Member since Jan 4, 2010



  • No friends yet.
Become My Friend Find friends »

Recent Comments

Re: “Mailbag

Islamist Gülen Movement Runs U.S. Charter Schools

By Stephen Schwartz

A secretive foreign network of Islamic radicals now operates dozens of charter schools -- which receive government money but are not required to adopt a state-approved curriculum -- on U.S. soil. The inspirer of this conspiratorial effort is Fethullah Gülen, who directs a major Islamist movement in Turkey and the Turkish Diaspora but lives in the United States. He is number thirteen among the world's "50 most influential Muslims," according to one prominent listing.

Gülen has been criticized as the puppet master for the current Turkish government headed by the "soft Islamist" Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials as the AKP, in its slow-motion showdown with the secularist Turkish military. But Gülen is also known in Muslim countries for his network of 500-700 Islamic schools around the world, according to differing sources favorable to his movement. A more critical view of Gülen's emphasis on education asserts that his international network of thousands of primary and secondary schools, universities, and student residences is a key element in solidifying an Islamist political agenda in Turkey.

But in startling news for Americans, the Gülen movement operates more than 85 primary and secondary schools on our soil. A roster of the Gülen schools and of the numerous foundations that support them has been released to the public by the patriotic group Act! for America. The Gülen schools are often designated as "science academies" and are concentrated in Texas, Ohio, and California -- with others scattered across the rest of the country.

Two states that host Gülen charter schools are Arizona and Utah. In the former, the Daisy Education Corporation (the Gülen movement loves friendly-sounding institutional names) operates three schools in Tucson: one serving kindergarten through the eighth grade, another designated as an elementary school, and a middle-high school, all under the rubric of the Sonoran Science Academy. In Phoenix, it runs a satellite kindergarten-to-10th-grade campus with the same name.

The appearance of Gülen charter schools in Tucson has produced critical attention in local media. The Tucson Weekly published a report at the end of 2009 noting that the Sonoran Science Academy in the southern Arizona town had been named "charter school of the year" by the Arizona Charter School Association. But writer Tim Vanderpool reported that according to one dismayed parent, who declined identification while pointing out the Gülen movement's history of intimidating critics, "the Sonoran Academy seems constantly to be bringing Turkish educators into the United States, and subjecting students to substitute teachers while the teachers await work visas." Vanderpool submits that "several Sonoran Academy parents believe the school has a hidden agenda to promote Gülen's brand of Turkish nationalism, advance sympathy for that country's political goals such as winning acceptance into the European Union, and discourage official acknowledgment of Turkey's genocide against the Armenians during World War I." Such issues are exotic, to say the least, for Tucson parents.

Earlier in 2009, the Beehive Science and Technology Academy, a high school in Salt Lake City, came under similar critical scrutiny from the Salt Lake Tribune. That major daily's writer, Kirsten Stewart, reported that the Utah State Charter Board had begun an investigation of the Beehive school following complaints from a former teacher and an alarmed parent. The complainants asserted that while "Beehive advertises itself as a public charter school offering college-bound seventh through 12th graders a foundation in math and science ... the school has another mission: to advance and promote certain Islamic beliefs. They point to questionable financial transactions and hiring practices as proof of the school's covert ties to Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen."

But while Fatih Karatas, principal of the Sonoran Science Academy middle school in Tucson, flatly denied any connection with the Gülen movement, Beehive principal Muhammet "Frank" Erdogan in Salt Lake City admitted such links in the case of his school. The Salt Lake Tribune quoted his admission that along with him, "many of Beehive's teachers and founders also support Gülen's ideals." The paper also described how "Adam Kuntz, a first-year history teacher at Beehive, was fired [in spring 2009], he alleges, for taking academic freedom concerns to the state board. Earlier in the school year, Kuntz had a run-in with Erdogan over a lesson plan on World War II and the Holocaust. Erdogan wanted Kuntz to revise the plan and during a tape-recorded meeting, questioned conventional accounts of the genocide."

Kelly Wayment, a parent of three children in the school, was removed from his post on the Beehive administrative board after he e-mailed other parents about Gülen movement influence in the school. Wayment told the Salt Lake Tribune that as in the Tucson case, teachers "tend to be from Turkey and central Asian republics living here on work visas."

Americans should ask both why and how the Islamist Gülen movement has managed to establish such a large presence for Turkish religious political indoctrination in publicly financed education -- and should unite to oppose it.

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, D.C. This article was sponsored by Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Posted by Parent on 04/02/2010 at 4:17 PM

Re: “Hidden Agenda?

Why else would you need many many American sypathisers for Turkey? To get the public aproval and support for the troops. Meanwhile like 911 all those at the top are making bank off the backs of soilders, defence contracts and politacal refugees.

Posted by Parent on 01/30/2010 at 12:11 PM

Re: “Hidden Agenda?

concerned asked why the protection? Gulen and Erdorgen are buddies. It would seem that Turkey is being "Geared Up" as the next theater of war.…

Posted by Parent on 01/30/2010 at 12:06 PM

Re: “Hidden Agenda?

Here's a little backgrounder on the Gülen immigration case, plucked from the docket of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This document was originally filed on 25 May 2007. Basically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been screwing with Gülen's change of status since October 2002 and, let me add, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Gülen charges DHS defendants with acting "beyond powers" and petitions the court to order them to do their jobs vis-a-vis his change of status. What strikes me as odd is the refusal of the FBI to release the results of the criminal background check and/or names check--I guess that's a references thing--on Gülen. I wonder why that would be?


There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions here.

Posted by Parent on 01/30/2010 at 11:24 AM

Re: “Hidden Agenda?

The luncheon of Gulen institute which is to prommote respect and coapertion with out discrimination and of people of diverse back grounds.

Also from this video which had been dicussed earlier. That the Gulen Movement has no interest in political pursuits is a lie. They constantly contradict themselves. The Gulen Movement has their fingers into everything.

Posted by Parent on 01/28/2010 at 11:12 PM

Re: “Hidden Agenda?


Please go back and read the comments. You have over stated what the issue isn't.
Go to the beginning of the comments left. Follow the links and do your own research. The issue is not academics.

Posted by Parent on 01/26/2010 at 11:17 AM

Re: “Hidden Agenda?

More questions?

Again here we are questioning the financials of Sonoran Science Academy i.e Daisy Education.

In these hard times and financial difficulties its been asked, "How does a business afford to open three new schools in two years?" Where does the money come from and how is this possible? There sister school Paragon Science Academy was one of the new schools that opened last year and is now being absorbed and changing the name to Sonoran Science Academy Ahwatukie....But it does cost money to make that transition.

Now we are looking at one who claims to be effected by state and federal cutbacks but the board members are now looking into Oro Valley as well as another k-12 school in Phoenix.

Where is this money coming from and why do they act as if they are above the law of the land and can afford to make threats against anyone who makes these inquiries?

When ever anyone sees an organasation that exploits its volenteers and staff asking for public donations all the while expanding real estate deals and putting up new buildings you have ask these questions. As for me this is part of the reason I stopped going to church and became a free thinker.……

Posted by Parent on 01/24/2010 at 8:27 PM

All Comments »

Favorite Places

  • None.
Find places »

Saved Events

  • Nada.
Find events »

Saved Stories

  • Nope.
Find stories »

Custom Lists

  • Zip.

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation