|Alp Aslandogan, Ph.D.|
CBS 60 minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl (LS) is interviewing Alp Aslandogan (AA), President of Institute of Interfaith Dialogue in Houston, Texas regarding the ideas of Fethullah Gulen on education:
LS: Let's talk about the schools, because there are so many "Gulen-inspired schools" in the United States now. Would you call Mr. Gulen an educator?
AA: I would call him an education advocate in the sense that he motivates people, he has been motivating everybody basically to do something about education: If you are a young person choose education as your career, if you are a parent get more involved in your child's school, if you are a business owner or a professional help a school.
LS: So, you build schools but not mosques, this movement. Is that right?
AA: Gulen's message was that education was more important than building places of worship.
LS: So building schools is more important than building mosques?
AA: Right, yes.
LS: That's his message.
LS: So, if a Turkish national is in the United States and involved in starting a school, is it safe to assume that they've been inspired by Gulen?
AA: There is a likelihood, a good likelihood, that they will be inspired by Gulen, because of his emphasis on education.
LS: And does he encourage people in Turkey to go abroad and start schools?
AA: He does encourage people to go abroad in general.
LS: And start schools?
AA: Well, education is at the center of this movement.
LS: Now, here is a fear that people have: That these "Gulen schools" are an insidious backdoor way to convert people to Islam... (AA smiling) ...that they are secret madrasas.
AA: That can only come from somebody who doesn't know these educational institutions.
LS: Is the Islamic religion thought anywhere in any of these schools?
LS: None of it.
AA: None of it.
LS: What about the teachers? Do they take the kids aside and talk to them about Islam, off to the site?
Related Video: CBS 60 minutes: Fethullah Gulen promotes democracy