This is a follow-up to the two-part post I put up last week. Before continuing, you might want to read that first because in addition to the 60 Minutes piece on Fethullah Gulen, it also includes an update on the Democratic Congressman, Bob Filner, who has connections to the Gulenist schools and is running for Mayor of San Diego. I will post a follow-up to the part about Filner in a subsequent post. This entry deals exclusively with the 60 Minutes whitewash from last week.
First things first. Here is the 60 Minutes piece on Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen and his schools:
If you found that report to be a big letdown, you probably felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story after he finished decoding his Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring:
Aside from Stahl missing the big red flag that was Gulen’s refusal to be seen, the out 60 Minutes seemed content to take was based on a faulty premise that says if the schools don’t teach Islam, there is no problem. How about what they don’t teach, like allegiance to the United States or American history? Those omissions are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg but you’d never know it after watching Stahl ride around on a leafblower-powered hovercraft and concluding ‘there’s nothing to see here, move along,’ deciding to channel Leslie Nielson.
To understand what’s behind Gulen, one has to look at the power structure in Turkey itself, which Stahl all but completely avoided. The ruling Islamist party there (AKP) is virtually run by Gulenists in a way perhaps not all that dissimilar from how George Soros’ Center for American Progress (CAP) is the ‘idea factory’ for the Barack Obama administration. In many ways, Gulen is the Islamic version of Soros. Both men are extremely wealthy, use that money to surreptitiously spread their ideologies, and like to operate behind the scenes as much as possible. Though Wikileaks revealed that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not as loyal to the Gulenist movement as say, Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, both men belong to the same Gulenist-inspired AKP.
Jan Levy at American Thinker explains the beliefs and deceptive tactics of Turkey’s Prime Minister:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s public statements have also defied this optimistic view of Turkey as a “moderate” Islamic state. In 2007, he was quoted in Milliyet commenting on the term “moderate Islam” to describe his party, the AKP: “These descriptions are ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” On democracy, Erdoğan has said, “Democracy is like a street car; you ride it as far as you need, and then you get off.” About the function of mosques, he said, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”
Levy also points to a Washington Post blog entry that linked to a Turkish newspaper, which quoted Gulenist insiders. Stahl should have read that (among many other things) before deciding to portray the Gulen schools as beacons of secular learning and capitalism. According to those insiders:
“…through education, we can teach tens of thousands of people the Turkish language and our national anthem, introduce them to our culture and win them over. And this is what the Gulen Movement is striving for.”
Perhaps the greatest example of journalistic malpractice on the part of Stahl was a story out of Minnesota in 2008. The StarTribune’s Katherine Kersten reported on a former teacher’s firsthand account of what went on inside one of those Turkey-inspired charter schools.
Evidence suggests, however, that TIZA is an Islamic school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers.
TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is “establishing Islam in Minnesota.” The building also houses a mosque. TIZA’s executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.
Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food – permissible under Islamic law — and “Islamic Studies” is offered at the end of the school day.
Though TIZA is not as easily tied to Gulen himself, it is supported by the Turkish group, Islam Relief USA, an organization with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is itself tied to the Gulen movement. It clearly operates in the same spirit – if not in direct conjunction with – the Gulen movement.
Of course, what Fethullah Gulen post would be complete without an excerpt from one of his sermons that helped the pre-Islamic Turkish authorities in 1998 decide that he was attempting to overthrow the government (which he actually was successful in doing from his 25 acre estate in the Poconos after fleeing those Turkish authorities):
The philosophy of our service is that we open a house somewhere and, with the patience of a spider, we lay our web to wait for people to get caught in the web; and we teach those who do. We don’t lay the web to eat or consume them but to show them the way to their resurrection, to blow life into their dead bodies and souls, to give them a life.
And we’re supposed to believe that the Gulenist charter schools have no Islamic agenda?
Hey Leslie, how about you ditch the hovercraft and do your job?
Ben Barrack is a talk show host and author of the upcoming book, Unsung Davids