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A Concert of Music Honoring Armenia in South Florida

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Bal Anat 50th Anniversary Tour Coming to South Florida

Yvonne’s School of Dance and the Salimpour School of Dance present:

Bal Anat performing,
“Bal Anat: 50th Anniversary Tour”
April 21st, 2018

At the Performing and Cultural Arts Theater of Broward College South Campus – Bldg. 68B,
7200 Pines Blvd.
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

Doors open at 7:00pm, show starts promptly at 7:30pm.

Advanced Ticketing recommended: www.SalimpourFormatInFlorida.com

Bal Anat—the longest-running belly dance company in the world—will present an evening of traditional, folkloric, and fantasy belly dance, celebrating 50 years. The groundbreaking and globally-influential company was created in 1968 by Jamila Salimpour, who drew from her experience as a performer with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Under the direction of master choreographer and dancer Suhaila Salimpour, the evening’s performance will include dance tableaux from the Middle East, North Africa, the Anatolian Peninsula, and Persia. The company includes more than 25 performers, hailing from across the United States, Canada, East Asia, and Europe.

Director Suhaila Salimpour notes, “Bal Anat was innovative from the very beginning.” She adds, “My mother’s groundbreaking presentation was the first to integrate dancing with and balancing a sword. She also popularized dancing with a water pot, with snakes, and dancing on glass water goblets.”

The performance will coincide with workshops taught by Suhaila Salimpour, at Kirova Ballet Academy, 1955 E. Hallandale Blvd., Hallandale Beach, FL 33009. Workshop Registration: www.salimpourformatinflorida.com.

About Bal Anat:
Originally created in 1968 for the spectacle and wonder of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Northern California, Bal Anat is now the longest-running concert-length belly dance show in the world. Founded by belly dance innovator, Jamila Salimpour, as a truly unique and exciting entertainment experience, the company is name for “Bal,” the French word for a dance gathering, and “Anat,” an ancient Mesopotamian mother goddess: Dance of the Mother Goddess.

About the Director, Suhaila Salimpour:
Suhaila Salimpour is a highly-acclaimed belly dance performer, teacher, and choreographer. As a teenager, she began integrating the Middle Eastern dance passed on to her from her mother, Jamila Salimpour, with her own extensive training in ballet, jazz, tap, and American street styles. After working as a professional belly dance performer in the Middle East for over 10 years, she established her school and certification program in the United States in the late 1990s. She has choreographed hundreds of dances, from the classic to the avant garde, and was nominated for an Isadora Duncan award for solo performance in 2005. Her methods and approach to teaching belly dance is a true artistic breakthrough: a revolutionary technique that has elevated belly dance practice and performance. Her technique and methods are now used by dancers in all stylizations, and the Salimpour School is one of the most respected and influential schools of belly dance in the world.

City of Tallahassee Planning Commission Mulls Vote on Controversial Charter School with Ties to Turkish Islamic Cleric

By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Political Contributor

October 1, 2013

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TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing today on a proposal to build a controversial charter school, Stars Middle School, at 3607 Thomasville Road in Tallahassee, reported FLArmenians.com.  Stars Middle School is part of an international network of Muslim schools operated by the “Gulen Movement,” a reference to the cult-like nature of followers of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. An Islamic political figure, author and religious scholar, Gulen is a Turkish citizen who has lived in self-imposed exile in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania since 1998.

Although the process in Tallahassee is currently held up due to the school’s inability to file the necessary paperwork, the current controversy surrounding the city proposal has centered on community concerns of traffic impacts, safety, and city zoning jurisdictions, according to a report by WCTV.  The Planning Commission has received over 200 calls and emails in petition to the proposed school, WCTV says. However, a closer look at the shadowy network reveals a deeper process at play, most likely unknown to Tallahassee city officials or residents.

THE MOVEMENT IN AMERICA

The Gulen movement’s network of schools can be found in a dozen countries across the globe. Here in the United States, the Gulen movement – a network of Turkish and Azerbaijani businessman, scientists, engineers, and Islamic religious figures – has propped up 140 schools in 26 states. Texas tops the list with 40 Gulen-connected schools, followed by Ohio with 30. However, the schools have been had difficulty in some states, such as Arizona and Utah, where financial troubles, shady business dealings, and revelations of genocide denial have prompted citizen advocacy groups, teachers and parents to question their merits.

fethullah gulen

A parent of a student at Sonoran Academy, a Gulen school in Arizona, told the Tucson Weekly, “We found one document, in Turkish, that talks about the purpose of these charter schools,” says the parent. “They refer to them very explicitly as schools (belonging) to their movement. They’re calculating, and they say if they can have something like 600 schools, then every year, they can produce 120,000 sympathizers for Turkey.”

“I sent my kids to this school because I wanted them to meet regular Muslims and to see them as ordinary people,” she says. “But when I find that my kids are to be turned into genocide-deniers, that’s very disturbing to me,” the parent told Tucson Weekly.

The parent, who spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, was referencing the 1915 Ottoman Turkish Genocide of 1.5 million Christian Armenians in World War I. Over 20 countries and 43 U.S. states recognize the Armenian Genocide, as does a host of respected historians, such as the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the ultimate academic authority on the Holocaust and genocide.

In Utah, Beehive Science & Technology charter school faced multiple issues. Muhammet “Frank” Erdogan, a Muslim from Azerbaijan and the principal of Beehive, was the center of controversy when he “questioned conventional accounts” of the Holocaust and fired a teacher for not revising the lesson plan on World War II, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Beehive was ultimately shut down because it “continuously failed to meet ‘accepted standards of fiscal management,’” according to the Desert News. “This is a case of chronic business mismanagement,” Brian Allen, chairman of the Utah State Charter School Board told the Desert News, after the school lost thousands of dollars.

One of the main problems is that the Gulen schools are funded by U.S. taxpayers, to the tune of millions of dollars in some states. Furthermore, the Gulen schools spend those American tax dollars to bring teachers over from Turkey, paying all legal and immigration costs, as well as their salaries. Even when American teachers are hired, they are typically paid less than their Turkish counterparts.

Florida has its history with Gulen schools too. Last year, Daily Broward reported that Riverside Science Academy had hired Broward County Democratic Party Chairman Mitchell Caesar to lobby the Broward County School Board on its behalf. The proposal for Riverside Science Academy in Margate did not materialize, as the necessary paperwork was also not filed in time.

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The Gulen network’s rise has caught the attention of federal authorities as well. In 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the charter school network and their leader, Fethullah Gulen, were under federal investigation by the FBI and Department of Labor. Although he resides in Pennsylvania, citizens there have pushed back as well. In July of this year, locals held a protest in Saylorsburg, PA to “Stop the World’s Most Dangerous Islamist.” Another slogan of the protest reads “Stop Cheating of American Taxpayers.”

“I’d be shocked if Floridians knew the true intentions behind these schools and willingly opened their wallets to pay for their construction and for non-U.S. citizens to come to America and teach Holocaust denial to our kids,” stated Margaret Atayants, FLArmenians Tallahassee Officer.

TALLAHASSEE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING TONIGHT 

The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission hearing is set to take place today, October 1, 2013, at 6:00 PM at Tallahassee City Hall, Second Floor. The proposal for Stars Middle School, Ordinance Number 13-Z-26, is scheduled for debate this evening, according to the Commission’s website. The website also includes a recommendation below the proposal to adopt the ordinance and approve building the Gulen school in Tallahassee. However, a spokesman for the Commission informed FLArmenians on the morning of the hearing that debate on this issue has been continued to the November 5th meeting.

***UPDATE –  The Tallahassee Planning Commission continued debate on the ordinance to the following meeting on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM. The status of the ordinance is not yet clear. However, the recommendation to adopt the proposal has been removed from the Commission’s website.

Floridians are encouraged to call and/or email the Tallahassee City Planning Commission, as well as Tallahassee Mayor John Brooks, and voice their opposition to “Ordinance Number 13-Z-27,” a proposal to build the Gulen-linked Stars Middle School in Tallahassee.

OPPOSE ORDINANCE NO. 13-Z-27

City of Tallahassee Planning Commission

–       Call (850) 891-6400 and/or Email by clicking here.

Tallahassee Mayor John Brooks

–       Call (850) 891-8181 and/or Email by clicking here.

Florida’s tax dollars need to be spent wisely, not on mysterious charter schools run by an Islamic cleric in Pennsylvania. There are plenty of qualified teachers here in Florida.

This story was updated at 12:25 PM on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 to reflect the postponement of the hearing.