Note: The tactics and techniques of the Gulen charter schools in America are alarming and offensive. This authoritative Philadelphia Inquirer story details a multi-agency Federal investigation of the shadowy cult.
"Model" for Loudoun Gulen school, Chesapeake Science Point Academy, and its "governing foundation," Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation, sued County School Board during negotiations to renew charter. "
Annapolis, Maryland, Capital Gazette
"On Wednesday, schools’ spokesman Bob Mosier called the lawsuit an “ambush.”
“It’s shocking and appalling at a time when we’re working on negotiating a
new charter agreement CSP would go to court and file a suit that flies in the
face of collaboration,” Mosier said.
New York Times
Note: Makes the direct connections between the charter schools in the USA and Gulen Movement:
A group of three publicly financed charter schools in Georgia run by followers of Fethullah Gulen, a prominent Turkish
imam, have come under scrutiny after they defaulted on bonds and an audit found that the schools improperly granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to businesses and groups, many of them with ties to the Gulen
The largest charter school network in the United States is operated by people in and associated with the Gulen Movement (GM), a secretive and controversial Turkish religious sect. With 135 schools enrolling more than 45,000 students, this network is substantially larger than KIPP, the well-known charter management organization with only 109 schools. A lack of awareness about this situation persists despite it being addressed in a national paper and in articles about Gulen charter schools in Utah (also here), Arizona, (also here), Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania (also here), Indiana, Oklahoma (and here), Texas (also here), Arkansas, Louisiana (also here), New Jersey, Georgia, and North Carolina. It was also reported that the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education are investigating practices at these schools.
New York Times
Note: Explains Gulen in Turkey and the USA:
The movement is well known for running a network of schools lauded for their academic rigor and commitment to spreading Turkish language and culture. Gulen followers have been involved in starting one of the largest collections of charter schools in the United
States. With their neatly trimmed mustaches, suits and ties, and their missionary zeal, supporters here convey the earnestness of Mormon
missionaries or Muslim Peace Corps volunteers. Their eyes moisten at the mention of Mr. Gulen’s name, which is invoked with utmost reverence.
New York Times
Note: Details on Gulen movement schools and business network in Texas:
While educating schoolchildren across Texas, the group has also nurtured a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants. The businesses include not just big contractors like TDM but also a growing assemblage of smaller vendors selling school lunches, uniforms, after-school programs, Web design, teacher training and even special education assessments.
Some of the schools’ operators and founders, and many of their suppliers, are followers of Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic
Turkish preacher of a moderate brand of Islam whose devotees have built a worldwide religious, social and nationalistic movement in his name. Gulen followers have been involved in starting similar schools around the country — there are about 120 in all, mostly in urban centers in 25 states, one of the largest collections of charter schools in America.
Charter School Scandals
Note: Comprehensive overview of the Gulen Movement's cult-like operations, method of operating in US Charter Schools, and details of Turkey connections:
In 1999, members of the Gulen Movement, a secretive and controversial cult-like religious group, opened their first charter school in the U.S. (in Ohio). Rapid expansion of the Gulen Movement's network has resulted in the largest charter school chain in the U.S. (See my guest article in the Washington Post, "Largest charter school network in the U.S.: Schools tied to Turkey." 3/27/2012). During the 2011-2012 school year, 135 Gulen charter schools operated in 26 states.
Note: Includes a Q&A (by email) with Gulen. Be sure to read the comments section. The attacks on those who question the Gulenist operations are typical for anyone seen as an enemy to the cause.
Followers of the so-called Gülen Movement operate an "education, media and business network" in more than 100 countries, says University of Oregon sociologist Joshua Hendrick.
Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Fulton County, Georgia's painful experience with Gulen network masterminds. The County attempted to audit the
convulted books of its Gulenist schools. Read about the frustrating process of dealing with obfuscators, and the shocking results of the audit.
Note: Video preview of a 60 minutes program. A worldwide Islamic movement that has inspired scores of public charter schools here in the U.S. is led by a Turkish cleric living in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Lesley Stahl reports on Fethullah Gulen and his message of education on Sunday, May 13 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Comprehensive overview of the Gulen Movement's Turkish, and global operations, philosophy, and covert approach
Parents for Educational Accountability (PEA)Presentations to Loudoun County School Board; Oct. 23, 2012:
Click on # 4 for "delegations." PEA speakers include Frank Gaffney and James Lafferty.
Loudoun County Public Schools, Deputy Superintendent Ned Waterhouse published LCPS's review of the LMITA application, complete with staff recommendations:
Fatih Kandil--Director Dayton, Ohio charter school--Horizon Science Academy
Fatih Kandil--Applicant for failed Delaware public charter school--First State Science Academy
Fatih Kandil--Delaware application denied due to weak technology, math, and science curriculum!
Technology Plan-A plan for technology was submitted and approved, but the content specialists noted minimal use of computers in academic subject areas for a school that proposes to focus on math and science. In addition, there does not seem to be a clear or innovative plan to use technology in the classroom.
Virginia Politicians and other decision makers being groomed by Gulenists. For what?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIN2wVdG8MQ [note Gulen address]
[note Dr. Pim Valkenberg, Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture at the Catholic University of America was the keynote speaker at the program.]
Loudoun Math and IT Academy Application
Note: Application for LMITA charter school. Includes backgrounds of applicants.
First State Math and Science Academy Application
Note: This was a failed application in Delaware. Fatih Kandil was an applicant.
Tucson's Sonoran Science Academy and its sister schools import an unusually
large proportion of their staff from foreign countries, especially Turkey, in a
practice that parallels the customs of an important Turkish religious-political
The five Sonoran Science Academy charter schools and their parent company,
Daisy Education Corp., received U.S. Labor Department certification to fill 39
teaching and administrative jobs with foreigners last year, federal data show.
From 2002 through 2009, the schools have received certifications for 120 H-1B
Note: This is a video of a Baker Institute at Rice University.
Transnational Religious Nationalism in the New Turkey: The Case of Fethullah Gulen
Joshua D. Hendrick of the University of Oregon discusses how the Gülen Movement has affected 21st century Turkish society.
Gulenish denials and accusations. This is just beginning (from Leesburg Today, Oct. 12, 2012):
"At one point Ali Gokce, one of the parents behind the charter application, stood
to say he’s a mechanical engineer who’s lived in Loudoun since 2005, and he
simply wants a more rigorous education for his two children. “We started with a
small group of parents and it grew from there. I think all these rumors are
Gulen schools are among the
nation’s largest users of the H1B visas. In 2009, the schools received
government approvals for 684 visas – more than Google Inc. (440) but fewer than
a technology powerhouse such as Intel Corp. (1,203).
Foreigners fill ranks of local (Arizona) charter school chain:
It was all a bit much for Cynthia Corrales, who graduated from Sonoran
Science Academy last year.
"I understand we have people from other cultures and countries, but I mean, a
whole school run by Turkish people? It was really weird," Corrales said.
The language offerings, especially, bother some parents, such as Rodney
Holland, who has had three children there, including a daughter who took
"Do I mind her learning Turkish? Well, it's all knowledge," Holland said. "Do
I think it's valuable? Probably not."
"A Sect Like Scientology
People who have broken ties to Gülen and are familiar with the inner workings of this community tell a different story. They characterize the movement as an ultraconservative secret society, a sect not unlike the Church of Scientology. And they describe a world that has nothing to do with the pleasant images from the cultural Olympics.
These critics say that the religious community (known as the "cemaat" in Turkish) educates its future leaders throughout the world in so-called "houses of light," a mixture of a shared student residence and a Koran school. They describe Gülen as their guru, an ideologue who tolerates no dissent, and who is only interested in power and influence, not understanding and tolerance. They say that he dreams of a new age in which Islam will dominate the West.
Some experts reach similar conclusions. Dutch sociologist Martin van Bruinessen sees parallels between the Gülen movement and the Catholic secret society Opus Dei. American historian and Middle East expert Michael Rubin likens the Turkish preacher to Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini. According to a diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks in 2010, US diplomats consider the Gülen movement to be "Turkey's most powerful Islamist grouping." The Gülen movement, the cable continues, "controls major business, trade, and publishing activities (and) has deeply penetrated the political scene."
Only very few former members are prepared to talk about their time in the movement, and those who do insist on not being identified by name. They are afraid of Gülen and his people, afraid for their jobs, their health and their families."