|Gulen's brand of Turkish Sufi Islam, is it FOR YOUR COUNTRY?|
Most significantly, Gulenists assiduously avoid acknowledging the contributions of anyone outside their movement, and in fact seek to undermine any rivals. This can be seen even here in the US, in their refusal to recognize any excelling schools other than their own, and in their constant trashing of US schools and society in their attempt to offer themselves as a unique solution. No group that operates this way can ever have broad appeal.
Listening to the Gulenists and their sympathizers, you easily get the impression that there are no other Muslim leaders or groups speaking for non-violence and education. This is simply false. Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Shaykh Nazim (Nazim Al-Haqqani) and others have been quite vocal in publicly denouncing terrorism. Yet instead of engaging and partnering with these other leaders, Gulen’s followers seek to make it appear that they don’t exist. They don’t want any competition for market share in the highly lucrative “moderate Muslim” industry.
Thus we are offered a false dichotomy: Gulen or radical Islam, as if the entire Muslim world of over one billion people could be reduced to just these two categories. Gulenist media outlets and press releases relentlessly push the idea that every day, all over Asia, young men and women who were on the verge of becoming violent radicals are now pursuing the rigorous study of math, physics and chemistry at their local Gulen school. The reality is that the Gulen schools in Asia and Africa are elitist. They charge steep tuition (they are run for profit, not “for humanity”) and cater to the upper echelons of society: ambitious families that will pay dearly to prepare their children for entrance into universities, hardly the demographic expected to breed terrorism. Gulenists themselves admit that they have to select for elite students to make their schools successful (see “The Educational Theory of Fethullah Gulen and its Practice in South Africa,” by Yasien Mohamed, available on Gulen’s own website.)
Consider the following statement that someone posted above: “Gulen has all the tools for the peace and understanding that our world needs.” So let’s start with the number one problem the U.S. faces in the Muslim world – the Middle East conflict. What is Gulen’s “tool” for Mideast peace? Does he have any clout or influence on either side? Is he making any attempt to broker a peace by participating in negotiations? The answer is no. It is easy to sit at home in Pennsylvania and write about “peace” and “interfaith dialog” but it is all theoretical and accomplishes nothing.
Indeed, Fethullah Gulen’s words about peace, dialog and tolerance were never aimed at anyone in the Middle East, or in any other conflict zone. They were written to win us over, and they have succeeded by opening the door into our public education system, where Gulen and his followers are now raking in American money.