HOLTON: Maybe Now They’ll Pay Attention To The Gulen Schools
Posted by: Christopher Holton on Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Wednesday afternoon the story broke in Baton Rouge media that the Kenilworth Science & Technology School had been raided by the FBI.
The FBI indicated that the raid, which evidently was conducted to gather material evidence in the form of documents and computers, was not a matter of public safety. As a result, it probably was not related to a report earlier this year that a teacher at the school was accused of having inappropriate pictures of children on his cell phone.
Had those charges stuck, that would have been the second scandal of a sexual nature involving a Gulenist school in Louisiana. Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in New Orleans was shut down back in 2011 in the wake of a scandal that started as an investigation into sexual activity involving students at the school and evolved into a possible public bribery investigation. Abramson operated under the same charter organization that Kenilworth operates under: Pelican Educational Foundation.
During the course of the investigation into Abramson, Pelican’s ties to the Gulenist movement were revealed.
By now you’re wondering what the Gulenist movement is, no doubt. The Gulenist movement is a secretive, controversial Islamist movement founded by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar with a controversial history and a great many followers and admirers in both the Islamic and Western worlds. However, a close analysis of Gulen and his movement reveals what may very well be a disturbing threat, rather than the benign movement that many suppose. (Gulen fled Turkey for the US in 1998 and settled in a massive, fortified compound in rural Pennsylvania.)
Gulen preaches peace on the one hand – while on the other hand, credible reports indicate that the Gulenists control the secret police and judicial bureaucracy in Turkey, both of which have been key to brutally suppressing recent pro-democracy protests there. But Gulen’s primary relevance to Americans comes from something quite peculiar – namely, the fact that his movement is associated with roughly 1,200 schools in numerous countries around the globe, including approximately 135 schools here in the USA. The American Gulenist schools are mostly taxpayer-subsidized charter schools and there is much to be concerned about, both in terms of their goals and operations. And Americans – and in particular those Americans charged with credentialing these schools – know scant little about with whom they’re dealing.
In reviewing the long-form literature on Fethullah Gulen, without exception, every single book about Gulen paints him in a positive, almost saint-like light. In order to fully grasp the man and his motivations, one has to read his own work – the most troubling and revealing of which is his 1998 book Prophet Muhammad as Commander.
While much of the book details the life of Muhammad as a military commander and political leader, the opening sections of the book reveal more about the author than they reveal about Muhammad, about whom much is already known and documented. The first 37 pages of Prophet Muhammad as Commander contain revealing, troubling passages that provide a window on Fethullah Gulen’s views on Jihad and warfare.
In Prophet Muhammad as Commander, Gulen explains Muslim hostility toward non-Muslims in a similar manner that most non-Muslims will find at least very curious:
“For this reason, a Muslim’s enmity towards unbelievers is, in fact, in the form of pitying them.”
Gulen ties this pity in with the concept of “compassion.” Unbelievers who deny that Allah is the only god and that Muhammad was his prophet are thought to be committing an “injustice.” Out of “compassion” for those unbelievers and to prevent them from committing further injustice, Muslims have enmity towards them and in some cases fight them as enemies.
Jihad as a concept fits in with justice. In fact, according to Gulen (page 20), Jihad is integral to justice:
“God does not approve wrongdoing and disorder. He wills that human beings should live in peace and, accordingly, that justice should prevail amongst them.It is therefore incumbent upon those who believe in One God and worship Him faithfully to secure justice in the world. Islam calls this responsibility jihad.”
Gulen then goes on to explain the various forms of jihad, including warfare. Again, on page 20, Gulen states the purpose of Jihad:
“…to establish the supremacy of His religion and to make His Word prevail.”
In the same section, Gulen then clearly articulates the aim of establishing a worldwide caliphate:
“Besides the holy struggle, the principle of amr bi ‘l-ma’ruf wa nahy an al-munkar (enjoining the good and forbidding the evil) seeks to convey the Message of Islam to all human beings in the world and to establish a model Islamic community on a world-wide basis.”
Most ominously, Gulen makes a call in the book that reads an awful lot like a call for the Islamic world to acquire nuclear weaponry:
“…believers should also equip themselves with the most sophisticated weaponry. Force has an important place in obtaining the desired result, so believers cannot be indifferent to it. Rather they must be much more advanced in science and technology than unbelievers so that they should not allow unbelievers to use ‘force’ for their selfish benefit. According to Islam, ‘right is might’; so, in order to prevent might from being right in the hands of unbelievers and oppressors, believers must be mightier than others.” “An Islamic state…should be able to secure peace and justice in the world and no power should have the courage to make corruption in any part of the earth. This will be possible when Muslims equip themselves with a strong belief and righteousness in all their affairs, and also with scientific knowledge and the most sophisticated technology.”
What does all this have to do with a charter school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana? Well, Gulen’s most significant foreign enterprise is his network of charter schools. As such, it is important for people to be aware of the philosophy of the man who started the movement.
Charter school’s Houston ties under scrutiny
Houston Chronicle | December 17, 2013
Repercussions from legal troubles at a Louisiana charter school have reached Texas because of the school’s business ties with Houston-based Harmony Public Schools, the state’s largest charter operator.In the wake of an FBI raid at a Baton Rouge charter school last week, Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, announced on Monday his committee would hold a fact-finding hearing to explore the relationship between Harmony, the Louisiana school and a related foundation, the Austin-American Statesman reported.Harmony Superintendent Soner Tarim said the charter operator contracted with the Louisiana charter school, the Kenilworth School, to provide business services, such as a professional development program and a student information system.