Greg Mortenson work in Pakistan under the media investigation of CBS “60 Minutes” news program. ABC air and published the content of Mortenson email he wrote to its supporters, defending the work of the Central Asia Institute.

Greg Mortenson, author of Three cups of tea is in the focus of American media this week. After CBS “60 Minutes” questioned his humanitarian work in Pakistan, he answered with an email to its supporters, that was published in the ABC online article.
CBS “60 Minutes” almost one year investigation includes complaints from former donors, board members, staffers, and charity watchdogs about Mortenson, the way he is running his non-profit organization.
CBS Web article on “60 Minutes” investigation questions over Greg Mortenson’s stories, told they found “serious questions about how millions of dollars have been spent, whether Mortenson is personally benefiting, and whether some of the most dramatic and inspiring stories in his book are even true.
“As those of you who know me and have supported my work over the years will recognize, the story being framed by ’60 Minutes’ to air in a few hours today — as far as we can tell — paints a distorted picture using inaccurate information, innuendo and a microscopic focus on one year’s (2009) IRS 990 financial, and a few points in the book ‘Three Cups of Tea’ that occurred almost 18 years ago,” Mortenson wrote in the email today, published on ABC Web page article today.
ABC Web page article Three cups of tea author denies “60 Minute” publish segments of Mortenson email for CBS News program on its work in Pakistan. In an e-mail sent today to its supporters, Mortenson writes CBS “60 Minutes“ program on his work “distorted picture using inaccurate information”, explains ABC in the online article written by Kevin Dolak and Dean Schabner.
They wrote that CBC “60 Minutes” aired today alleged “ that the story is a fabrication and that Mortenson uses his charitable organization as a “private ATM machine”.
Mortenson wrote in its e-mail “The Board of the Directors and I made the very difficult decision to not engage with “60
Minutes” on camera, after they attempted an eleventh hour aggressive approach to reach me, including an ambush in front of children at a book signing at a community service leadership convention in Atlanta”.
According to CBS News, Mortenson dismissed their “initial request for an interview last fall, and our follow-up messages and e-mails over the past two weeks have gone unanswered. So we decided to seek him out at a speaking engagement and book- signing in Atlanta”.
In the ABC online article of today, Mortenson wrote: “It was clear that the program’s disrespectful approach would not result in a fair, balanced or objective representation of our work, my books or our vital mission”.
CBC “60 Minutes’ included various sources to support their question mark on Mortenson humanitarian work and building the schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They include the opinion of Daniel Borochoff the president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.
Borochoff explains, “The Central Asia Institute’s financial statements show a lack of transparency, and a troublesome intermingling of Mortenson’s personal business interests with the charity’s public purpose.
According to the documents, the non-profit spends more money domestically, promoting the importance of building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan than it does actually constructing and funding them overseas.
CBC “60 Minutes” investigation on Mortenson work questions the number of schools its foundation Central Asia Institute build in Pakistan and “found that several principals of a number of schools allegedly build and founded by CAI where empty or built by others, while several school principals said they had not received money from CAI in years”.
According to the website of the Central Asia Institute, co – founded by Mortenson and Jean Hoerni, “the non-profit has established more than 170 schools and helped educate more than 68,000 students, with an emphasis on girls’ education”.
Three cups of tea by non-profit activist Greg Mortenson and globetrotting journalist David Oliver Relin is an extraordinary and inspiring book that gives example of individual engagement and fight against terrorism in the remote parts of Pakistan.
It brings a simple story about complicated Pakistan history and even more perplexing present days. Mortenson visited Pakistan because he wanted “to scale K2, the summit most climbers consider the toughest to reach on Earth, and leave his passed away sister Christa’s necklace there at 28,267 feet”, wrote in the book introduction Oliver Relin.
“After a failed 1993 attempt to climb K2, Mortenson arrived in Korphe exhausted. In this impoverished community of mud and stone huts, both Mortenson’s life and the lives of northern Pakistan’s children changed course”, wrote co-author of this book David Oliver Relin.
While recuperating in the Korphe, Mortenson saw that this village was “far from the prelapsarian paradise of Western fantasy” because nearest doctor was a weeks walk away and out of every three Korphe children died before reaching their first birthday”.
It was more than promise when he said he would build a school without realizing that this will change his life more than detour from K2 Mountain.
This promise was given long before the start of the war on terror but gradually become the essential part of Mortenson personal fight against radical Islam in the tribal areas of Pakistan through education.
For Morthenson, the only way to defeat terrorism is to “build relationship with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business”. He challenges religious vs. balanced education and “goes to war with the root causes of terror every time he offers a student a chance to receive a balanced education, rather than attend an extremist madrassa”.
By 2001, is indicated in the Three cups of tea, World Bank study estimated that at “least twenty thousand madrassas were teaching as many as two million of Pakistani students on Islamic based curriculum”.
The rise of extremism in the Taliban populated area in Pakistan is a consequence of madrassa education. According to the Lahore based journalist Ahmed Rashid who is writing on the links about madrassa education and the rise of extremist Islam “estimates that more than eighty thousands of these young madrassa students became Taliban recruits.

Mortenson and Oliver Relin find that “15-20 percent of madrassa students were receiving military training along with curriculum that emphasized jihad and hatred of the West at the expense of subjects of like math, science and literature”.
In the Three cups of tea, two authors give explanation on the Wahhabism and define it as a “conservative fundamentalist offshoot of Sunni Islam and the official state religion of Saudi Arabia’s rulers”.  “Wahhabi” means “generous giver” in Arabic, one of Allah’s “many pseudonyms”.
“And it is this generous giving” – the two authors compare and conclude “the seemingly unlimited supply of cash that Wahhabi operations smuggle into Pakistan, both in suitcases and through the untraceable hawala money – transfer system-that has shaped their image among Pakistan’s population”.
The large amount of money that comes from the oil finished in the “most virulent incubator of religious extremism – Wahhabi madrassas”, mention Mortenson and Oliver Relin.
Mortenson criticized the Western media for running for the exclusive stories on Taliban and looking for “local color to fill out their stories about bland press-conferences”. “I tried to talk about root causes of the conflict-the lack of education in Pakistan, and the rise of the Wahhabi madrassas and how that led to problems like terrorism-Mortenson says in Three cups of tea.
He is disappointed that the real cause of the conflict rarely is on the front page of newspapers and other media. “But that stuff hardly ever made it important. They only wanted sounds bites, about the top Taliban leaders so they could turn them into villains and run up to war”, concludes Morthenson.
What this book is praised for is the message that education is a powerful tool for the poverty as a recruiting ground for terror.  Mortenson has strong belief that “literate Mullahs control vast swaths of rural, illiterate Pakistan and Afghanistan and their edicts remain supreme. As soon as a society is literate, the Mullah is disempowered and cannot disseminate false information”.
I often tell people, “The Mullah is not afraid of the bullet, but fears the pen”, comments Mortenson. I can agree that Mortenson activities in Pakistan are important and he is giving the opportunity through his non-profit foundation to the children of Pakistan to have balanced education as the best way to get out of poverty.
Education could be more powerful way to fight terrorism and religious radicals and that is the key message that I extracted from the Three cups of tea book. “If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else-Mortenson argued to Parade’s readers, “then we will be no safer than we were before 9/11. If we truly want a legacy of place for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not a bombs”, advises Mortenson.
Three cups of tea book is also a good source of information for life, culture and habits of people in Pakistan.
My Pen Pal, Stevo Pendarovski from the University American College in Skopje has a dilemma about fruitfulness of the individual efforts in the fight against radical Islam. He states that “personal commitment is praiseworthy and unfortunately it could be too lengthy and too ineffective at the end”.
Pendarovski has no doubts that “education is the best possible way to counter keeping the people ignorant and voiceless”.
Despite personal efforts a need of systemic and sustainable way is needed “to pull out the people out of darkness”. Pendarovski analyses that “Pakistan is not doing that properly”. According to him, “Turkey is much better when approving the curriculum and checking on the personalities of the religious teachers”.
Having Macedonia as example, my Pen Pal looks back few years ago when we had “an attempt of establishing religious education in the primary schools, but state has badly failed in the early stages”.
“Government has deliberately sidelined itself in the process of selecting the teachers who were proposed directly by the religious authorities”, says Pendarovski. He comments, “What we got during the courses was a process of “producing” believers in their early ages instead of introducing the kids to the main religions in the world”.
“Fortunately, the Constitutional Court have annulled the law and restored secularism”, concludes Pendarovski on the presence of the religion education in Macedonia educational system.