These schools have something in common besides their ties to the peripatetic Fatih Kandil. They have all been "inspired" by and in other ways are associated with Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish supremacist and imam with a cult-like following of up to six million Muslims in Turkey and elsewhere around the world. More to the point, Gulen is the reclusive and highly autocratic leader of a global media, business, "interfaith dialogue" and education empire said to be worth many billions and that is run from a compound in the Poconos.
This empire - including its roughly 135 charter schools in this country and another 1,000 abroad - and its adherents have come to be known as the Gulen Movement. But those associated with it, in this country at least, are assiduously secretive about their connections to Imam Gulen or his enterprise. For example, the LMITA applicants, their spokeswoman and other apologists have repeatedly misled the Loudoun school board, claiming that these Turkish gentlemen and their proposed school have nothing to do with Gulen.
There are several possible reasons for such professions. For one, the Gulen schools are said to be under investigation by the FBI. A growing number of them - including Chesapeake Science Point - have also come under critical scrutiny from school boards and staff around the country. In some cases, they have actually lost their charters for, among other reasons, chronic financial and other mismanagement and outsourcing U.S. teachers' jobs to Turks.
The decisive reason for the Gulenist lack of transparency, however, may be due to their movement's goals and modus operandi. These appear aligned with those of another secretive international organization that also adheres to the Islamic doctrine known as shariah and seeks to impose it worldwide: the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek to accomplish this objective by stealth in what the Brotherhood calls "civilization jihad" and Gulen's movement describes as "jihad of the word."
This practice enabled the Gulenists to help transform Turkey from a reliable, secular Muslim NATO ally to an Islamist state deeply hostile to the United States - one aligned with other Islamic supremacists, from Iran to the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas to al Qaeda. Fethullah Gulen's followers clearly don't want us alive to the obvious dangers posed by their penetration of our educational system and influence over our kids.
The good news is that members of the Loudoun County school board have a code of conduct which reads in part: "I have a moral and civic obligation to the Nation which can remain strong and free only so long as public schools in the United States of America are kept free and strong." If the board members adhere to this duty, they will reject a seductive LMITA proposal that is way too "good" to be true.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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