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Just in time for the final stretch of San Diego's race for mayor, the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes is airing a report this coming Sunday about a controversial Turkish spiritual leader, followers of whom, records show, have contributed money to the mayoral campaign of Democratic congressman Bob Filner.

The Muslim scholar, Fethullah Gulen, leads a worldwide movement that has been heavily involved in creating high-tech charter schools around the world and has both backers and detractors.

As we reported in March of last year, Filner visited Turkey in late December 2010, courtesy of a nonprofit corporation called the Pacifica Institute:

"Highlights, according to the itinerary, included a stop at Topkapi Palace, lunch at Sultan Ahmet Square, a visit to the Karakoy Jewish Foundation Museum, capturing '700 years of amiable relations between Jews and Turks,' and a December 25 shopping tour of the Grand Bazaar, 'one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 1200 shops.… Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and the like.'"

Filner took another tour paid for by Pacifica, this one with stops in Istanbul and northern Iraq, in April 2011, according to a travel disclosure he filed with the House a year ago this month.

That trip was said to be worth a total of $3,700, the filing said.

The congressman subsequently wielded a pair of scissors at the 2011 ribbon-cutting for the new Washington headquarters of the Turkic American Alliance, an event videoed and posted on the group's YouTube page.

"California Congressman Bob Filner, who had just returned to the US after a TAA-sponsored trip to Turkey, indicated that the nature of the relationship between Turkey and the US has changed as it was a more military-based tie before," according to a description of the event on YouTube.

"'Now we have to have a people-to-people relationship,' Filner said, adding, 'What you [the TAA] are doing is extremely important, and that is establishing real people-to-people talk.'"

Also in 2011, Filner was featured at a Gulen Institute-sponsored essay awards ceremony for college students, according to the movement's website.

Mayoral campaign finance disclosure data posted online by the San Diego city clerk show that on February 21 of this year Ilker Yildiz of Irvine, listed as "outreach coordinator" for Pacifica, gave Filner's campaign $200; Ferdi M. Ates of Tarzana, California, Pacifica's chief financial officer, gave the Filner bid a total of $400 last June.

(Pacifica's role in Gulen's outreach is chronicled by UC Santa Barbara history professor Nancy Gallagher in her January 2012 book, "The Gulen Hizmet Movement and Its Transnational Activities: Case Studies of Altruistic Activism in Contemporary Islam.")

On February 29, Mesut Inci, branch director of Pacifica's Mira Mesa offices in San Diego, contributed $100 to the Filner cause.

In a video posted last year on the People's Post website, Inci talks about his life's work and inspiration, and Gulen's role in the Pacifica Institute.

"There was a man who inspired me...His name is Fethullah Gulen," Inci says in the video.

Reached at Pacifica's offices today, Inci confirmed he had made the campaign contribution reported by Filner, then said he was too busy to discuss the matter further.

Inci said he would call back within an hour, but did not. We'll update here when he does.

(UPDATE: Inci has called back to say that though he was aware of Filner's Pacifica-sponsored tours of Turkey and Iraq, nobody with the institute had asked him to make a contribution to the congressman's mayoral campaign. The Pacifica branch director says he was motivated to contribute because he liked Filner's position on various local issues.)

In an online preview of Sunday's 60 Minutes story, correspondent Lesley Stahl goes in search of Fethullah Gulen himself, currently an exile living in seclusion on an estate in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania, in an attempt to interview him.

"Will he come out? Will we get to see him?" Stahl asks a Gulen aide.

Viewers will have to tune in Sunday for the answer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l24bCOKXg08

We left messages with Filner's campaign and congressional offices this morning and will update when he gets back to us.

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Comments

Visduh May 11, 2012 @ 8:17 p.m.

Hmmm. "Sixty Minutes" is exposing a Dem? Hard to believe. What's harder to believe is that CBS doesn't seem to care much for this Turkish connection. The current ruling clique in Turkey is heading down that Islamist road that many other nations are on. And that is rather sad in that Turkey was attempting to have a secular society and was doing just that going back to Kemal Ataturk in the 1920's. When/if Turkey slips into that Islamist bloc of countries, it will be a major step backwards, and a repudiation of the desire of Turkey to join Europe and vice-versa.

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info May 12, 2012 @ 8:41 a.m.

Mr. Matt Potter,

Your article says "... a Gulen Institute-sponsored essay awards ceremony for college students, according to the movement's website."

Gulen Institute is not "movement's website" as you suggested. It is a non-profit organization at the University of Houston and aims to promote academic research and grass roots activity that will contribute to positive social change.

The perspectives of the Gülen Institute are inspired by the life and works of the distinguished contemporary scholar, author, and civic leader Fethullah Gülen. The Gülen/Hizmet movement is not centralized; there is no legal entity or office. Thus, mentioning of such " movement's website" is not accurate. The book by Dr. Helen R. Ebaugh, "The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam ", provides research-based data on Gulen and Gulen/Hizmet Movement.

I appreciate your correction on that statement.

Regards,

Ali R. Candir, Executive Director, Gulen Institute

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Mehmet May 20, 2012 @ 12:55 p.m.

Merhaba Ali; THank you for clarifying a few things, it is very proud that you are now President at Gulen Institute at the University of Houston as listed on your linked in profile. Not sure why you would be interested in this article way out west in California about Hocaefendi. I would also like to clarify a few things that you have conveniently omitted and ask a few questions if you dare to suddenly become transparent: 1) Hocaefendi Fethullah Mohammed Gulen only has a 5th grade education, and cannot be called any kind of scholar at all. 2) Dr. Helen R. Ebaugh is another paid academic puppet of the Gulen Movement, who has slipped up more than once in public talks about how "they have charter schools in Texas and they are causing a problem" Try the more unbiased, non- paid for opinions of academics of Dr. Aland Mizell, Dr. Joshua Hendrick, Dr. Dani Rodrik or perhaps the deposition of ex-FBI Turkish translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. 3) I was hoping you could clarify the Gulen Youth Platform Movement and how it is similar to the Hitler Youth Movement? 4) Could you care to comment on the Gulenists operated schools that are being denied? Like Fulton Science Academy, Truebright Science Academy, Mokapu STEM School, Knoxville Charter Academy, and the other 89 denied applications, renewals and expansions? 5) Can you comment on the Gulen Schools worldwide and the identical names of schools that are re cycled like: Zaman, Horizon, Cosmicus and more? http://www.gulenschoolsworldwide.blogspot.com 6) Will you verify the 30,000 inflated waiting list and why Dr. Soner Tarim your Superintendent in Texas of the Gulenist operated Harmony Science Academies changes this number on a whim? in 2009 at a board meeting it was 9-14,000, last year with PBS your organization stated 21,000, with "My San Antonio" newspaper the Charter organization of Texas stated there was 40,000 total kids on a waiting lists for charter schools. Can we have the list submitted to a third party to verify these unsubstantiated claims? 7) Why has the VP of the Texas Teachers Association Noel Candelaria gone on camera to dispell the lie that your h1-b Brehren / unqualified teachers state "There is a shortage of math and science teachers in America" 8) How is it that Turkey's education ranks below standard on the OCED rankings at 32 out of 34 countries (just above Chile and Mexico) that you and your organization profess to know how and why America should be educating their children according to a Turkocentric curriculum with your own contests and exhibits like: Turkish Olympiad, Science Olympiad, CONSEF, Math Matters, I-Sweep, Genius and more. 9) Will you sit down with official in Texas about the bond financing of $90 million and where this money is being wired to?

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SurfPuppy619 May 13, 2012 @ 8:43 p.m.

Saw the 60 Minutes segment tonight-liked it. Still cannot form an opinion of the leader, not enough info-and where there is a lack of transparency there are usually problems not far behind.

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JohnTheGooseHunter June 3, 2012 @ 10:59 a.m.

I always kinda guess where to spot a goose.

Dear Mehmet,

I was very disappointed to see that when listing down all those more "unbiased" academics such as Sibel Edmonds and Dani Rodrik you forgot to mention Dani Rodrik's father-in-Law General Cetin Dogan who is a passionate hater of anyone who is remotely religious, regardless of him being Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Armenian etc. On second thought perhaps you did not actually forget to mention his name but quite conveniently avoided doing so as he has been nicked, with the consent of the Turkish Army, once he was a part of. Are these the kind of people you consider to be unbiased?

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GooseOrdusu Feb. 24, 2013 @ 10:40 p.m.

JohntheGooseHunter; Dear John/Jason/Gitano; And it is equally very easy to spot a brainwashed cult member.

Let me point out how your argument lacks logic:

You state General Cetin Dogan is a passionate hater of anyone who is remotely religious...even though Dogan (a muslim by birth) has a Yahudi (Jewish) son-in-law Professor Dani Rodrik who is very highly regarded in Economics at Harvard and elsewhere.

Your fantasy of creating the boogie man or "Ergenekon", "Sledgehammer" or "sou sou louk" scandals is not overshadowing the fact there is problems in Turkey. Now you have attempted to bring your problems worldwide and into America, with your schools and "moving into the arteries of the system until you reach all power centers" as your Hocaefendi has instructed you. Gotta hand it to the Imam's Ordusu you take your marching orders seriously.

The Gulencis inflitration of Education, Media, Politics, Police, Judicary System and now sadly the Military is drawing to a close. While the wizard Fetos hides behind the curtain in his exiled bunker in the Poconos, PA. Lets not play games about how your only goals are to teach love, tolerance and acceptance. Because if that were the case you would admit openly and proudly that the operators of the charter schools are without a doubt part of the Gulen Movement. Furthermore your cult has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with creating a neo Ottoman Empire where the "Golden Generation" of Gulen will rule. It is about old fashion GREED disguised as good will. The only problem is "no one is buying it"

Your lack of transparency and honesty has caused you to lose over 100 charter school expansions, renewals and applications. Remember Fulton Science Academy? Mokapu STEM School, Abramson Science Technology, Knoxville Charter Academy --just to name a few.

The battle continues, 9 months after this article was written, average Americans are winning against you and have spoken. What Americans are saying is "We don't want you" Remember Loudoun County, Virginia, Lancaster county (Pennsylvania) in Fetos backyard where you will now be denied for a 3rd time, not to mention Alabama, Mississippi and Maine rejected you all together. Additionally the embarassment in Idaho after your Pacifica Institute hosted a State Senate Turkish Friendship luncheon at the State Rotunda. Hopefully Filner won't end up leaving office in shame as your puppet in Idaho Senator John McGee.

Better luck next time Johnny Boy. See you at the next board meeting with 100 more Americans willing to fight you and your cult. Till then keep trying to convince yourself that Gulen is about all the good in the world and that we must be crazy to not accept this.

Till you and your cult can accept that Americans want truth not fodder, we remain diligent

Goose Ordusu.

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KazOrdusu Aug. 15, 2013 @ 12:35 p.m.

As predicted Filner has a sex scandal as the other Gulen Politician puppet McGee in Idaho who was suppose to co host a Turkish luncheon at the state capitol but stepped down from his office with a sex scandal. The only question is why has Filner been allowed to remain despite his admitted inappropriate behavior while the others that "touch Gulen" are scorned out of office. Keep up the nice work John, keep bribing American Politiicans and we will continue to push them out of office.

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JohnTheGooseHunter June 3, 2012 @ 11:09 a.m.

Oh why he was nicked? Let me remind you. For trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Republic of Turkey. His plans included setting up concentration camps within football stadiums where anyone not sharing his views would be "hosted" for as long as the General would please.

Hitler Youth Movement like eh? Are you for real? The man himself is over 70 now and all is talks seminars have been recorded on tapes and paper since early 1970s. All he has been saying is to give peace and dialogue a chance.

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KazOrdusu Aug. 15, 2013 @ 12:51 p.m.

John, John, John, our poor misguided cult member. "All he has been saying is to give peace and dialogue a chance" Oh my son, you have been brainwashed by the Gulen Lighthouse dormatories, seperated from your family at an early age. Let us enlight why Gulen is a liar CULT Mafia organized crime leader. 1) Gulen himself has not done 1 specific thing for peace or peacebuilding. The dialogue or "friendship dinners" that our poor John keeps blabbing about are nothing more than lobbying for Turkey Or rather Gulen's AKP Islamic led Turkey and about teaching spreading "the world according to Gulen" which is part Said Nursi (a Persian) some Ottoman prinicipals, a bit of Sufism- of building another worldwide caliphate via jannisaries (Gulen Turkish schools worldwide) and a large part of Gulen Cultism and organized crime. 2) John and his fellow brethren will blab how Gulen held court with the Pope, the only thing about this PR photo opt it was a 1 time meeting with the late pope (2 popes ago) on the late pontiff's birthday, where Imam Gulen showed up in an Italian Suit not his Imam robes to give the late Pope John Paul a birthday gift....and this was some sort of "peace meeting with the pope" the Pope was senile and sickly at the time and didn't know Gulen from the other Turk who shot him 12 years ago. Why don't they talk about Pope Benedict? or the current Pope Francis? Because of their outspoken remarks about the ugly hand of the Ottoman Empire harming Christians and beheading 800 Italians who refused to convert whereas the Current pope has canonzied these saints. Gulen himself is on UTube calling the Vatican "A den of Snakes and the Pope the viper" 3) If the movement was all about good intentions they why the secrecy John? Why do you keep lying about the schools strong affilation with the Gulen Movement, financial mismanagement, fake H1-b Visas, and multitude of closed schools and scandals. Wouldn't it simply be in the best interest of your peaceloving Hocaefendi to openly declare proudly that you are indeded "part of the Gulen Movement (aka Cemaat or Hizmit)? If you have nothing to hide openly declare this. 4) Gulen has given $10,000 to the Muslims of Mynanar who have systematically slaughtered peaceful Buddhists.

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KazOrdusu Aug. 15, 2013 @ 12:54 p.m.

Gulen is not satisifield with Islam it is the "Gulen's Islam" that no one embraces. His books have been translated into Erdu, Farsi, Arabic, and no one in the Islamic world is buying it. Shortly the Gulen Movement will be rounded up in the USA under RICO Racketeering laws, the IRS doesn't like money laundering, DOL, DHS, DOE, and about 2 other federal investigations. Soon these parasites will be gone, and poor Turkiye will have to deal with the Imam that ran scared into Exile into the loving arms of CIA Graham Fuller the father in law of Uncle Ruslan of the Boston Bombers fame. You know the same Boston Bombers elder Tamerlan who attended Gulens Turkish SChool in Tagistan. It's all comming very clear to Americans. John be prepared to have your computers confisicated and they will be admitted into evidence by the Federal Government. Just Saying.

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gulencharterschools60min July 28, 2012 @ 10:46 p.m.

I would like to add something about gulen charter schools and 60 minutes cbs news. Maybe you can check this blog and get some different perpective: http://horizonparents.blogspot.com/ By the way, I cannot understand why Mr.Gulen is accused to conqurer of US. He was shaking hand with the Pope. He is a muslim. So the reason was to build bridges between the religions and cultures. And we are looking at the people who are behind the anti gulen campaign and so-called gulen charter schools, surprise !! mostly from Ergenekon terror organization in Turkey which is a branch of Gladio in Italy. a kind of dirty deep state ! Wake up please !!!

suggest to watch: http://www.youtube.com/user/gulencharterschool http://www.youtube.com/user/TheConceptSchools

suggest to follow: https://twitter.com/conceptschools https://twitter.com/GulenCharters60

suggest to read: http://us4charters.tumblr.com/ http://www.conceptschools.info/

None

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KazOrdusu Aug. 15, 2013 @ 12:58 p.m.

Horizon parents blog was started by the Gulen propaganda arm they are not "parents" of these students but the Imam's Army in damage control, because the schools are under attack because of lying about grades, fake visas taking jobs from American teachers these are part of their midwest region (the Gulen Movement has 5 regions in the USA) and a Imam in each region collecting Tuzuk money from each one. You can learn what the news has to say about these Schools at http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com (from an ex American teacher and her Turkish Husband that was harmed by the "peaceful movement") or at http://www.horizonparentstruth.blogspot.com

John, think about getting your exit visa before Turkey falls into a full scale civil war, these protests in Turkey by the Secularist peace loving majority of Turkey are growing every day. just saying.

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KazOrdusu Aug. 15, 2013 @ 12:18 p.m.

Congratulations to John the Goosehunter aka the Brainwashed cult leader on losing another Charter School. The Minnesota School of Science was ordered closed by Minnesota Judge, it's never nice to abuse special needs students Mr. Imam Ordusu.

America knows your real plans and any American politician that comes near your cult, accepts bribes, campaign contributions, those silly awards in the blue box or Trips to Turkey is NOW BURNING. Remember "You touch it you burn" Filner down, Schmidt down, McGee Down, etc., The Gulen Movement is great at helping Americans to identify corrupt politicians. http://www.gulenpoliticians.blogspot.com And Join Fellow Americans of all ethnic backgrounds to Stop the IMAM, August 31, 2013 and have a say that our American Tax dollars will not be used to support these schools and human rights abuses in America or Turkey. The Secularists will win John, and you will lose my little IT friend. Since this article Filner is down and joins the latest list of American politicians that touched the Gulen Movement and Turkiye is in the biggest civil protest in over 40 years. The Secularists will WIN!!!! http://www.gulenprotests.blogspot.com

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KazOrdusu Aug. 15, 2013 @ 12:21 p.m.

Goosehunter BTW, Ardem Arici is sitting in Federal prison singing like a canary. "I was sent to Cuba by a religious group, I have the wire transfers to prove it" THe feds love this guy. News FLASH: America doesn't want your second rate education, Turkiye rates below standard in Education on OCED Rankings just above Chile and Mexico.

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KazOrdusu Oct. 16, 2013 @ 12:41 p.m.

This ouster of Gulen Politician Bob Filner among shame and disappointment didn't stop the Gulen Movement from applying for another Charter School in San Diego. Gulenists currently have a application at the San Diego Unified School district for Magnolia Science Academy- The Next Generation. http://www.sandi.net/page/380

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