Storm Track Infiltration: Turkey’s Ayatollah Khomeini?
When the Shah of Iran fell from power, Ayatollah Khomeini stepped in and turned
Who is Fethullah Gülen? He is
Here are some excerpts that will introduce you to Mr. Gülen. Keep an eye on this man. He just may be the future of
Self-exiled for more than a decade, Gülen lives a reclusive life outside
Within months, however, he may be as much a household a name in the Philadelphia, Pa. United Statesas is Ayatollah Khomeini, a man who was as obscure to most Americans up until his triumphant return to almost 30 years ago. Iran
Many academics and journalists embrace Gülen and applaud his stated vision welding Islam with tolerance and a pro-European outlook. Supporters describe him as progressive. In 2003, the
honored him as a “peaceful hero,” alongside Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama. Universityof Texas
Are you starting to get the drift?
Last October, the British House of Lords and several British diplomats celebrated Gülen at a high-profile
conference. Later this year, London scholar John Esposito will host a conference dedicated to the movement. As in 2001, Esposito will cosponsor with the Rumi Forum, an organization Gülen serves as honorary president. Georgetown University
Now there’s a red flag right there. Esposito – the noted paid apologist for Islam.
The Gülen movement controls charities, real estate, companies, and more than a thousand schools internationally. According to some estimates, the Gülen Movement controls several billion dollars. The movement claims its own universities, unions, lobbies, student groups, radio and television stations, and the Zaman newspaper. Turkish officials concede that Gülen’s followers in
number more than a million; Gülen’s backers claim that number is just the tip of the iceberg. Today, Gülen members dominate the Turkish police and divisions within the interior ministry. Under the stewardship of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one of Gülen’s most prominent sympathizers, tens of thousands of other Gülen supporters have entered the Turkish bureaucracy. Turkey
You can safely say that this man is very well positioned to induce enormous pressure in
While Gülen supporters jealously guard his image in the West, he remains a controversial figure in
. According to Cumhuriyet, a left-of-center establishment daily — Turkey’s New York Times — in 1973, the Izmir State Security Court convicted Gülen of “attempting to destroy the state system and to establish a state system based on religion;” he received a pardon, though, and so never served time in prison. In 1986, the Turkish military — the constitutional guardians of the state’s secularism — purged a Gülen cell from the military academy; the Turkish military has subsequently acted against a number of other alleged Gülen cells who they say infiltrated military ranks. Turkey
Because of his statements and veiled threats, the judiciary in 1998 charged Gülen with trying to “undermine the secular system” while “camouflag[ing] his methods with a democratic and moderate image.”
And of course his liberal supporters in the West fall for his taquia.
He often equates the separation of religion and state with atheism, an assertion many of
’s most secular officials find offensive: Believing that religion is best kept to the individual rather than state sphere does not equate with any lack of belief in God. In 2004, Gülen equated atheism with terrorism and said both atheists and murderers would spend eternity in Hell. Turkey
On May 5, 2006, the
Criminal Court overturned the verdict against Gülen. While a public prosecutor — a secularist hold-out — appealed the court’s action, the process is now nearing conclusion. Gülen’s supporters are ecstatic. His slate wiped clean, Gülen has indicated he may soon return to Ankara . Turkey
If he does, Istanbul 2008 may very well look like
1979. Just as Gülen’s supporters affirm his altruistic intentions and see no inconsistency between a secretive, cell-based movement and transparent governance, too many Western journalists also give Gülen a free pass. Tehran
So what else is new?
If this sounds familiar, it should: Three decades ago, the same phenomenon marked coverage of
Watch this man. He may spark an Islamic revolution in
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