Date posted: March 19, 2014
CBS 60 minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl (LS) is interviewing Alp Aslandogan (AA), President of Institute of Interfaith Dialogue in Houston, Texas regarding the ideas of Fethullah Gulen on education:
LS: Let’s talk about the schools, because there are so many “Gulen-inspired schools” in the United States now. Would you call Mr. Gulen an educator?
AA: I would call him an education advocate in the sense that he motivates people, he has been motivating everybody basically to do something about education: If you are a young person choose education as your career, if you are a parent get more involved in your child’s school, if you are a business owner or a professional help a school.
LS: So, you build schools but not mosques, this movement. Is that right?
AA: Gulen’s message was that education was more important than building places of worship.
LS: So building schools is more important than building mosques?
AA: Right, yes.
LS: That’s his message.
LS: So, if a Turkish national is in the United States and involved in starting a school, is it safe to assume that they’ve been inspired by Gulen?
AA: There is a likelihood, a good likelihood, that they will be inspired by Gulen, because of his emphasis on education.
LS: And does he encourage people in Turkey to go abroad and start schools?
AA: He does encourage people to go abroad in general.
LS: And start schools?
AA: Well, education is at the center of this movement.
LS: Now, here is a fear that people have: That these “Gulen schools” are an insidious backdoor way to convert people to Islam… (AA smiling) …that they are secret madrasas.
AA: That can only come from somebody who doesn’t know these educational institutions.
LS: Is the Islamic religion thought anywhere in any of these schools?
LS: None of it.
AA: None of it.
LS: What about the teachers? Do they take the kids aside and talk to them about Islam, off to the site?