If you ask Muslim cleric Fetullah Gülen, as well as some former president Clinton, the form of Islam the religious leader is preaching is moderate. It's completely compatible with the West and especially the U.S. In other words, it's not radical. But if you ask those who have studied him, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Then you watch some of the videos of him before coming to the U.S. and you're heart drops. And then you realize that he's targeting children -- and that taxpayers are paying for some of his endeavors.
Gülen, who's originally from Turkey, came to the U.S. in 1998 for medical reasons. Since then, he's set up shop on a sprawling 25-acre compound in Saylorsburg, PA. From there, he runs a worldwide Islamic movement. A movement that some say proves he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
"It's not just a religious movement; it's the Fetullah Gülen movement. They call themselves that. So it is, you can say, a cult. It is a highly personalized movement," Ariel Cohen, a Middle East analyst with the Heritage Foundation, told CBN News's Erick Stakelbeck.
"This is clearly the world according to the Koran, the world according to Islam, the world according to Fetullah Gülen," he told CBN News. "But what he's talking about is not the caliphate, is not the sharia state--he calls it the New World Islamic Order."
Considering some tapes that surfaced after Gülen came to the U.S., that trepidation may be correct. Shortly before leaving Turkey, he had this to say in a secret sermon:
"You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers...You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it..."
"You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey … Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all in confidence. Know that when you leave here -- as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here."
As if that wasn't worrisome enough, recent documents from Wikileaks show that American officials have been worried Gülen could be targeting children across the U.S. Currently, he runs about 125 Gülen charter schools spread out over 25 states. One of those schools in Philadelphia receives about $3 million annually in taxpayer money. In 2005, one U.S. embassy worker expressed concern about the schools:
"We have multiple reliable reports that the Gülenists use their school network (including dozens of schools in the U.S.) to cherry pick students they think are susceptible to being molded as proselytizers," U.S. Embassy officials in Ankara said in a 2005 report.
"And we have steadily heard reports about how the schools indoctrinate boarding students," they said.
Recently, Stakelbeck tried to tour Gülen's facility and interview the man. He wasn't allowed direct contact. Still, he talked with plenty of people who are familiar with Gülen's movement and who say it is far from moderate. You can watch that report below:
Read Stakelbeck's full reporter here.