Gulen Schools Worldwide

Gulen Schools Worldwide
Restore the Ottoman Caliphate. Disclaimer: if some videos are down this is the result of Gulen censorship which filed a fake copyright infringement to UTUBE.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gulen Movement, As described by an ex-disciple- Faith, LIfe and Islamic Law

The author of this article is an ex-disciple in the movement.  He left the movement in 2001, after working at a FG school for one year.  However, he entered the movement when he was in pirmary school and was active since the G8 or G9 student. 

Sincerely and truthfully written, sent to the administrators of this blog.  After reading we felt compelled to print the story of "A" an articulate and emotional writer. 

Faith, Life and Islamic Law
It is still going on and it seems there is a long way to the bottom of the well. Whoever writes, speaks or plans to write about Fethullah Gülen or his movement, ends up at police headquarters, their houses are being investigated by the state prosecutors and they spend their following days at custody with no crime other than writing/speaking the truth that they believe. Turkey is increasingly becoming a police state and everyday the news are getting more and more tragi-comic, more and more intimidating. Everything and everybody is somehow connected to the ultra-nationalist group "Ergenekon" whose borders are ambiguously broad and with this magic name, police has right to enter any house and arrest the people living in that house. In recent days, many prominent journalists have been put in custody, their computers and books have been confiscated, their professional careers are brought to the points of break. Now I am writing this article, I am guessing I will be declared as an "Ergenekon" member. Being disgusted of the idea of being associated with such an ultra-nationalist movement, I might feel relieved as at least my effort of writing truth (that I know by my personal experiences) is being recognized by some prosecutors who have no other jobs but following the people who write truths about FG.

In the past, Turkey was implicitly ruled by the soldiers. Although we had democratically elected prime ministers and parliament, there was always the shadow of the military behind any sort of action that the government would like to implement. The generals were -in the name of protecting secularism and nation's unity- did anything they wanted and by doing this they never lost people's faith. This is why military has been the most trusted institution in Turkey for many decades. However, things seem changing in recent years as FG movement is getting stronger in every field of life including in military, police, education, justice and of course the media. As their magazine "Sızıntı" (meaning "The Leakage") suggests, they leak (or sneak) into every powerful area of life in Turkey. I know a lot about them personally as I spent quite a lot of time with them during high school and university years. I was one of the devotee members of FG movement and I had some serious duties while I was with them. This is why I know how they behave in the first place, I know their real goals and I resent the fact that they have a big role in the recent events.

When I was a university student, we used to believe that FG movement is the one the world is expecting and FG himself was Mehdi. Of course, it is not written anywhere or FG never said such a thing about himself. However, this was the talk of the young shakirts (Disciples of FG movement) and they believed it as it is a fact from Qur'an. Whether he is or he is not Mehdi, it actually does not matter much. What matters is the philosophy of their lives and the direction of the movement.

Anyone who read some of the red books written by FG's precedent Said Nursi would know that the movement has three steps which are dialectically related with each other. These are Iman (Faith), Hayat (Life) and Şeriat (Islamic Law). These three steps can be considered in both micro level and macro level. We can consider these steps as the journey a man/a woman should take during his religious life. Or we can also consider it as the journey that society will take from faithless people to the fully Islamic state. The relationship between them is dialectical as each step carries the seed of the following one and once you pass the next level, you do not ignore the previous one. Step one is always there and keeps supporting the other two steps. Step two precedes step 3 and somehow makes sure that step 1 is carried forward continuously. Below, I will investigate the first two steps by my own observations and personal experiences.

Everything starts with faith and without it nothing can be done in the society. This is why Said Nursi banned his shakirts from entering politics or having any interest in political struggles. He simply told them to spread the word of Allah by reading his red books (Risale-i Nur) and making other people read. He did not want his young disciples to get into politics because he considered politics as evil (One of his famous saying was "Spare me from the bad effects of following the satan and entering politics") So his disciples did what he said. They worked hard and spread the words of Risale-i Nur all around in Turkey, in small villages as well as in big cities. What did red books teach? Why did he ask them to read only these books and do nothing else?

The books are only about keeping the strength of faith and having a life around Islamic traditions. There are no fundamentalist advices or any violent-suggesting sentences in these books. Many of the chapters are dedicated to unifying Science and Faith, making it attractive to the educated Turkish youth. What Nursi did was not so different from the medieval Christian writers who wrote about teleological and ontological evidences for the existence of God. In fact, there is nothing new and original in Nursi's books if one reads Thomas Aquinas and his contemporary Christian philosophers. Even many examples he chose are used many many times in these philosophers' books. Since philosophy was not Turkish youth's strongest choice, they loved the books and the unifying power of faith that they learn from their parents and science that they learn in school from their teachers. Despite the fact that Turkish state continuously chased Nursi and his students, continuously tried to put him in prison, continuously put him in house arrest, the movement got bigger like a mushroom growing a few cm below the soil.

Then FG came. They never met but of course FG was a devote follower of SN. He continued applying SN's principles into his life and the people slowly gathering around him. But he also started doing more than just reading books so the schools, tutoring institutions, magazines, the newspaper Zaman, Radio and TV stations all came along with him as part of the second level of the movement's goal. However, FG is a man of wisdom and patience. He knows the mistakes done in the past (like Muslim Brothers in Egypt) so he wanted to conquer the powerful institutions before targeting politics. He knew that it is impossible to get political power in Turkey before getting the power of military, police and justice system. He also knew that it was impossible to enter these institutions without first having a big share in education.

University students lived in the light houses (FG called them this name) and these houses actually served bifunctional: To keep and educate university students for the future jobs like teachers, engineers, lawyers etc. Secondly, the houses has a function to raise young middle or high school students. In the name of science and mathematics, the Middle school students are brought (usually picked from streets with many lively and creative tricks. I was the champion of these tricks) to the light houses. The excuse was to teach them Math and Science so that these kids can go to privileged Science Schools which take students with exams after Grade 8. Once students come home in groups of 3-5, the mutual trust is set up between the young shakirts and the kids' parents. They visit the kids' family, explaining the family why they are doing this for free (I will be a teacher and I want to have experience. When I was a kid someone helped me so I feel I have to give back to society etc...) and making sure that the kid will continue coming to the light house till the end of the year. Time passes, some simple books are given to kids so that they can warm up for the ideas on God's existence, the harmony between Science and Faith, the absurdity of not believing God etc. The famous book in my time was called "Notebook of a Teacher" and it was written in a way of conversation between students and their teachers who keep talking about how silly to deny God and living without faith with the examples from Physics, Chemistry and especially Biology.

Kids come to the house at least 2 times a week at the beginning but this number goes up to 4-5 times a week when the exams get closer. During break, kids stay in the house and start praying with them, start reading red books (without understanding a sentence as the books are written in Ottoman Turkish) and listening to FG's sermons. At the end of the year, if the kid is loyal (this is tested with different and harsh games) and faithful (This is also tested) to the group and his tutor (the university student who is solely responsible from him), then the biggest secret of the movement is offered to him. It is such a big secret that the kid will keep it all his life and won't say a word to anyone even the most important things in his life are on the stake.

Not every kid is introduced to this secret. Only a few of the initial group of 3-5 and sometimes none of them can reach the ultimate end. The criteria are strict at this point: must be smart enough to pass the exams, must be physically suitable, must be a good shakirt, must be very loyal to the movement. All these are checked several times with various tests so that the movement will not be betrayed or things will not go wrong and destroy the entire basket. Then the secret is announced to these special kids.

They will enter military school and they will be soldiers. It does not really matter whether they want to be an engineer or an architect. Since they are loyal to the movement, they obey what their tutor (abi) tells them to do. Then they start preparing for the military school exams, interviews, physical tests. If the boy is too small and weak, he is given fish oil or other supplementary health products in order to make him gain weight. If he is too fat, he is forced to exercise. The interesting thing here is none of these kids knows the other kids. The secrecy is not only towards others, it is also inside the movement. Later in the military school, maybe half of the class is made of shakirts but none will know about the others. Sometimes, two groups of kids come to house and members of the group A does not even know the existence of the group B. They come to the light house at different times, they go at different times, they use the bathroom or the kitchen at different times and they are not allowed to make noise although sometimes it is unavoidable with the kids at the age of 12-14.
Mock interviews are handled by another elder brother. Sometimes he wears soldier uniform, looks very serious and asks kids all sorts of questions that might come in the real interview.
-Who is greater, Kemal Ataturk or Allah? (The answer is “Allah”)
-Do you pray 5 times a day? (The answer is “No, but I go to Friday prayers with my father”)

At the end, the army does not want atheists as much as they don't want extremely religious soldiers. Sometimes a medical faculty student comes to the house and check the boys for the suitability of the military school. This usually happens at the beginning of the year so that if there is something to fix, the responsible abi can take the necessary precautions. Also this is the first elimination process. If a boy has a distorted structure of bones or short of breath (asthma), then it will be known long before that that boy can be only a catalyzor in the group. Of course, if a boy is not qualified for the military school, it does not mean he is useless. Then these boys are guided towards Science schools, police schools, bilingual state schools etc so that the movement can get a strong hold of these schools as well. At the end, the important thing is to win their hearts and to make them live a life of a shakirt. About 80% of these students cannot go to military schools for various reasons. Only 20% can do be physically and mentally ready for such a long and tormenting journey for the teenage kid.

Once the boy enters the military school –I believe every year hundreds of kids from these houses enter the military schools in Turkey if we consider the number of houses in Turkey must be more than thousands-, he is strictly controlled by his tutor abi or someone who has been assigned to the duty.Whenever he has break from the school –usually weekends-, he comes to the light house or meet his tutor outside at a park or at a restaurant. In these sessions, they talk about the events in the school, they read some parts from the red books, listen to some FG tapes, pray and make sure that secrecy is kept under control. These military schools were also controlled by some other abis who have fortnightly meetings with students’ tutors about the problems. I was one of them in my last year at the university and I was responsible from Beylerbeyi Military School, G10. Secrecy was in the house I stayed as well. We did not know each other’s real names, real faculties, real hometowns. We stayed in the same house but we had to work alone when we write reports about each student and their responsible abi. We kept these reports in diskettes (that time there were floppy discs) and hide the diskettes in a place no one can find. We lived in a large, comfortable house but we were not allowed to bring anyone to our house. In fact, in total we had three assisting houses but the member of those houses did not know where our house is located either. We were telling them a location but we were going somewhere very far from what we say.

If we think of these scenario is working in this way for more than 30 years, you can imagine the number of FG devotees in military, in police today. University students are also encouraged to keep a low profile at the school years –not joining any protests, not making a big name on anything- so that once they finish the university, they can take exams at foreign ministry, at justice system. I even had a friend at university who had long hair, always wearing jeans –quite different from general shakirt profile- and joining club activities in university. He was studying International Relations and he was asked to take foreign ministry exams so that movement will have representatives in foreign ministry as well.
Today’s Turkish institutions are full of shakirts from all over the towns in Turkey. It is hard to spot them as they might behave like modern, secular, intellectual individuals. In their private lives, they still keep reading the red books, still listen to FG’s words, still go to meetings with local communities and still obey what their elders order them to do. It is their life and they can put this claim in the boundaries of democracy and personal choice/freedom. Since they constitute majority of police and military force, no one know how strong they are simply because they don’t know each other. It is a military structure in every institution of Turkish life. But in this strictly military structure, the commander is always a civilian, always somewhere from outside, someone who work at a company as an accountant or someone who is an engineer at a car factory or more probably a teacher working at a state school.

Getting back to the three steps, the movement is now somewhere between faith and life. All these struggles in Turkey are the painful birth of the second step from the womb of the first step. They already took the power in many institutions and by cooperating with AKP government, they achieve things they would not be able to think of this quick and this soon. Turkey keeps giving up its secular principles while giving more freedom to Islamic thoughts. If no one stops them, it seems soon the alcohol ban will be announced in all country (it is not good for health so drink grape juice, not wine) with the excuse of health, traffic accidents etc. Who can stop them anyway? Justice is in their hands, soldiers are in their hands, education is in their hands... Then more will be coming. As we are entering the step of life in their calendar, the people with free thoughts, the people with enlightened minds must fight back with any means they can find.
AKP supporters keep saying that Turkish economy is getting stronger and people are wealthier now. But the statistics do not match with what AKP government claims. Still millions of people live under the poverty line with no health coverage, no social security plan. Selling state institutions to foreign investors can boost the economy for a short time but in the long run, an economy needs “production”. Does Turkey produce cars? Do we produce computers? Can we build our own airplanes? If the answers to these questions are “No”, then where the wealth which they keep mentioning comes from? I can tell you. It definitely does not come from the export as trade deficit seems getting larger and larger every year. It cannot be internal power as well as we do not work harder in AKP era. Then the only source is the money comes from FDI, meaning we sell our forests, our resources, our factories, institutions. FG movement is backing these policies as USA is a big supporter of FG, seeing him as a symbol of moderate Islam and neo-liberal economic policies, perhaps not aware of the last step of the movement.

More things can be written about FG movement, more details can be explained. It is now a well-known society with a lot of secrets. With the financial support of middle and upper classes in Turkey and with the moral support of working class, they became a huge power in the country. Now they are threatening the very fundamental principles of the republic. Ergenekon seems to be a camouflage strategy to get rid of anyone who does not support their principles. Today, even in media, the journalists are divided by two main categories: Those who support FG movement openly and those who support FG movement secretly by not writing against it. The remaining journalists are leftist patriots who still believe that Turkey must remain a secular nation, must work on social problems, must solve the Kurdish problem, must create values by producing –not by selling already-existent production units to American investors-, must respect labour as it only creates value.

I hope, I believe or I want to believe that struggles of the enlightened minds in Turkey will bring some change and the whole country will not succumb to the FG movement. Otherwise, soon we will have blacker clouds on our “freedom of speech” and with the proceed to the step 3 (Islamic Law), Turkey will become another South West Asian nation where no alcohol can be consumed, no critics of FG can be written, no woman can drive cars or can go out without a male company… Let’s fight for this and let’s not let these brain-washed people to brain-wash the rest of the country. If we want our kids to live in a peaceful, in a prosperous, in a decent future; we must fight. Otherwise, their green revolution will take over the nation and sweep all we gained in the last 80 years with the principles of the republic.       
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