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Protesters gather at Pa. home of Turkish cleric

July 13, 2013

SAYLORSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Scores of protesters at the northeastern Pennsylvania home of a Turkish cleric accuse him of secretly promoting a radical Islamist agenda.

Fethullah Gulen advocates interfaith dialogue, free enterprise and science-based education.

But Saturday’s protesters in Saylorsburg allege that his moderate message hides a secret agenda to replace Turkey’s secular government with an Islamic theocracy.

Organizer Jack Levent says Gulen is the “biggest supporter” of the leading political party in Turkey.

Cleric spokesman Alp Aslandogan (As-LAN’-doh-gun) says the protest is based on “misperception” and that Gulen is a proponent of democracy with no ties to the government.

Protesters in Turkey in recent months have expressed discontent with what they say is the gradual erosion of freedoms and secular values during the current prime minister’s 10 years in office.

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