ole’ cia.

    For those idiots that don’t like the Turkish flag, the Turkish flag predates all major religions and is the symbol of the Celestial Turks that some say are link to the Kingdom of Mu(Atlantis) and had a one-god religion, Tur(hence the followers of Tur-Thor were called Tur-Ok). They transmitted their knowledge to the Sumerians which gave fruit to the original Pharoahs(Eurasians). The Etruscans are also related tot he Sumerians. Etruscans are the forefathers of the Latin alphabet, and recent research finds show that they carry 98% DNA of most Turks…..

  • gulen charter schools

    I am really confused about that gulen charter school issue..because there are so many web blog both positive and negative.here is one of them..one page blog:

    http://gulenchartersschools.weebly.com

  • Lying and cheating
  • Sean

    I am a Turkish-American Conservative. Do not believe a single thing the Gulen movement is saying, they want to undo women rights, human rights, and other forms of rights in Turkey. Infact they want to turn Turkey into a Second Iran if you ask me. They try to fool the world with Turkish Olympiads, Interfaith Dialogues, Large, Vast Amount of Charter Schools and infiltration of Congress and local and federal government offices. The Gulen Movement serves as a 2nd column to bankroll the AKP government in Turkey, which actually worsened the human rights in the Republic of Turkey. More jailed journalists, more torture, destroying Ataturk’s secular reforms, lifted the Hijab ban (the Hijab supports opressing women), supports women’s rights abuses (wife beatings, honor killings and so on). There is also people protesting in Turkish streets for support of Bin Laden, Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, and other Islamic Extremeist groups and hate for the great nation of America. The Gulen movement is trying to sound like a noble voice for Islam. IT IS ALL A LIE MY FRIENDS. They are destroying the lives of people in Turkey, including majorities and minorities and they are bringing not only Turkey down the drain, but spreading a Global Islamic Extremeist Caliphate. Beware people, do not believe what the Gulen movement is saying my friends!

  • gulen charter schools

    I agree with that. Charter schools should be supported in any ways. Education is a very important issue.

    http://gulenchartersschools.blogspot.com/

  • pashmina

    Tammy,I am very moved by your sharing. How honest and transparent of you to admit that at first, you wouldnt have cared if your ex had exited the planet. But, how beautiful your testimony of how God changed your heart to desire for him Gods mercy. and especially how in your repaying evil with kindness, you are learning to have peace over darkness. Peace over darkness. Yes, yes, yes. Instead of the darkness invading your heart and bringing hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, or despair.

  • Caterina Spoth

    Amen, Pastor Steve! Thank you for giving the truth that is found in the Word of God. We don’t need to get confused or deceived, if we would just know the word of God. God’s word is truth and Jesus said the truth will set us free!

  • African-american Harmony Parent

    My Daughter has been going to a Harmony School since Kindergarten. She is now in the 4th grade and reads at a 6th grade level. She is an avid reader and reads on average about 30 books a year, which she has to take tests on weekly. Her math skills are currently at about the 6th grade level. I am particularly impressed with her ability to solve multi-level mathematic word problems. She presents her science project this weekend at her schools science fair before judges who are engineers and scientists, having already presented before her classmates. She scores 100% on both the Math and reading sections of the TAKS. All of my life growing up in america I have been told that these types of academic achievements are not possible for african american girls, given their inferior congitive capacity as a result of genetic pre-dispoistions. I can confidently say that 80% of my diaghter accomplishments can be attributed to the outstanding teachers and administrators at her school and the culture of high expectations they have created. I have never witnessed the type of constructive competitiveness that has grown organically within the student body at such a young age. They started competing for who would read the harry potter series the fastest and score the highest on the tests in about the second grade.

    My family and I are christians and very active in our local church. We have never heard or witnessed anyone promoting the muslim religion or the Gulen movement at our Harmony campus or at any events we have attended on any of the other harmony campuses over the past 5-years.

    I am waiting for one these journalist to explain to me why the academic achievements of the Harmony Schools are bad and/or dangerous for our country and more importantly for our children. Shouldn’t someone be asking how this charter school district with 33 campuses and 20,000 students is able to accomplish these achievements with a similar class size and ethnic demographic as the state averages within its other school districts.

    At our school we have hundreds of families on our admissions wait list, some of which I personally know.

  • Howard Kazler

    African – American Harmony parent- Don’t you have any shame for acting like a minority in the USA?

    Bad enough your Hizmet (aka Gulen Movement) when removed from the Louisana- Abramson Science and Technology school for yet more scandals (surprise-surprise) The group tried to use their mouthpiece publication “Todays Zaman” to insight a race and class war. Implying that White America didn’t care about educating black America.

    To all of you FAKE Gulen poster above. You will lose in America. If you are keeping count it is:

    75 denied Gulen Charter School applications and renewals

    and merely 35 pending applications. We know you will keep trying and throw numerous applications out as you tried in Tennesse with former corrupt mayor Willie Herenton.

    You WILL fail – America and her children will WIN!!!!

    The more you lie, the more we will tell the truth about your group and the real reason you want to dominate education, politics, media, etc., in Turkey and worldwide.

    We will not fail and we will continue our battle against your group. Every day more and more of your followers (Cemaat) defect and flee to Canada.

    Just like the recent DENIAL of Fulton Science Academy in Georgia.

    Time to say “goodbye” to America.

  • Kirmizi

    Bravo, RobJaro. It’s so difficult to find any criticism of the Gulenist movement because Gulenists are very good at covering their internet tracks. I’m all for peace and multiculturalism as much as the next progressive and I hate it when people use ignorance to enforce their prejudices about other cultures and religions, especially islam. But let’s face it: the Gulenist agenda is a political one, affiliated with the AKP. It is not only about peace and so-called “interfaith dialogue”, it is against secularism, it is anti-feminist, and it is extremely good at lobbying and promoting its agenda to unwitting American cultural tourists who don’t understand Turkish history or politics. A great many of my educated, secular Turkish friends and colleagues here in the US and abroad have good reason to mistrust this movement. I’m very disappointed with PBS.

  • Kerim

    I am a Turkish American living in the USA. I know this group for more than 15 years. These allegations are always exist since it first emerged but never proven. Ironically, they are active for almost 40 years and still there is no single proven evidence which have been alleged against them. Maybe over 100 prosecutions filed against him. But the result is 0, none of them proven beyond a doubt. I am trying to understand why there is a hatred for this man. There is a saying in Turkish “fructiferous tree will be stoned”. Look at Jesus’ life. Do you think he deserved all those punishments. There are many traps discovered set against this group in Turkey to send them to Jail. To better understand all these allegation and be more objective please read this book: “Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey: The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gulen by James C. Harrington.” Then you might see the backstage of these attacks.

  • Brandon Goldfarb

    I was in Turkey for an NGO post in the late 90′s when Gulen movement was still legal in Turkey. One of his videotaped sermons that showed up in youtube caused a lot of trouble for him and that was the reason for his escape to the US. In that video he was guiding his supporters to stay hidden within the system and act slowly until they gain the power. His analogy was really chilling, it was about going into the blood stream of the system and flow in the veins until reaching the brain of the system. What that means is that they have been trying to gain the power by slowly transforming the system through placing their “men” (there are not so many women in this movement) in the key spots.

  • sarah

    For a wide selection of readings on the Gulen Movement check this out :

    http://www.hizmetmovement.com/

  • Tulin Bulay

    yes but not his-one school just closed due to sex scandals-welcome to Gulen s world..

  • Tulin Bulay

    Please tell me why all his schools were closed in Russia and he had to escape from Turkey….You better read about the most dangerous man -he is an islamic terrorist. I can say this because i am a moslem and I live in Turkey..Wake up!!!!!Dont be blinded .
    Meet “the Most Dangerous Islamist on Planet Earth” He lives in Pennsylvania
    Published by Chic91160 on 2013/6/1
    EnlargeCanada Free Press

    By Dr. Paul L. Williams

  • Tulin Bulay

    Thank -you for writing the truth.. I wonder how much contributions they got for writing the book and saying positive things about Gulen..whose new worth is BILLIONs.Why was he kicked out of Russia-and all his schools closed. They found out the truth . I hope America wakes up ,too. 147 charter schools 4 were closed the latest due to sex scandals. And he is now the head of a 200,000 strong police force in Turkey.

  • Eric_Saunders

    Right. What American would really support this CIA mullah and his charter school racket?