Objectives of charter schools with Turkish ties questioned


Date posted: August 18, 2010

Greg Toppo, USA Today

USA Today made a story on some public schools, which are called as Gulen charter schools. Mr. Greg Toppo sent Gulen some questions, which Fethullah Gulen responded through an intermediary. Below are Gulen’s answers to questions.

Q: Would he reflect on his connection to the U.S. public charter schools inspired by the Gulen movement?

A: First of all, I do not approve the title “Gulen Movement” given to the civil society movement that I call “volunteers’ movement.” I see myself one of its participants. There might be some educators who have listened to or read my thoughts on humanity, peace, mutual respect, the culture of coexistence, and keeping the human values alive, and have come to the United States for various reasons and work at private or public schools. In fact, I have heard from the media that there are such educators.

I have no idea about the number of such educators in the United States. My relation to them is not different from the one between me and any academician working at a U.S. university who may somehow value my thoughts. Those are individuals whom I do not know personally, though they may be familiar with and may think that they benefit from my books and speeches.

Q: Does he take pride in the schools, which are quickly multiplying and are generally high-performing?

A: I do not have specific knowledge about the schools which are referred to in the question, nor about their academic successes. If they are successful in contributing to human well-being, love, social peace and harmony, I would applaud that. Indeed, I wish any activities contributing to the shared human values to be successful, whether they are in the field of education or any other fields of human endeavor. I do not differentiate between ethnic or religious backgrounds in this concern. This is a consequence of my being human.

Q: How does he feel about the school leaders’ recent assertions in the U.S. press that the schools have “no organic connection” to Mr. Gulen or the movement?

A: I do not regularly follow the U.S. press. It is well-known that I have no relation with any institution in the form of ownership, board membership, or any similar kind. For many decades, I have expressed my ideas and opinions about social issues facing humanity. Many people have listened to my speeches and read my works. I do not approve that those who are familiar with and share these ideas and opinions to any extent, or the institutions they work at, should be viewed as connected with my person.

Source: USA Today, August 17, 2010, http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-08-17-turkishfinal17_CV_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip


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