A New Kind of Lobbyists: Kurdish Lobbyists versus Turkish Muslim Missionaries Lobbyists in the USA  (Gulen’s Missionaries)

Kurdishaspect.com - By Dr.Aland Mizell

There is an old phrase that says ten people who speak make more noise than a hundred thousand who are silent. For many years in the United States, Armenian lobbyists and Greek lobbyists were more effective than Turkish ones.  The American and European Union publics have always taken the opposite position on issues related to Turkey, such as on the Armenian genocide, Cypriots issues, Kurdish issues and human rights, among others. However, lately this leaning has changed. Today Fethullah Gülen has taken advantage of American and Western democracy to use its strengths for his own good trying to change the Western and the American image of Turkey. In other words, Gülen is trying to defeat the Western and American culture with their own weapon of democracy turning it against them. For example, lobbying in democratic systems is the right to influence legislations, a right that is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:  Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to petition the government to address their need. Therefore the protection assumes that people should be involved in the decision-making process that will affect them. It is a political fact that the American capitalist system of government is one which relies on lobbying within the American traditional political system. It is considered a political value and thus legitimates manipulating the government as well as Congress for achieving a political, economical, cultural, or social view. This kind of political system allows for its weakness of being manipulated by lobbyists and interest groups. The ideas of lobby legitimacy and legality of lobbyists are rational as long as they serve the interest of the American people. By contrast, the Gülen lobbyists serve an ideology that wills to rule the world and thus does not serve the American people’s interest but instead jeopardizes American national security, interests, and subsequently world peace. Gulen’s followers offer scholarships targeting minorities, especially African – American college students who want to study in Turkey. His supporters use the race card to target African Americans because of the historicity of slavery, and they claim that Islam does not welcome slavery and that there is no racism under the tenets of Islam.  Using that rationale to recruit Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and other minorities in the USA, Gülen also notices that the African- American community is on the rise in its place in the American society. However, back in early 90s during his first trip to USA, Gülen claimed that America would be destroyed by the African – Americans. Now, however, racial dynamics have changed, particularly solidified by the election of President Obama.

Since Gülen is exiled to the USA from his home country because of its charge that he attempted to overthrow the secular government of Turkey, Gulen’s community in the USA takes a more active role in lobbying activities, spurred by his presence. Of course before the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) with its Muslim government came to power, Gülen did not get support from the Turkish secular government. Rather, his movement was under scrutiny by a government operating under Ataturk’s secularism. But today under the Islamic AK Party the relationship is different because President Gull and Prime Minister Endogen publically called Gulen’s followers “Ottoman soldiers” who go everywhere.

A rational person will ask what kind of history does Gülen teach at his schools? The Turkish government gives more than 3 million in endowment grants to leading American universities trying to buy academic freedom from the dark passage of the Armenian genocide. According to most historians, Armenians were massacred in a deliberate extermination of program by the Ottoman Empire during World War II. So at his schools Gülen teaches revisionist history by giving grants to many leading universities in the United States to ensure that they also teach a revisionist history that this genocide never happened, that fewer Armenians died, and those did because the Armenians first revolted against the Turks, resulting in a tragic civil war. Also according to his revisionist history, Turks never denied Kurdish rights; it is all the Kurds’ fault. Turks never did anything wrong, because the Ottoman Turks were angelic and sinless, the most peaceful empire. As such, it should be established, he argues, once again, this time not by using the sword but by using the pen. The pen would include lobbying activities carried out by an independent civil society of organizations such as NGOs, taking advantage of democracy in its freedom of speech and celebration of equality, trapping the unsuspecting in interfaith dialogues under the face of tolerance although he himself is not the most tolerant person, and using, in addition to interfaith dialogues, Turkish cultural centers, Turkish cultural associations, the Rumi forum, the Niagara Foundation, business associations, the Interfaith Institute, cooking classes, newspapers, a television station, magazines, and Hollywood. In addition, he has infiltrated the U.S bureaucracy, the CIA, the FBI, NSA. Other key tactics are using high profile people as spokespersons, such as Bill Clinton, holding conferences to promote his ideas, although he never invites the opposition who will object his position to these conferences. Further, every year he brings his followers  from Turkey and Central Asian countries to study as undergraduate and graduate students in the  USA and directing them to receive scholarships at the prestigious universities to disseminate their Islamic mission. Gülen knows that they cannot achieve these goals in Turkey. They can only be achieved under the Western and American democratic systems. Gülen has opened more than 90 charter schools in almost every state in the USA. One wonders why? What kind of history do they teach?  What is their purpose? The list of schools follows:

Arizona

Schools Operated by Daisy Education Corporation
Sonoran Science Academy-Tucson    Middle-High School        2325 W Sunset Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741
Sonoran Science Academy-Tucson    Elementary School         2325 W Sunset Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741
Sonoran Science Academy-Broadway Kindergarten - Grade 8    6880 E Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85710
Sonoran Science Academy-Phoenix   Kindergarten - Grade 10   4837 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85008
Daisy Early Learning Academy                                2325 W Sunset Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741
Davis Monthan Air Force Base *Opening 2009*

Arkansas

Lisa Academy         
Lisa Academy-North   

California

Magnolia Science Academy 1              Magnolia Science Academy 2              
Magnolia Science Academy 3             
Magnolia Science Academy 4             
Magnolia Science Academy 5             
Magnolia Science Academy San Carlos
Momentum Middle School                  
Bay Area Technology School (Bay Tech)   
Pacific Technology School-San Juan      
Pacific Technology School-Santa Ana    

Colorado

Lotus School for Excellence    

Florida

Orlando Science Middle School  
River City Science Academy      
Sweetwater Branch Academy      
Stars Middle School            
Georgia

Fulton Science Academy              
Technology Enriched Accelerated Charter High School   

Illinois

Science Academy of Chicago        
Chicago Math and Science Academy  Secondary School   

Indiana

Operated by Concept Schools, Inc.

Indiana Math and Science Academy  

Louisiana

Abramson Science and Technology   
  
Maryland

Chesapeake Science Point    
Massachusetts

Pioneer Charter School of Science  
Missouri

Brookside-Frontier Math and Science School    
Brookside Charter and Day School              

Nevada

Coral Academy of Science-Las Vegas                 
Coral Academy of Science-Reno Secondary School    
Coral Academy of Science- Reno Elementary School   

New Jersey

Bergen Arts and Science Charter School                
Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology               
Tuition Schools
Pioneer Academy of Science                           
                           
Ohio
Operated by Concept Schools, Inc.

Horizon Science Academy-Cincinnati      
Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland        
Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland        
Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland        
Horizon Science Academy-Columbus        
Horizon Science Academy-Columbus        
Horizon Science Academy-Columbus        
Horizon Science Academy-Dayton                                       
HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY - DENISON      
HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY -   
HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY - TOLEDO        
Noble Academy-Columbus                  
Noble Academy-Cleveland                                              

Oklahoma

Schools operated under the Cosmos Foundation, TX.

Dove Science Academy-OKC Secondary
Dove Science Academy-OKC Elementary School    
Dove Science Academy-Tulsa                    

Tuition school affiliated with Raindrop Turkish House

Bluebonnet Learning Center of Tulsa   
Pennsylvania

Truebright Science Academy  
Tuition School:
Snowdrop Science Academy    
Texas

Operated by The Cosmos Foundation

Harmony Science Academy-
Harmony School of Science-Austin 
Harmony Science Academy-North Austin 
Harmony Science Academy-Beaumont 
Harmony Science Academy-Brownsville 
Harmony Science Academy-Bryan/College Station
Harmony Science Academy-Dallas  
Harmony Science Academy-Dallas
Harmony Science Academy- El Paso   
Harmony Science Academy-Fort Worth
Harmony Science Academy-Grand Prairie   
Harmony Science Academy-Houston
Harmony School of Excellence-Houston 

Harmony School of Innovation-Houston  
Harmony School of Science-Houston   
Harmony Science Academy-Northwest  
Harmony Science Academy-Laredo   
Harmony Science Academy-Lubbock   
Harmony Science Academy-San Antonio   
Harmony Science Academy-Waco   
Texas Gulf Institute Career Center   Adult
Riverwalk Education Foundation, Inc.

School of Science and Technology
School of Science and Technology-San Antonio  
School of Science and Technology-Corpus Christi

Tuition schools affiliated with Raindrop Turkish House

Bluebonnet Learning Center of Houston  
Bluebonnet Learning Center of Dallas   
Bluebonnet Learning Center of El Paso  
Utah

Beehive Science and Technology Academy Secondary School  
Wisconsin

Wisconsin Career Academy     


Sun Tzu, a famous Chinese philosopher said, “Those who do not know the plans of competitors cannot prepare alliances. Those who do not use the local guides cannot take advantage of the ground.’’ Gülen knows who his enemy is and knows how to manipulate and take advantage of the ground. I believe the Kurds could do the same thing as long as they stop giving petty excuses and blaming each other for political reasons. The Kurds must be united for their common good; otherwise they will lose this opportunity as well soon. If they are not active now, when will they be? The Kurds have more reasons to be active. Why cannot the Kurds be active like Gulen’s missionaries are?  Kurds have gone through so many atrocities, and much injustice, cruelty, oppression, and denial of the right to live like the rest of humanity. Once in his State of the Union address to the Mexican people in 2007, President Felipe Calderon said, “Mexico does not stop at its border; wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.” This should be true for all the Kurds as well. The region of Kurdistan does not stop at its border; wherever there is a Kurd, there must be a Kurdish region. Wherever Kurds go, whatever they do, they should represent the Kurdish culture and interests. Every Kurd should bring a Kurd from the home country to the West or to America because in the home country they are being blocked by the regimes, so we need to encourage them to expatriate Kurds so they can speak for Kurdistan freely. One of the way Kurds will be more successful in terms of lobbying is for Kurdish students who study in the West or in the USA at least is to write essays. It should be a requirement that they should chose topics that relate to Kurdish social, political, economical, and cultural issues. Also, professors could give them opportunities to present their essays to classroom. Kurdish students will have an audience, and I believe they can make a friend and even make friends with the professors, inviting them to their houses, telling the story of oppression and cruelty, particularly how they emigrated to the USA or to the West, because most of the Kurd have good testimonies to tell the West and Americans to win them, to encourage them to be on their side, unlike many other immigrants, and thus an advantage the Kurds have over the others. Mr. Qubat, the Kurdish representative in Washington, D.C., gives a petty excuse. He wrote in his blog, “Much has been written of late in newspapers across Kurdistan about the Kurdish lobby, or lack thereof. Before we start analyzing whether or not one exists, we should take a step back and ask ourselves if we know what one is or not! We should also stop comparing ourselves to the Jewish lobby or the Armenian Lobby, as these lobbies have been active in the U.S. for well over half a century” I would like to remind Mr. Qubat and other Kurds that it is true that the Jewish lobby has deep roots in American politics and has been here for many decades, but Gulen’s missionaries came in 1999 after the Kurds. A large group of the Kurds came to the USA during he first Gulf War although some came before that. How many Kurdish institutes do they have in the U.S?  How many Kurdish cultural centers are there in the USA? How many Kurdish conferences have been held in the USA? How many grants have been given to professors to study the Kurdish history and languages? How many Kurdish students have been brought from the Kurdish region to study in the U.S.A., so that they could be one of the lobbyists? How many Kurdish TV channels have opened in the USA? How Many Kurdish NGOs has been formed in the USA? How many NGOs have been set up to help the Kurdish people in Kurdistan? How many annual Kurdish day parades are held?  How many times have Kurds invited dignitaries, professors, and law officers to dinner or to parties to introduce the Kurdish history and cultures as well as narratives of oppression, cruelty and injustice? How many professors, legislators, or civic leaders have taken trips to the Kurdish regions?  How many Kurdish professors teach in the top ten American universities? How many times Kurds have used high level officials to perpetrate their ideology, such as the former President Bill Clinton, the former Secretary of the States Madeline Albright? It is true that everything needs money. Surely the Kurdish regional government has enough oil money to fund those areas that I mentioned. Gulen also did not get any support from the government, but only from the people who follow him. Former President Clinton said that pessimism is an excuse for not trying and a guarantee for a personal failure. It is important for Kurds to direct their anger and frustration towards problems, not toward each other and to focus their energies on answers not excuses. A unity of feeling and thought are essential among the Kurdish people’s strength; any disintegration of political and cultural moral unity may lead to weakness. Kurdish people should never make the differences of thought and opinion a means of conflict. Kurds should not tolerate the separation of the Kurdish people into camps that destroys their unity. Does tolerance of political and cultural division mean closing one’s eye to the Kurdish nation’s extinction? Politics is the art of managing a country’s affairs in ways that please the people, protect them from oppression, and rules them based on justice for all. Good politicians are the ones who are characterized by adherence to the superiority of laws and grant rights to the people based on their merit, not based on kinship or obligation even giving them delicate job to manage without their experience or ability. Laws should be effective all the time everywhere and for everyone, and those enforcing the law should administer in a just, kind, and equal way to all so that the public will have trust in them and be secure with them. One cannot speak of good government where these qualities do not exist.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. Kurds must work hard to lobby making sure the people are taking these rights seriously. One of the most important things that destroys the Kurds as a people is that they are simple minded toward those who would deceive them while pretending to be their friends. Kurds should not believe every promise and should not be misled by everyone who gives advice with a smile. For example, Gülen wants to solve the Kurdish problem within the Islamic context, which means he is using Islam to justify his means, saying Islam forbids racism and that we are all Muslim regardless of our race, color, etc. but at the same time, he will argue that God has chosen the Turkish people to carry the banner and represent true Islam.  His followers never dare to talk about the Kurdish question. Thanks to the European and Kurdish Diaspora pressing Turkey to recognize that there is a Kurdish nation, Kurds are not “mountain Turks” but they are Kurds. Also, the Diaspora helped Turkey for the first time ever recognize that there is a Kurdish problem that needs to be solved. For a long time Gülen and government officials were silent and denied that there is such a Kurdish problem.

There is another trap waiting for Kurds, which is the Islamic card. Gülen is already using it to recruit many Kurds to his movement. The Islamic regime’s treatment of the Kurds will not be any different from previous regimes’ treatment of them. Under the previous regimes Kurds did not have problems as long as they denied that they were Kurds and this factor will be the same under the Islamic regime. As long as you do not say, “I am Kurd,” you are welcomed with no problems. Today in Turkey the Kurdish Parliamentarians were democratically elected by the Kurdish people and given a victory, but the Muslim administration is not happy and is using intimidation to attack and put the Kurds in jail one by one, charging them in court, financially and spiritually harassing the Kurds trying to lower their morale, so that they will give up. They are using many kinds of tactics to justify their means. Purposefully working on a plan to bring in the Kurds, Gülen wants his circles to discuss the Kurdish issues rather than Europeans or any other scholars. If today Kurds are somehow known in the international arena is it because Kurdish lobbyists have carried out many important activities concerning Kurdish issues. Because many of Kurds who moved to West were already older and had a hard time integrating into the Western culture, it is important to bring the younger generation into the political arena. The Kurdish government should fund the lobbyists, so that they can focus on doing lobbying. Kurds should work together, not just individuals. The Kurdish problem in Syria should be same problem as that of the Kurds in Turkey or Iraqi Kurds. I believe nothing is impossible for the Kurdish people to accomplish; there are always ways that lead to everything; if Kurds have enough will, they should always have sufficient means, not excuses. 

Dr.Aland Mizell is with the MCI, aland_mizell1@hotmail.com




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