Does terrorism help Gülen’s Muslim missionaries? A first class revolution from the bottom up

  • KurdishMedia.com - By Dr Aland Mizell
  • 09/08/2010 00:00:00

In May 2010 media outlets and blogs spots across the Internet discussed Bill Gates’ Ten million dollar donation to the Gulen Movement’s publically funded charter schools in Texas whose agenda is to spread his version of Islam. Did the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation not do their homework? Did they know about Gulen’s revolution? In the past Islamic groups have tried methods to impose their authority over people and take charge, but they mostly use force or violence to accomplish that goal. This kind of method gave Fethullah Gülen’s missionaries the advantage to grow fast as an alternative to these seemingly more radicalized Islamic groups. Even as a renowned cleric, Gülen never publically did anything to stop the violence in Turkey or outside of Turkey unless it was going to harm him or his movement. In that case he would come out and make a statement because it would help his group to grow. For a long time, Gülen praised the military for their atrocities in southeastern Turkey, in spite of his knowing that the army was conducting an illegal and dirty war and that there were deep states, but he kept silent because it was good for his cause. He even praised General Kenan Evren for his previous September 12, 1980 coup and said, in spite of Kenan Evren’s human rights violations, that Evren would go to heaven. Also in the past Gülen praised the military and criticized those who condemned the military.

When Kurdish Leader Leyla Zana passed judgment on the military for its dirty war in southeastern Turkey, Mr. Gülen asked Leyla Zana to apologize to the military. Why doesn’t Gülen apologize for all the misinformation he gave? Why can’t he apologize for praising the coup leader Kenan Evren? Why can’t he apologize to people for praising the military leaders who are now on trial? If those generals are guilty of what the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Gülen claim, then he should apologize to Leyla Zana and to the Kurdish people. Long before the Ergenekon case when Leyla Zana made her accusations about the military’s engagement in the “dirty war,” Gülen objected and asked Leyla Zana to apologize to the military including generals because he seems to revere them or perhaps to treat them as holy. If any comments contradict Gülen and his missionaries’ beliefs, they more than likely will take those remarks out of their original context to focus on passages that lead people to trust their movements and to join them. If the facts presented charge that they have done something wrong, then they will ignore those charges. The focus is instead shifted so that his members question the motives of the accusers and say that it is a conspiracy, or they attack the character of the accuser ignoring the facts. Anyone who questions them or challenges their doctrine is automatically targeted and branded as an enemy. There is no concept of open forum or debate. The organization focuses on images of “the enemy” to counter anyone who does not agree with their philosophy. They look for counterarguments but with the assumption that they are the only ones who are right and chosen. If a person is not in the group, he or she is considered to be destined for hell and consequently, in their view, will not make it to heaven because they believe that their Turkish brand of Islam is the only correct way, that they alone have the truth, and that one must join them to be saved. If someone is not on their side, they consider them an outsider and do not trust them.

Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, believed that Islam does not have a place in the affairs of the state and wanted religion and politics to be separated. He initiated a cultural revolution, abolished the caliphate, and replaced the Arabic alphabet with the Latin one; he instituted female suffrage, banned the fez, and altered Islamic law in favor of the Swiss civil code. Ultimately he banned any remnant of the Ottoman Empire. However, today, the Ottoman Empire is back. Now the Ottoman proponents--like Fethullah Gülen and his followers-- want to reverse everything Ataturk did. A variety of Islamic groups have tried various platforms to impose their power over people, but today the twenty-first century tactic of raising up leaders with a radical agenda of reinstating the Turkish Ottoman’s core of Islam under the guise of an educational system is regressing the country toward the pre-republic days.

A lie can be told over and over until it is accepted and believed. This is the case for Gülen’s followers. Under this movement, everything is done with covert objectives instead of with openness and honesty. The leaders hide their real motives and teachings until they know that a candidate is ready to know their actual agenda. When they are convinced that the devotee will do anything for them, they will slowly disclose some of their mission and goals. As absolute proponents of the philosophy that the end justifies the means, they hold that any action or behavior is justifiable as long as it furthers Gülen’s mission, goals and objectives. To lie to others is allowed since they are not serving Allah’s truth but rather Gülen’s. Last week Gülen gave a feta on the September 12 referendum and admonished his followers to vote yes on Election Day. Gülen also said, “I wish we had a chance to raise the dead from their graves to bring them to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum.” This quotation highlights the importance to the movement of a new Turkish Constitution. One should ask Mr. Gülen if he has ever read the new Constitution or if he knows what is in it. If he has read it, did he ever consider why so many people are against it, including those who have been affected by the one that the military drafted? Or is it because the new Constitution gives a free ride to Mr. Gülen and his missionaries? Someone should ask Mr. Gülen why he has now declared the military as the number one enemy and why his news media has targeted the military. But now, he and his media have declared the army the number one public enemy and even claimed that the army is collaborating with the PKK. What rational person will believe this claim of Mr. Gülen, who only praises those who agree with his opinion even though he is not consistent with his word? Is it only people who follow him who will go to heaven as he teaches? For example, Mr. Gülen always praised the late President of Turkey Turgut Ozal and the late Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. Why? It is because Ozal saved Gülen’s missionary schools from being closed in Central Asia, where Gülen gained international power in terms of finances and manpower because many students who have graduated from Gülen’ school are either in America or in power in their home countries. When Ozal was the President, he took a 12- day trip and went to the Central Asian countries and obtained promises from the heads of state not to close the schools because especially Uzbekistan President Kerimov had determined to close all Gülen’s schools. Gülen knew that if one state closed his schools, that it would affect all other states, so president Ozal saved them and kept Gülen and his movement in power. From that time Central Asia has been the heart of the Gülen movement. Regarding the late prime minister Ecevit, Gülen believes that he has gone to heaven too because he also saved his schools from being closed in Turkey in 1997. Bulent Ecevit testified to the military and others that Gülen‘s schools were not a danger and that Gülen himself was not a threat to the secular movement. Those two figures—Ozal and Ecevit-- played significant roles in Gülen’s gain of power both in the domestic and worldwide arenas. That is why Mr. Gülen cannot ignore the deeds they accomplished for him and deems them in heaven now.

Why does America support Gülen’s missionaries in Central Asia and around the globe and even in the US? After the collapse of the Soviet Union the balance of power in the world changed, and more than 15 countries got their independence from the Soviet Union. There was a gap in power in the region seeking to be filled; additionally, most of these newly independent countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan were rich with the underground resources of oil, gas, gold, and other materials. However, a void for religion developed as well, so there was a competition among an Iranian brand of Islam, a Saudi Arabian version of Islam, and Gülen’s missionaries to fill the void. The US government gave its support to Gülen, because it mistakenly believed that Gülen‘s missionaries were less harmful compared to the Iranian Islamic movement Hezbollah, Saudi‘s brand of Islam Wahhbism, or other fundamentalist groups. The US thought that Gülen’s movement could be managed in the right way by using it to suit America’s purposes. Because many naively believe that Gülen’s preaches nonviolence and dialogue between the western and Muslim worlds, they let their guard down and fail to see behind his proclaimed agenda. They fail to understand that he is incrementally moving toward a return of the Islamic state such as the Ottoman Empire undertook. That is why when Gülen applied for a green card, he could not get it. Then some ex-CIA officers gave him reference letters for his application to demonstrate that he was a safe immigrant. Prior to this attempt, when Gülen could not get a green card the first time, he was looking for a place to go; if the US did not grant him a visa, he would have gone to China to continue his undercover operation. Gülen’s missionaries are trying to build the same platform as he used in Central Asia in the US by opening many NGOS, charter schools, Turkish cultural houses, and interfaith dialogue forums. In addition, he brings students from Central Asia as graduate students to teach in universities or to obtain official positions, opens TV channels and newspapers, organizes trips to Turkey, establishes Rumi forums, and holds conferences so that soon he will exert more influence in the US as well. Because he is wearing a moderate Islamic mask and because he is using education, he is perceived as less dangerous and therefore as an alternative to fundamentalism, but let’s see how long this honeymoon lasts between Gülen and America. America fails to understand that in the Middle East Gülen’s missionaries will be a future threat to the American national interest. Presently they do not have enough power to stand against America, but when they gain power, they will make their true intent known. They will be a threat to the American national interest; it is just a matter of the right time and power. The difference between Gülen’s missionary group and other Islamic groups is its focus on education and technology. By using the platform, they ensure that those who join them are wholeheartedly pledging their allegiance to the man and his cause and thereby avoiding direct conflict and arguments between the state and themselves. In the meantime the movement has placed its loyal members in various government agencies. Gülen and his followers are thirsty for power, because with that power, they will be able to do anything and to accomplish their objectives. They will not publically condemn or praise the other fundamental groups who use force to gain power. Because they know they are competing with the various powers first to gain a presence in the US and then to augment their influence, the movement enjoys being seen as the rational alternative to the overtly radical groups. However, simultaneously as Gülen extends his command in the US, he looks to enlarge his movement across the globe and to give an alternative to the West and to America to support his movement rather than those that use force to advance their cause. Gülen knows the West and America cannot be an enemy with Islam because of the world’s political climate, but that they want some kind of modern Islam that will embrace peace and not violence. But what the West’s leaders do not understand is that Gülen’s missionaries are one of the most dangerous forces against world peace. In 1999, in his speech, he advised his missionaries not to act until gaining all the power of every constitutional organization in Turkey and continues to his methodical plan there under the current Turkish administration. Now he is advancing this strategy in the West and in America.

But with his undercover methods, his leadership mostly avoids violence or direct confrontation with governments. One of Gülen’s methods of indoctrination is to focus on how to keep secrets and not to tell the truth, because Gülen’s missionaries teach that followers have to know the truth, but they cannot tell the truth anywhere or anytime, which means that his followers cannot tell their real goal. They can deny their actual purpose, and they do not tell that they are missionaries or that they disseminate Islam. For example, many of his followers did not wear the headscarf in Central Asia when they first went there because people would not be as attracted to them; consequently, Gülen ordered his female followers not wear the headscarf. Another example is that when the students were asked if they prayed five times a day, they would deny it, and they will not pray in front of their students. Now they are advancing their movement in Europe and in the US with different methods but still lie about their main objectives. They openly read Gulen’s and Said Nursi’s books, but do not reveal the plan to return to the Ottoman’s Quranic law. They believe Islam allows them to lie because they are in Dar al- Harb (at war) with infidels since Islam does not dominate in the region until they acquire enough power. Like a Trojan horse, they surreptitiously enter the territory but still act completely in the interest of the missionaries in order to help take over the agencies they are working inside of. In the beginning of the early 1970s, Gülen’s missionaries begin their undercover operation and over time made a significant breakthrough, so that his missionaries have taken over significant arenas in Turkey. Gülen’s agenda is not limited only to Turkey, but he aims to conquer the whole world. During the early time of Islamic history, Mohammed ordered all Muslims to have a good relationship with Jews because in that time Jews were in charge of commerce and were powerful, but after he got enough power, then he fought with them to establish an Islamic domain. Before that shift Muslims were praying toward Jerusalem, but then later when they got power, Mohammed changed the direction of prayer to Mecca.

Today Turkey is increasingly polarized between Turkey’s Islamic ruling party of Islamic Muslim missionaries (Gülen’s movement), the country’s old elites and the secular military. Secularists are trying to keep religion and politics entirely separate. His administration engages in ongoing battles to take control of the media, police, judiciary, and key government actors and remove them from the control of the secularists and military power.

Actually the large share of the country’s media, police, and secret service already are pro-government. Today the AKP and Gülen’s missionaries are rewriting the Turkish Constitution. The drafting of the new document is in the hands of Gülen and party loyalists. The Turkish Constitution should be rewritten entirely, but to be inclusive for all members of society regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, and political view. Does the new Constitution deal with Turkey’s political problems? Will the new Constitution reduce the 10-percentage threshold for the Kurdish and other political parties to have seats in Parliament? Or does the new Constitution give too much power to the Prime Minister? The Prime Minister controls the Parliament, the Judiciary, and the Executive branches, so he has total control of all branches of the government. Known as the Red Book, the National Security Policy Document (MGSB) lists threats to national security and provides guidelines for the military in domestic conflicts. The new Constitution removes religious communities--the Islamic fundamentals like Gülen’s movement and other sects (the Nursi movement and other Islamic movements), who are trying to overthrow the secular government-- from the list of threats. With their methodical plan the Gulenists have succeeded in their revolution by targeting the military, increasing the violence, taking over the media, filling the bureaucracy with their own people, infiltrating the military and police, and gaining leverage over universities as well as using Europe and America to try to gain long-term global power. Now that the military’s force is gone, no one has a check and balance on that power. An understanding of the history of the two sides and their relationship to one another makes it easier to comprehend Turkey’s polarization. By spreading the conspiracy theories in Turkey, the government can construct an artificial need for it to control. Out of nowhere Turkey suddenly experienced a spike in PKK attacks resulting in many deaths. Israel and the military became the main suspects for causing the violence. Because the government wanted to get the Arabs’ oil money for Turkey and to show Islamic leadership, it blamed the military in order to get rid of the military’s dominance and have a civil military, so that the present administration would have total power. By taking Iran off the Red Book list, it pretends to be friends with Iran, but in reality they are still enemies of each other. Gülen never wanted a super powerful Iran because both Turkey and Iran compete for Islamic leadership in the Middle East. The only reason they are friends is because of a common enemy—the Kurdish people. Interestingly, the two threats to domestic security that remain on the list are “reactionaryism” and “separatism,” both aimed at the Kurds. Turkey has strengthened its relation with Iran, so that its neighbor will fight with the Kurds as Turkey does. The same is true with Syria. However, Gülen and the AKP party know that if they want to be a leader in the region, they must solve the Kurdish problem, a complex dilemma.

An educated person will understand that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power because Gülen’s missionaries gave their votes to the AKP party. When Mr. Gülen claims, “We are the same distance with all the parties,” a reader must be blind not to see that the Zaman newspaper sounds like the State media or one owned by the AKP. If Mr. Gülen shows the same distance to all parties as he claims, did he ever talk to any of Kurdish party leaders or members? Or did any of his members ever vote for one candidate of these Kurdish parties? When the AKP came to power the first time, it did not show its tie to the Gülen’s movement or its real face in sharing the goals and objectives of Gulenists. Instead they deceived the people leading them to believe that the government is modern and democratic, but after gaining power, they have begun to show their real face. First, by getting rid of the big media companies and fining them with heavy taxes and driving the Dogan media to the edge, they revealed their agenda. In addition, they gave the entire contract to those companies that are close to the Prime Minister or to Mr. Gülen, for example, Calik Gurubu. The government puts people who are against the Gülen’s missionaries in jail by fabricating charges and making themselves appear to be the true and democratic representative of the people. Further, they got rid of opposition, for example, the CHP leader Deniz Baykal, who always challenged AKP corruption cases. Yet, the AKP believes Allah chose them, so they cannot make mistakes.

Gülen and the AKP party want to be the leader of the Muslim world and are trying to get the sympathy of the Arabic public by showing it, “Look, your leader failed to show support for Palestinians and proved unable to show muscles to Israel, so we are doing that now.” by this posturing they hoped to get Arabs to invest oil Money in Turkey and gain support of Muslims in Turkey to ensure own reelection. By changing policies regarding their neighbors such as Iran and Greece and saying that they have zero problems with their foreign policy, they improve their relations with them. However, there is war going on the domestic scene and also with the military. For example, anyone who questions Gülen is treated as rebellious and not trustworthy. The current government is not democratic or tolerant. Being rational or using critical thinking is not allowed and considered as sinful or rebellious. Individual thinking is not welcomed except for Mr. Gülen’s. According to the Qur’an, a leader should be a servant of those he leads. But Mr. Gülen’s missionaries exalt Gülen rather than Allah or Mohammed. Mr. Gülen’s mouth says that he is humble, but his heart wants his followers to obey him in whatever he says. For example, if Gülen does not like pride, why would he have his organization named the Gülen Institute? Islam requires a person to be humble, but they believe that obeying Allah and obeying Gülen or his movement is the same thing. Because they are submitting themselves to Gülen since he is absolute, and obeying him and his teaching, this submission is equal to obeying Allah. In the process the followers become looked upon as the anointed apostles. No one dares to object to Gülen’s view because their complete allegiance leads him or her to believe that this cleric never makes mistakes. Even if a person is smart, he or she fears that moving away from Gülen’s control will result in rejection, punishment, loss of salvation, condemnation to hell, guilt, and a sense of betrayal of the community.

Gülen’s missionaries are working hard to elect a Turk to the American Congress. This is their goal and objective. In 2007, the movement received over ten million dollars from Microsoft Mongol Bill Gates for the Texas High School Project assisting the Cosmos Foundation with its 25 publically funded charter schools in Texas alone. In the last five years, the US arm of the movement has set up the ATAA (Assembly of Turkish American Association), TCA (Turkish Coalition of America), and TC-USAPAC (Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee), and have formed charters schools, cultural centers, and NGO’s. America is a great country; anyone who qualifies can get elected, but my question is, “How many foreigners who somehow get Turkish citizenship can be elected to the Turkish Meclis (The Grand National Assembly of Turkey)? Even setting aside prejudices, a rational person should not like the one- sided asking for rights and privileges in the US which in Turkey are not granted to foreigners. There they even close parties such as the Kurdish party, and many Kurdish leaders are on trial and being subject to severe intimidation. There must be a mutual exchange, and it is time that the Us leaders should be frank with Turkey because there is no trace of reciprocity.

Dr. Aland Mizell is a regular KurdishMedia com writer and is with the MCI. You may reach the author via email at: aland_mizell1@hotmail.com

  • KurdishMedia.com - By Dr Aland Mizell
  • 09/08/2010 00:00:00