Bizarre Accusation in Colorado GOP Senate Primary

A Colorado Springs county commissioner, who's considering entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, is again alleging that President Obama backed a national education program, in part, as a way to establish U.S. charter schools linked to a Turkish Islamic cleric.

"One of the reasons that President Obama was actually looking at and amenable and actually kind of agreeable to, if you will, Common Core was, that would be a way to influence and infiltrate and open up charter schools to able to have the Fethullah Gulen charter schools, which were bringing teachers over from Turkey," said El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton Monday on KLZ 560-AM.

Littleton did not cite her evidence for this, but it reflects what she said at a conservative conference in March, as reported by Scott Keyes of ThinkProgress.  It's not clear what Common Core, which is an education curriculum, has to do with establishing charter schools in the United States.

Followers of the reclusive Gulen, many with Turkish ties, have opened charter schools worldwide over the past decade, including over 100 in the U.S.  They focus on math and science, in keeping with Gulen's notion that devout Muslims should not teach religion but science instead. "Studying physics, mathematics, and chemistry is worshipping God," he sermonizes, according to a CBS investigation.

CBS discussed allegations that the Gulen schools are exploiting foreign-born teachers and the charter-school system for profit--and that the schools are secretly "promoting an Islamic agenda."

CBS interviewed a teacher who claimed she was exploited, but CBS couldn't confirm the accusations regarding Islam, reporting that "we looked into this and Islam is not taught at all."

But Littleton implies that religious education is taking place at a Colorado charter school, which she allegedly visited, with ties to Gulen.

Littleton: "When I went in, it was apparent to me that the some of the pictures and things had been taken off in the walls. And they practiced, you know, some of the Muslim practices that are taught in the Koran, is what I observed when I was there."

In March, Littleton told ThinkProgress that these charter schools teach students to "hate Americans." When I hear back from Littleton, I'll ask her about this, too.

Three Republicans, including Littleton, are considering the race. Talk-radio host Dan Caplis is "very serious" about a run. And Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is thinking about entering the race.

State Sen. Ray Scott is rumored to be a likely candidate. Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg has stated that two or three other candidates are considering the race. And State Rep. Jon Keyser is rumored to be considering the race.

Arapahoe County DA Charles Brauchler, Rep. Mike Coffman, and State Sen. Ellen Roberts all considered running for the GOP nomination but have withdrawn.

Here's Littleton discussing Obama and education on KLZ Dec. 9:

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