Turkish Islamist charter schools in US being investigated by FBI

Posted on March 21, 2011 by creeping via U.S. charter-school network with Turkish link draws federal attention By Martha Woodall and Claudio Gatti | INQUIRER STAFF WRITER FOR THE INQUIRER Fethullah Gulen is a major Islamic political figure in Turkey, but he lives in self-imposed exile in a Poconos enclave and gained his green card by convincing a federal judge in Philadelphia that he was an influential educational figure in the United States. As evidence, his lawyer pointed to the charter schools, now more than 120 in 25 states, that his followers ± Turkish scientists, engineers, and businessmen ± have opened, including Truebright Science Academy in North Philadelphia and another charter in State College, Pa. The schools are funded with millions of taxpayer dollars. Truebright alone receives more than $3 million from the Philadelphia School District for its 348 pupils. Tansu Cidav, the acting chief executive officer, described it as a regular public school. ³Charter schools are public schools,´ he said. ³We follow the state curriculum.´ But federal agencies ± including the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education ± are investigating whether some charter school employees are kicking back part of their salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen known as Hizmet, or Service, according to knowledgeable sources. Unlike in Turkey, where Gulen¶s followers have been accused of pushing for an authoritarian Islamic state, there is no indication the American charter network has a religious agenda in the classroom. Religious scholars consider the Gulen strain of Islam moderate, and the investigation has no link to terrorism. Rather, it is focused on whether hundreds of Turkish teachers, administrators, and other staffers employed under the H1B visa program are misusing taxpayer money. Federal officials declined to comment on the nationwide inquiry, which is being coordinated by prosecutors in Pennsylvania¶s Middle District in Scranton. A former leader of the parents¶ group at the State College school confirmed that federal authorities had interviewed her. Bekir Aksoy, who acts as Gulen¶s spokesman, said Friday that he knew nothing about charter schools or an investigation.

Aksoy, president of the Golden Generation Worship & Retreat Center in Saylorsburg, Pa., where Gulen lives, said Gulen, who is in his early 70s, ³has no connection with any of the schools,´ although he might have inspired the people who founded them. Another aim of the Gulen schools, a federal official said, is fostering goodwill toward Turkey, which is led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the pro-Islamic prime minister, whose government recently detained journalists after they alleged that Gulen followers were infiltrating security agencies. 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). The visas are used to attract foreign workers with math, science, and technology skills to jobs for which there are shortages of qualified American workers. Officials at some of the charter schools, which specialize in math and science, have said they needed to fill teaching spots with Turks, according to parents and former staffers. Ruth Hocker, former president of the parents¶ group at the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School in State College, began asking questions when popular, certified American teachers were replaced by uncertified Turkish men who often spoke limited English and were paid higher salaries. Most were placed in math and science classes. ³They would tell us they couldn¶t find qualified American teachers,´ Hocker said. That made no sense in Pennsylvania State University¶s hometown, she said: ³They graduate here every year.´ Other school parents described how uncertified teachers on H1B visas were moved from one charter school to another when their ³emergency´ teaching credentials expired and told of a pattern of sudden turnovers of Turkish business managers, administrators, and board members. The charter school application that Truebright filed with the Philadelphia School District in 2005 mentioned that its founders helped start similar schools in Ohio, California, and Paterson, N.J. Shana Kemp, a School District spokeswoman, said that the district had just learned Riza Ulker, Truebright¶s permanent CEO, was on extended sick leave and that it would look into that. She said district officials knew nothing about a federal investigation of these charter schools. Further evidence of the ties comes from a disaffected former teacher from Turkey who told federal investigators that the Gulen Movement had divided the United States into five regions, according to knowledgeable sources. A general manager in each coordinates the activities of the schools and related foundations and cultural centers, he told authorities. Ohio, California, and Texas have the largest numbers of Gulen-related schools. Ohio has 19, which are operated by Concept Schools Inc., and most are known as Horizon Science

Academies. There are 14 in California operated by the Magnolia Foundation. Texas has 33 known as Harmony schools, run by the Cosmos Foundation. In their investigation, federal authorities have obtained copies of several e-mails that indicate the charter schools are tied to Hizmet and may be controlled by it: One activist sent an e-mail Aug. 30, 2007, to administrators at four schools and the president of Concept Schools in which he mentioned ³Hizmet business´ and several problems that needed to be addressed so that ³Hizmet will not suffer.´ And the disaffected teacher who described the five regions gave authorities a document called a tuzuk, which resembles a contract and prescribes how much money Turkish teachers are supposed to return to Hizmet. State auditors in Ohio found that a number of schools had ³illegally expended´ public funding to pay legal, immigration, and air-travel fees for nonemployees and retained teachers who lacked proper licenses. Audited records from the Horizon Science Academy in Cincinnati in May 2009 also say that ³for the period of time under audit, 47 percent (nine of 19) of the school¶s teachers were not properly licensed.´ The same records show that the founder of Horizon Cincinnati was listed as the CEO of the school¶s management firm and as president of the school¶s property owner.

Read it all, and related posts on Gulen schools, which, despite Philly.com¶s research, have been linked to terrorism and a religious agenda. Texas teachers, Obama envoy, examine and praise Turkish education system Tucson: Parents concerned about charter school run by Turkish Islamist movement Infiltrating the U.S. Through Charter Schools WORLD¶S ³MOST DANGEROUS ISLAMIST´ ALIVE, WELL, AND LIVING IN PENNSYLVANIA

Infiltrating the U.S. Through Charter Schools?
Posted on April 22, 2009 by creeping From ACT! for America

For some time we have been researching a Turkish-based Islamist movement that has a significant network here in the United States. Given Turkey¶s history of secular, democratic government, and some of the remarks made by President Obama in his recent speech there, many of our members and other readers will likely be surprised by what we have found. I suspect that even many who are well-read on the issue of Islamism are unfamiliar with the Fethullah Gulen Community (FGC), a movement a February 2009 article in the respected Jane¶s Islamic Affairs Analyst labeled ³Turkey¶s third power.´ Indeed, the article noted in its Key Points: ³Turkey¶s Islamist Gulen movement, while a powerful political force, is largely an unfamiliar entity to the West.´ The FGC is named after Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish imam who now lives in the United States. He fled Turkey in 1998 to avoid prosecution on charges that he was attempting to undermine Turkey¶s secular government with the objective of establish an Islamic government. Since Gulen¶s arrival here the Department of Homeland Security tried to deport him, but he successfully fought the effort in federal court because it was ruled he was an individual with ³extraordinary ability in the field of education´ ± although he has no formal education training. The FGC emerged in Turkey in the 1970 s. According to the Jane¶s Islamic Affairs Analyst piece, Gulen stated that ³in order to reach the ideal Muslim society µevery method and path is acceptable, [including] lying to people.¶´ This public acknowledgment of taqiyya (employing deception to advance Islam) is highly pertinent to Gulen¶s activities here in the United States. A recent article in the Middle East Quarterly by Rachel Sharon-Kreskin titled ³Fethullah Gulen¶s Grand Ambition´ sheds light on Gulen¶s background: Gülen was a student and follower of Sheikh Sa¶id-i Kurdi (1878-1960), also known as Sa¶id-i Nursi, the founder of the Islamist Nur (light) movement. After Turkey¶s war of independence, Kurdi demanded, in an address to the new parliament, that the new republic be based on Islamic principles. He turned against Atatürk and his reforms and against the new modern, secular, Western republic. Sharon-Kreskin documents how the FGC, in league with Turkey¶s ruling party, Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP), has been successful in gradually moving Turkey away from its secular democratic governance, towards an Islamist state governed by Shariah law, and reorienting itself toward Iran. What¶s more, other evidence suggests that Gulen¶s ultimate goal may well be the resurrection of the Ottoman Empire so as to reinstate the Islamic Caliph. Clearly this has immensely serious ramifications for geo-political affairs in the Middle East as well as for the continued rise of radical Islam throughout the world.What makes Gulen particularly dangerous is his strategic and tactical means to achieving this goal. He oversees a worldwide network of businesses, schools, foundations and media outlets, with an estimated budget of 25 billion dollars. Here¶s what Gulen had to say in a sermon in 1999 aired on Turkish television: You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers « until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will

suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria « like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it « You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey « Until that time, any step taken would be too early²like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside. The work to be done is [in] confronting the world. Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all²in confidence « trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here²[just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here. Simply put, he is brilliantly and patiently employing taqiyya on a global scale, because this strategic approach is not confined to Turkey.Here in the U.S. the FGC runs over 90 charter public schools in at least 20 states. This was brought to our attention by ACT! for America members who actually have relatives who teach in one of these schools, an illustration of the growing reach of ACT! for America¶s ³eyes and ears´ across our country. For obvious reasons we cannot reveal the identity of our sources. Our readers may be familiar with the numerous emails we have released regarding the operation of the Tarek ibn Zayed Academy (TiZA), a publicly funded charter school in Minnesota that is so blatantly Islamic in nature that the Minnesota Department of Education issued two citations against it and the ACLU is suing it. FGC schools appear to be very different, and reflect the Gulen¶s exhortation to ³move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers«´ Indeed, the fact that so little has been written about the FGC schools here in the U.S., as well as the accolades that have been accorded the FGC as a model of ³moderation´ by some in our government, would appear to confirm that the FGC and its schools are doing an excellent job of heeding Gulen¶s exhortation and masking their true intent. During several discussions and emails with our sources inside FGC schools, I asked specifically if the schools promote Islam in the way that the TiZA school in Minnesota does. I was told that this was not the case in the schools these sources were familiar with. However, one particular school (and likely numerous others) appears to be in violation of state law because the school¶s affidavit for its charter does not acknowledge that it is connected with a religious institution or group. In other words, those who chartered this school practiced taqiyya by hiding this fact. (Enterprising readers may want to research this with respect to FGC schools around the country. For a list of the FGC network in America and its schools, click here). What¶s more, the schools appear to be a source of recruitment for outside school activities sponsored by the FGC, such as summer camps, which would be in keeping with the pattern of recruitment of members and followers that FGC employs worldwide, according to both the Jane¶s and Middle East Quarterly articles. As a further example of the use of taqiyya, the Jane¶s article gives examples of how FGC¶s Turkish language media outlet Zaman runs stories with information and headlines that are

missing from the English language media outlet Today¶s Zaman. This practice of two different messages, one to the indigenous Islamic population and one to the West, is common in the Islamic world, and has led many in the West, including political leaders and academics, to be misled as to the true intentions of Islamists. In building a sophisticated and well-funded worldwide network, including a substantial presence here in the U.S., Fethullah Gulen is following in the footsteps and exhortations of Mohammed, who counseled patience and deception as a means of overcoming the infidel when the power of the infidel was greater than the power of the umma, the Muslim community. In a very real sense this is as or more sinister than the frontal assault strategy of Islamist organizations such as al Qaeda and Hamas, because, like the proverbial ³frog in the kettle,´ we are incrementally ³boiled alive´ without realizing it. For years American Congress for Truth, and now its ³sister´ organization ACT! for America, have been ringing the alarm bells about what is variously known as ³cultural jihad,´ ³creeping jihad,´ ³stealth jihad,´ and ³creeping shariah.´ Much of Europe and Great Britain has been Islamized through this process, a process that invariably does not lead to peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims, but leads to Islamic self-segregation, increased Islamist militancy and aggression, and the eventual forced imposition of Islamic shariah law within the society. The FGC charter schools in America may outwardly appear innocuous, but they are serving a greater and long-range objective of Fethullah Gulen. We in the West need to be less gullible and more discerning when it comes to the elements of ³stealth jihad´ within our midst. Guy Rodgers is Executive Director of ACT! for America. Note: Articles listed under ³Middle East studies in the News´ provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch¶s critique. More from Discover the Networks: ³In 1983, [then-] Colonel Yasar Buyukanit was commander of the Kuleli Military High School. [At that time] the newly organized community of [Turkish Islamist sect leader] Fethullah [Gulen] ± which is now very widespread ± managed to infiltrate [the Kuleli School, enrolling] 80 of their students in it. These students would have become future commanders! [...] A disciplinary committee, of five officers headed by Buyukanit, expelled all 80. [...] ³The plot was led by Fethullah¶s daily newspaper Zaman, and religionist [i.e. Islamist] and divisive [separatist] websites« [«] Some years ago, Fethullah Gulen targeted [another military leader,] Air Force commander Gen. Ahmet Corekci ± because Gen. Corekci had identified, one by one, Fethullah¶s officers and NCOs in the Air Force« [«]

The Fethullahists have the political power to influence the judiciary, direct the media, and even intimidate bank owners by threatening that their followers might withdraw all their funds from their banks« It is a fact that Fethullahists know how to use their political and economic power very well. They are experts in inserting their influence into the judiciary, the police, politics and the economy [of the country] [«]´ [14] More from www.turkishforum.com.tr FETULLAH GULEN Schools in the US: Arizona Schools Operated by Daisy Education Corporation Sonorant Science Academy-Tucson Middle-High School 2325 W Sunset Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741 Sonorant Science Academy-Tucson Elementary School 2325 W Sunset Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741 Sonorant Science Academy-Broadway Kindergarten ± Grade 8 6880 E Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85710 Sonoran Science Academy-Phoenix Kindergarten ± Grade 10 4837 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85008 Daisy Early Learning Academy 2325 W Sunset Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741 Davis Monthan Air Force Base *Opening 2009* Arkansas Lisa Academy 21 Corporate Hill Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205 Lisa Academy-North 5410 Landers Rd Sherwood, AR 72117 California Magnolia Science Academy 1 18238 Sherman Way Reseda, CA 91335 Magnolia Science Academy 2 18425 Kittridge St Reseda, CA 91335

Magnolia Science Academy 3 1444 W Rosecrans Ave Gardena, CA 90249 Magnolia Science Academy 4 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291 Magnolia Science Academy 5 1530 N Wilton Pl Hollywood, CA 90028 Magnolia Science Academy San Carlos Momentum Middle School 6365 Lake Atlin, San Diego, CA 92119 Bay Area Technology School (Bay Tech) 4521 Webster St. Oakland,CA 94609 Pacific Technology School-San Juan *Opening 2009* Pacific Technology School-Santa Ana *Opening 2009* Colorado Lotus School for Excellence Aurora, CO. Florida Orlando Science Middle School 2427 Lynx Lane. Orlando, FL 32804 River City Science Academy 3266 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville, FL Sweet water Branch Academy 1000 NE 16th Ave. Building C Gainesville, FL 32601 Stars Middle School 1234 Blountstown Highway, Tallahassee, FL 32304 Georgia Fulton Science Academy Middle School 1675Hembree Rd Alpharetta GA 30009 Technology Enriched Accelerated Charter High School 4100 Old Milton Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA 30005 Illinois Science Academy of Chicago Grade 1-Grade 8 8350 N. Greenwood Ave, Niles, IL 60714

Chicago Math and Science Academy Secondary School 1705 West Lunt Ave, Chicago, IL 60626 Indiana Operated by Concept Schools, Inc. Indiana Math and Science Academy Grade 6-Grade 12 4575 W 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46254 Louisiana Abramson Science and Technology 5552 Read Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70127 Maryland Chesapeake Science Point Secondary School 1321 Mercedes Drive Suite QS,Hanover, MD 21076 Massachusetts Pioneer Charter School of Science Grade 7- Grade 10 51-59 Summer Street, Everett MA, 02149 Missouri Broadside-Frontier Math and Science School Secondary School 5605 Troost Kansas City, MO 64110 Broadside Charter and Day School Elementary School 5220 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO 64110 Nevada Coral Academy of Science-Las Vegas 8185 Tamarus St., Las Vegas, NV 89123 Coral Academy of Science-Reno Secondary School 1350 East Ninth Street Reno, NV 89512 Coral Academy of Science- Reno Elementary School 1701 Valley Road Reno, NV 89512

New Jersey Bergen Arts and Science Charter School K-8 200 MacArthur Ave, Garfield, NJ, 07026 Paterson Charter School For Science And Technology 276 Wabash Ave., Paterson, NJ 07503 Tuition Schools Pioneer Academy of Science K-12 366 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07011 Ohio Operated by Concept Schools, Inc. Horizon Science Academy-Cincinnati Middle School-High School 1055 Laidlaw Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45237 Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland High School 6000 South Marginal Rd., Cleveland, OH 44103 Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland Middle School 6100 South Marginal Rd. Cleveland, OH 44103 Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland Elementary School 6150 South Marginal Rd. Cleveland, OH 44103 Horizon Science Academy-Columbus High School 1070 Morse Rd. Columbus, OH 43229 Horizon Science Academy-Columbus Middle School 1341 Bethele Road Columbus, Ohio 43220 Horizon Science Academy-Columbus Elementary School 2835

Morse Rd., Columbus, OH 43231 Horizon Science Academy-Dayton 545 Odlin Ave Dayton,OH 45405 HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY ± DENISON K-1, Grade 4-Grade 8 1700 Denison Avenue, Cleveland OH 44109 HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY ± SPRINGFIELD Grade 5- Grade 8 630 South Reynolds Road, Toledo, OH 43615-6314 HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY ± TOLEDO High School 425 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo, OH 43604-1060 Noble Academy-Columbus K-Grade 8 1329 Bethel Road Columbus, Ohio ± 43220 Noble Academy-Cleveland 1200 E. 200th Street Euclid, Ohio 44117 Oklahoma Schools operated under the Cosmos Foundation, TX. Dove Science Academy-OKC Secondary School 919 NW 23rd St. Oklahoma City, OK 73106 Dove Science Academy-OKC Elementary School 4901 N Lincoln Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK 73105 Dove Science Academy-Tulsa 280 S Memorial Dr. Tulsa,OK 74112 Tuition school affiliated with Raindrop Turkish House Bluebonnet Learning Center of Tulsa Nursery, Pre-School and Pre-Kindereducation 280 S Memorial Dr., Tulsa, OK 74112

Pennsylvania Truebright Science Academy Secondary School 926 West Sedgley Avenue, Philadelphia PA, 19132 Snowdrop Science Academy Pre-school ± Grade 7 233 Seaman Lane, Monroeville, PA 15146 Texas Operated by The Cosmos Foundation Harmony Science Academy-Austin Secondary School 930 East Rundberg Lane Austin,TX 78753 Harmony School of Science-Austin Kindergarten- Grade 8 11800 Stonehollow Dr. Suite 100 Austin, TX 78758 Harmony Science Academy-North Austin Grade 6- Grade 10 1421 Wells Branch Pkwy W Suite 200 Pflugerville, TX78660 Harmony Science Academy-Beaumont Kindergarten- Grade 10 4055 Calder Ave, Beaumont, TX 77706 Harmony Science Academy-Brownsville Harmony Science Academy-Bryan/ College Station Harmony Science Academy-Dallas Secondary School 11995 Forestgate Dr Dallas,TX 75243 Harmony Science Academy-Dallas Elementary School 11995 Forestgate Dr Dallas,TX 75243 Harmony Science Academy- El Paso 9405 Betel Dr. 79907 El Paso, TX Harmony Science Academy-Fort Worth

Harmony Science Academy-Grand Prairie 1102 NW 7th St, Grand Prairie, TX 75050 Harmony Science Academy-Houston Secondary School 5435 S. Braeswood, Houston, TX 77096 Harmony School of Excellence-Houston Elementary-Secondar y y School 7340 N Gessner Rd, Houston, TX, 77040 Harmony School of Innovation-Houston 9421 West Sam Houston Parkway S,Houston, TX 77099 Harmony School of Science-Houston 13415 W Belford Ave. Sugar Land, TX 77478 Harmony Science Academy-Northwest Kindergarten- Grade 10 16200 Tomball Pkwy (SH 249), Houston, TX 77086 Harmony Science Academy-Laredo 4401 San Francisco Avenue Laredo, TX 78041 Harmony Science Academy-Lubbock 1516 53rd Street, Lubbock, TX 79412 Harmony Science Academy-San Antonio 8505 Lakeside Parkway San Antonio, TX, 78245 Harmony Science Academy-Wako 1900 N. Valley Mills Dr. WACO, TX 76710 Texas Gulf Institute Career Center Adult Education 9431 W Sam Houston Pkwy S #203, Houston, TX 77099 Riverwalk Education Foundation, Inc School of Science and Technology Discovery K-12 5707 Bandera Road, Leon Valley, TX 78238 School of Science and Technology-San Antonio Secondary School 1450 NE LOOP 410, San Antonio, TX 78209-1543 School of Science and Technology-Corpus Christi Tuition schools affiliated with Raindrop Turkish House Bluebonnet Learning Center of Houston Nursery, Pre-School and Pre-Kindereducation 9303 W Sam Houston Parkway South Suit 200, Houston, TX 77099

Bluebonnet Learning Center of Dallas Nursery, Pre-School and Pre-Kinder education 1416 E Collins Blvd., Richardson, TX 75081 Bluebonnet Learning Center of El Paso Nursery, Pre-School and Pre-Kinder education 9405 Betel Dr., El Paso, Texas 79907 Utah Beehive Science and Technology Academy Secondary School 1011 Murray Holiday Rd., Salt Lake City, UT 84117 Wisconsin Wisconsin Career Academy Middle-High School 4801 S 2nd St., Milwaukee, WI 53207

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