Just a short drive on a two-lane road from the Dunkin' Donuts here, the Golden Generation Retreat Center hardly seems like the home of one of the world's leading Islamic thinkers.
A metal gate at the driveway stands open, and no fences or walls protect the 25-acre property from suburban homes and rolling hillsides nearby. Officials recently invited their neighbors to celebrate the opening of a three-story meeting center and share a Thanksgiving feast.
"They're friendly people," said Rod Schreck, 74, who lives within walking distance.
"Put it this way," his wife, Maxine, 69, said, "they're better to us than we are to them."
Still, mystery surrounds the center's most famous guest, Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish imam who has lived here for 11 years after arriving in the United States for medical treatments. Gulen practices Sufism, a mystical form of Islam that requires strict religious observation, austerity and abstinence, according to one of his more than 60 books.