Saturday, July 19, 2008

On the Gulen School in Sarajevo

On my recent visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the Institute of Interfaith Dialog we visited the Gulen inspired school in Sarajevo. The building above is the new school building that is scheduled to open in September.

According to our guide, the school itself began in the middle of the Balkan civil war (1992-1995) while Sarajevo was under siege. Seven men from Turkey, inspired by the teachings and Fetulah Gulen, entered Sarajevo through the tunnel (middle picture) under the airport that Bosnian Muslims dug to provide food, medical supplies, weapons and ammunition to the residents of Sarajevo while they were under bombardment and sniper attacks from the Serbian army.

According to our guide, the seven Turks did not enter the city with any weapons. Their only desire was to help the children that were beseiged, suffering, and orphaned by giving them a modern education. Pictured below on the left is one of the original seven men who started the school (unfortunately, I lost my record of his name), in the center is our guide, Ahmed, and on the right is David Goin, superintendant of the Public Schools in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Today, the Gulen school is the only school in the city that is fully integrated. Public schools keep children segregated by teaching the Muslim and Christian students at different hours of the day.

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