by Pamela Geller
The “Turkish Khomeini,” Fethullah Gulen, lives in Pennsylvania. From there he runs a $25 billion international network. He is a prime mover behind the rapid Islamization of Turkey, and he urges Muslims to build schools to indoctrinate an entire generation. He is tied to hundreds of Gulen charter schools right here in the United States. (Texas alone has 36 of these Gulen charter schools.)
I recently heard from a teacher at a Gulen Movement school. “There are so many ethical violations occurring here every day,” he told me, “that it is hard to know where to start.” And worse, there is open support for jihad: When news broke of the Boston Marathon jihad bombings, several students defended the attack and expressed concern for the well-being not of the victims, but of the bombers. “They have also,” said the teacher, “expressed theories that 9/11 was a hoax and that Americans and the West are Islamophobic.”
Beyond that, the educational standards and priorities are abominable. “This school cares little for education and more for PR,” says the teacher. The administration, he says, doesn’t appear to have any background or training in either education or leadership. “Our vice principal has no idea what he is doing; this is evident in the fact that no one can ever find him, and he does not seem to know even basic information about mission statements, curriculum, standards, etc.” The dean of academics “does not even know what is in our curriculum, and he has frequently asked teachers to go easier so that students can get good grades.”
That could be said of many schools. But in this Gulen school, “as far as curriculum goes, the priority is Islam, not education. Evolution and Darwin are forbidden in biology, and literature classes are censored in order to ensure no one talks about relationships. In fact, ‘Persepolis’ was pulled from the classroom because it spoke poorly of veiling (despite being written by a woman who lived through the Iranian Revolution) and because the writer was ‘the wrong kind of Muslim.’ In addition, students asked to see the film ‘The Great Gatsby’ in junior year, as they read the novel in class (obviously). It was forbidden because it was ‘too sexual.’ The movie has not come out yet, of course, but is rated PG-13; the decision was made based on a preview.”
The school doesn’t have a library, teacher evaluations are nonexistent, and “the cheating here is rampant – and encouraged. Students have broken into teachers’ rooms; they not only steal tests but they also think that the entirety of the building exists for them alone.” Not only that, but “in the dorms, the students are ‘chaperoned’ by several young Turkish men who do not speak English. The chaperones are tasked with ensuring that the students adhere to Islam, and they have meetings in the dorms to pressure kids into practicing their faith. School days are planned around Islamic prayer (Fridays are shortened, for example; during the winter months, there is a 90-minute break in the middle of the day for lunch and prayer). The school is registered as nonsectarian, yet every student is Muslim.”
When all of the teachers were fingerprinted and had background checks per state law, the chaperones were not required to do so. It will come as no surprise that the finances of the school are suspicious at best. Staff is paid sporadically, and there have been numerous occasions this year when they were not paid on time.
The teacher concludes: “There are so many things that are happening here that this is only the tip of the iceberg. What amazes me is that they are still in business. They seem to have local politicians in their pockets. In addition to the ethical problems this school poses, I am also concerned with the real reason for its existence. Clearly academics are not important, but is this simply a moneymaking scheme? Is it a visa factory to bring in more and more Turkish nationals? Or is it something more sinister, an attempt to guarantee that Islam is being followed in America as well as overseas?”
Whatever the truth may be, it needs to come out. Gulen Movement schools in the U.S. must be investigated.