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On his visit to a new Turkish-funded mosque in Lanham, Md., Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erodogan said his government chose the site because of its location in “free territory.”

He said when he attended the groundbreaking of the 15-acre, $100 million mega-mosque  that the Turkish-American Cultural Center likely will become “the largest and most striking examples of Islamic architecture in the Western hemisphere when finished in 2014.”

But those seemingly innocuous words are alarming to a number of analysts, including former Palestinian operative Walid Shoebat, who says the West doesn’t realize the significance of what Erdogan was saying.

Shoebat said Erdogan’s true mission is to claim the land for Islam, and the evidence is in his words.

“The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers,” Shoebat said, quoting Erdogan.

“The West is unaware that in Islam, a mosque is an embassy and Turkey is acting stealthily, which is why the project is not arousing much alarm,” Shoebat said.

Islam analyst and Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller agrees. Most Americans don’t know that the plans showcase Turkey’s long-held territorial dream, she said.

“The Turks are trying to restore the glory of the Ottoman period. They may be staking a claim to be the leaders of Sunni Islam worldwide, as they were in the days of the last caliphate,” Geller said.

Clarion Project intelligence analyst Ryan Mauro noted that Turkey’s influence is largely under the radar.

He said Turkey is quietly spreading its influence in the U.S.

Shoebat said the Turkish plan coincides with a plan by Fethullah Gulen, reported by Der Spiegel. Gulen is an operative who has been establishing charter schools around the U.S.

Shoebat cited a statement from Gulen: “Move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers. Until the conditions are ripe, they (the followers) must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere.

“You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power. Until that time, any step taken would be too early – like breaking an egg without waiting the full 40 days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside.”

WND reported in February 2011 that Gulen was the leader of a 27-state, 100-charter school network that subtly teaches the students to hold a favorable view of Islam.

Koinonia Institute President Steven Elwart believes the indoctrination is subdued but intentional.

“There is a certain amount of an Islamic-centered slant to their teaching. One place they really start bringing in the slant is through their after-school programs and what they call their outside programs,” Elwart observed.

“For example, they’ll have Turkish festivals and the kids can compete in making costumes, writings and the like. Many times the prize for these in these competitions is a cultural trip to Turkey,” Elwart said.

Elwart believes that the Gulen charter schools are going largely unnoticed by the American public.

Mauro wrote in an analysis of the event that it’s significant that two members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups were also in attendance, Naeem Baig, president of the Islamic Circle of North America, or ICNA, and Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA.

A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo lists ICNA as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The memo says its “work” in America is “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”

Mauro noted the memo even refers to meetings with ICNA in which there was talk about a merger.

ISNA was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, the largest Islamic terror-funding trial in the history of the U.S.

Shoebat saidt Erdogan’s ambitions clearly extend past Maryland.

“But this is not only in Maryland that Erdogan’s narcissism and fascination with mega mosques is manifested. It appears to be moving toward allowing Hagia Sophia, now a museum, to be opened as a mosque, which only demonstrates his desire to present himself as Muhammad II who defeated Christianity,” Shoebat said.

“While the quietness of Erdogan’s stealth activities in Christendom’s arteries is understood; the deafening silence of the Western Christians is not, unless … the callousness and the falling away of Christians worldwide has reached it’s fullness and the sick man of Europe is about to rise from the dead and take Christendom’s historic glory,” Shoebat said.

“Erdogan through much deception is fulfilling one of his spiritual mentor’s dreams, Sheik Maulana Nazeem Kibrisi. While Turkey paints its version of Islam to be Sufi, which the West deceitfully believes is moderate, the Sufi scholar was found in Turkish speaking with the fervor of Adolf Hitler,” Shoebat said.

Kibrisi was no small-time Sufi. In a speech given in Germany more than a decade ago to Turkish students, with tens of thousands gathered – including Erdogan present, Kibrisi said:

Glory and blessing to the Lord of the two worlds who is the cause of these days. Definitely, the victory belongs to Islam. This flood of people here is a sign of the rise of the glorious Islam. Do they not think that this a great sign? When the great sign appears [Mahdi] the world will shake.

Our forefathers made the earth tremble. This gathering is a memento from our forefathers. … You are the grandsons of the Ottomans who will make the world tremble again. If the Ottomans do not come back the unbelievers will never be brought down to their knees … history is made of recurrences, certainly our glorious era has come, the day being born belongs to Islam … as long as we have Allah we do not need America, nor do we need the unbelievers in Europe, nor do we need the unbelievers nor will we go their path.

Shoebat said that while the West is putting its attention on Iran’s president, Turkish leadership is filling in the gaps.

“While the West over-focused on Iran’s Ahmadinejad and his aspiration to usher in the Twelfth Imam, the West believed the myth, that Mahdism with it’s messianic aspiration was only restricted to Shia, yet, our two-decade old prediction that Turkey desired to take the realm of Islamdom has now become reality with Mahdism to soon follow,” Shoebat said.

“Erdogan’s desire to fulfill Kibrisi’s dream of the ‘rise of the glorious Islam’ is not only some rhetoric by an imam who has gone mad, it is the metamorphosis of Erdogan’s Ottoman dream, which reflects Kibrisi’s Sufi spirit expressed during his victory speech,” Shoebat said.

“Today, no serious historian or political analyst can deny it, even the cooperation of the United States to help create such an empire is confessed by historians who are beginning to see that the powers, which held this Ottoman Humpty Dumpty were taken out of the way,” Shoebat said.

“Erdogan tells the more than 50 Muslim states O.I.C (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) a remarkable statement, it was not that Jerusalem is the apple of God’s eye, but that Jerusalem is the apple of the eye of every Muslim,” Shoebat said, referring to Erdogan’s statement.

“This was no rhetoric. Erdogan plans to visit Gaza to bolster Hamas to take power. But how will he do this without being detected by Israel’s radar that will cry out ‘foul’? What is coming soon I predict will be headline news that Erdogan will arm-twist Hamas to recognize Israel and even bring Israel and Egypt for a peace party in Cairo in which by peace he will deceive many,” Shoebat said.

“After all, who could say no to peace?” Shoebat said.

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