Writing in The Washington Times, Columbia University professor Abraham Wagner discusses the two diametrically opposed faces of Fethullah Gülen, whose modus operandi is based on “kuzu postuna bürünmek,” or “putting on a sheep’s fur.” Wagner explores the dangers behind the cleric’s teachings, activities in the United States, and connection with Turkey’s failed coup attempt:
Mr. Gulen, a Muslim cleric from Turkey, with an elementary education only, is a mysterious fellow. In cables divulged by WikiLeaks, the U.S. Department of State described Mr. Gulen as “a ‘radical Islamist’ whose moderate message cloaks a more sinister and radical agenda.” He is reputed to be worth roughly $25 billion, although no one seems to know from where he earned this tidy sum. Most notably and despite the Department of State’s perspective, he espouses principles of tolerance and multiculturalism. Yet upon deeper investigation, he is a true, dyed-in-the-wool Islamist who wishes to transform the United States and Turkey into Shariah states.
As the proprietor of the largest network of charter schools in the United States, Mr. Gulen receives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Active investigations into the financial malfeasance of the Gulen schools are ongoing in Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio and other states, this, in addition to an active investigation by the FBI. According to state and local law enforcement reports, the Gulen Movement, in collusion with various nonprofit organizations and companies directly linked to the Gulen Movement, are playing a sort of shell game with taxpayer funds. Gulen schools pay high rental fees on properties owned by Mr. Gulen, construction and renovations of Gulen facilities are performed by Gulen businesses and vast sums are spent on facilitating the entry of young Turkish men to the United States.
From a geo-political standpoint, an expanded investigation will uncover what the U.S. Department of State already knows of Fettulah Gulen — that he is “a ‘radical Islamist’ whose moderate message cloaks a more sinister and radical agenda.” It will also likely go far to exposing Fettulah Gulen’s fomenting the overthrow of the Turkish government, which, if successful would move Turkey in a direction inimical to U.S. interests. Clearly, the United States doesn’t need a Gulenist regime ruling over this key NATO ally in a crucial part of the world.