The cleric should go home and face the music in Turkey
By Abraham Wagner,
Washington Times: Controversial Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen is back in the news following a diplomatic standoff between Turkey and the United States. On Oct. 8, the U.S. mission in Turkey announced a decision “to suspend all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey,” in retaliation for the arrest of a Drug Enforcement Administration liaison in Turkey with suspected ties to Mr. Gulen. Turkey has answered in kind by freezing the issuance of new visas.
The media spotlight on the deteriorating relationship between the two allies, however, misses the point: the self-exiled imam’s history of corruption and radicalism. Mr. Gulen’s actual record deserves the utmost scrutiny, and should not be overshadowed by the unfolding diplomatic intrigue.
The website of the cleric’s Gulen Movement, or Hizmet Movement, bills its leader as “a dedicated, pious Muslim,” who has “devoted his life to bringing peace to the world.” Yet U.S. State Department cables, divulged by WikiLeaks, reveal that Foggy Bottom, which has closely monitored Mr. Gulen since 2003, describes the preacher as “a ‘radical Islamist’ whose moderate message cloaks a more sinister and radical agenda.”
While in the United States, Mr. Gulen has received hundreds of millions in American taxpayer dollars to fund his vast network of charter schools, which have been under state-level and federal investigations for alleged, yet dire financial malfeasance in Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio and elsewhere.
In 2011, The New York Times reported that in Texas, two Gulen schools gave $50 million to Gulen-connected contractors, despite the fact that other contractors offered lower bids. Similar malfeasance and shell games has been reported elsewhere.
The curriculum and administration of Gulen schools are also suspect, with former teachers attesting to being fired and immediately replaced by new arrivals from Turkey — predominantly young men, with no English or teaching skills. Allegations have also surfaced that curricula, taught to American children, are surreptitiously comprised of Gulen’s particular brand of radical Islam.