…..Several countries have outlawed the establishment of Gulen schools within their borders – - including Russia and Uzbekistan. Even the Netherlands, a nation that embraces pluralism and tolerance, has opted to cut funding to the Gulen schools because of their threat to the social order.
In recent years, Gulen has established over 140 charter schools – - all fully funded by U.S. taxpayers allegedly as a means of indoctrinating American students in his militant ideology.
“Under the pretext of being qualified teachers hundreds of unqualified disciples are brought from Turkey to the United States with an H1B visa to work at these schools,” Mr. Yilmaz says. “These teachers are to return 40% of their salaries to the movement in cash which then funds the movement. This way not only is the funding of the movement illegal but also tax fraud is committed.”
The thirty-four “Gulen-inspired” Harmony Schools throughout the Lone Star State have been established at an annual expense to Texas taxpayers of $68 million. The schools are operated by the Cosmos Foundation, a mysterious non-profit corporation with headquarters in Houston. In an interview with this reporter, Sonar Tarim, the superintendent of the schools and a member of the Cosmos Foundation, said: “We have no ties to Fethullah Gulen or his movement.” While Mr. Tarim admitted that the schools participate in the Turkish Olympiad, an event organized by Gulen, he expressed surprise that all of his schools were constructed by Turkish construction companies that reportedly are affiliated with Gulen and his movement.
Mr. Tarim insisted that very few teachers in Harmony Schools hail from Turkey. Yet the Cosmos Foundation has obtained H-1B visas for more than 1,136 Turks to come to Texas to teach in the Harmony Schools. He maintained that the Harmony Schools are not related in any way to the Bluebonnet Learning Centers, which represent yet another chain Gulen charter schools in Texas. Yet the Bluebonnet Learning Centers were located within the Harmony Schools and information about the centers remained posted on the Harmony website until the conclusion of the interview.
Mr. Tarim said that he and all Harmony teachers are certified by the Texas Board of Educators. Yet Mr. Tarim himself is not certified for his position as a school administrator. He further said that Turkish nationals are not in control of the Cosmos Foundation and the Harmony Schools. Yet every member of the board of directors for the Cosmos Foundation is a Turkish national, and all members, save one, of the board of directors for the Harmony schools are Turks.
“From 2008 to 2010, the Labor Department certified 1,197 H-1B visa requests from the Cosmos Foundation — more than double the number of visas certified nationwide for Texas-based computer company Dell USA and about 70 percent as many as were certified for tech giant Apple Inc.
…..The visas are intended to attract foreign workers with skills that are in short supply among American workers. Harmony has about 290 employees working on H-1B visas, or 16 percent of its workforce, according to Superintendent Soner Tarim. Most are Turkish, said Tarim, who is also from Turkey.
…At Harmony, Tarim said the charter network finds a shortage of qualified teachers in math, science and English as a second language sometimes prompts them to hire foreign workers. He noted that Harmony’s focus on science and math means particularly high recruiting standards in those areas….Nearly a third of the H-1B certifications received by Cosmos actually were for jobs outside those fields, however. Labor Department data includes visa certifications for legal counsel, accountants, assistant principals, public relations coordinators and teachers of art, English and history.”
In light of the fact that the Texas Education Agency spent several months in 2011 conducting an audit of roughly $540,000 in “inadequately documented” federal grant funds received by the Cosmos Foundation, can they be trusted with over 50 times as much taxpayer money?