Monday, February 27, 2012

Muslims using charter schools in Texas to spread their religion?

The New York Times ran an interesting investigative journalism piece back in June of last year laying out the ways in which the charter schools in that state have been used to siphon public funds into the hands of Muslim businesses. The article focuses on the "Gulen movement," named after controversial Turkish Muslim imam Fethullah Gulen, and its ties to the Cosmos Foundation, which runs 33 charter schools in Texas through an outfit called "Harmony Schools."  (Gulen was charged by Turkish authorities of promoting an Islamic religious government there.)

The basic scheme is this: Muslim-run companies are chosen by Harmony Schools for the construction of the new schools over similarly-qualified lower bidders.  The boards of the schools are typically made up of Turkish-born immigrants, and Harmony Schools then uses the federal H-1B visa process to bring teachers over from Turkey.  All of this, of course, is paid for with taxpayer money.

The construction businesses and teachers then tithe to the Cosmos Foundation and other associated Muslim charities, like the Raindrop Foundation.  The Raindrop Foundation, aside from paying for lawmakers to go to Turkey for two weeks and sponsoring a festival honoring imam Gulen, does the following:
The Raindrop Foundation says its mission is to promote Turkish culture in America. It sponsors cooking classes, traditional Turkish dinners and performances of the Whirling Dervishes, a dance group associated with Sufi Muslim tradition. It also organizes an annual Turkish Language Olympiad where 6,000 students, many from Harmony schools, compete in Turkish language, poetry, dance and singing contests.

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