While all of America’s Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets had their cameras trained on the George Zimmerman trial in Florida awaiting the jury’s decision, and just a few hours before Americans across the country streamed into the streets in protest of that verdict, there was another protest under way in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.
130 people, many of Turkish origin or Turkish descent, were protesting Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric, who came to the US in the late ’90’s to escape the then secular government who wanted him for sedition. Gulen had been arrested and served jail time previously for the same charge many years prior. I have written a series called “Turkish Connection” which give some background and history on Turkey’s once secular government established by Kemal Attaturk in the early 1920’s, which has now been Islamized since Gulen’s AKP party took control of the Parliament in 2007 and both the President and Prime Minister are AKP as well. Charges were dropped against Gulen in 2008.
(You may have heard of the recent protests in Istanbul and Ankara which have lasted for weeks and still continue in some degree, regardless of lack of American media attention, to protest Erdogen’s Islamist government which is dragging the country back under Sharia Law.)
You see, up until WW1 the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) dominated all the Middle East and was the seat of the Islamic Caliphate. The Islamists are now in power in government once again and want it back!
Fethullah Gulen has been very influential in the Islamist movement in Turkey, in spite of his residence in the US for the last 14 years. He owns many media outlets there and organized and established many schools there. But his influence does not stop in Turkey. He has established a plethora of Turkish groups and charter schools in the United States as well as many other countries. This excerpt from a previous article I wrote in 2010:
“The Gulen Institute, Institute of Interfaith Dialog, Turquoise Center, and more locally the Raindrop Turkish Houses, along with others either directly or indirectly affiliated with Gulen have, as their apparent mission, to seek out leadership positions and officials at all levels of government and shape bonds of friendship and trust by providing a myriad of social functions from breakfasts to award dinners, to summit meeting with dignitaries and civil servants alike. One of the frequent provisions to these folks is the all expense paid trip to Turkey for the official and family members for a vacation of a lifetime. Some elected Kansas legislators recently returned from one such junket.
On the world stage, the Institute has hosted many high profile names such as James Baker, Kofi Annan, Madeline Albright, and received praise from Bill and Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and others.
FGC (Fethullah Gulen Community) built and runs hundreds of schools and seven universities around the world. Just one phalanx of what is known as “education jihad”, these schools mainly focus on secondary and college level students, imposing and inciting discipline and good social order, (that’s all good, but…) all the while extolling the virtues of the Islamic religion. This is a calculated effort and will indeed have huge effects on American culture and society in a generation or two. There are currently 130 such schools inside the United States.”
These are mostly, if not all, in the form of charter schools, utilizing US taxpayer money for funding scattered across 26 states. Other funding comes from international foundations such as Cosmos Foundation, based in India and according to this article in the NY Times, contracts for building them mount into the scores of millions of dollars for contractors, many with roots in Turkey. Many of these schools, such as the 42 in Texas, operate under the Harmony Public Schools name. Several of these schools have fallen under Federal investigation for misuse of funds. The teachers are also Turkish and come here on H1B visa’s specifically to teach in Gulen’s schools.
The Saylorsburg protests were reported only locally as in the Pocono Record:
“Protesters came from across the U.S. to draw attention to Gülen’s residence in Saylorsburg. He is a polarizing figure in Turkey whom critics accuse of trying to turn the country into an Islamic regime from a secular democracy.
Men, women and children waved Turkish flags, often emblazoned with the face of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the republic and secular hero in Turkey. Some also held American flags and posters with slogans in English and Turkish.
“USA wake up, sharia is here,” read one, warning of sharia law. “Stop stealing our taxes for your jihad,” another said.
Birgul Oncu, of New York, said she hoped the protest would make Americans more aware of who Gülen is and his influence in Turkey and in America through charter schools affiliated with the Gülen movement…
Protesters said they were in favor of a secular Turkey, and in solidarity with protesters on the streets of major Turkish cities over the last few weeks who have criticized Turkey’s leader for what they see as an Islamization of the country.
Huriye Altan, of Long Island, said she is an American citizen of Turkish origin whose husband fought in the Vietnam War. She said the protesters were not anti-American, but fighting what she said is Gülen’s misuse of tax dollars from charter schools connected with the Gülen movement…
Ersin Bayraktar said he came with family from New York City and is an American citizen. “He is trying to control the politics and the future of Turkey,” he said. “And he is using our country, the United States, as his base.”
Armagan Yilmaz, who organized the protest, led Turkish chants and held up posters of young people he said had been killed by forces under Gülen’s control.”
The commanding State Police officer at the protest commented of his appreciation for the peaceful attitude of the group, and one protester thanked the officer for the troopers’ attitude saying “In Turkey the police are violent”.
You can read the entire story in the Pocono Record and view accompanying photos here. H/T Pocono Record and H/T Creeping Sharia