Fethullah Gülen & the Movement of Volunteers in the Media

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Fethullah Gülen & the Movement of Volunteers in the Media"


1 Fethullah Gülen & the Movement of Volunteers in the Media Recent news and comments Compiled by Dialoog Academie (September 2010)

2 Contents Introducing Fethullah Gülen 1 A brief biography of Fethullah Gülen (Compiled by the Gülen Institute) 3 An Alternative to Fundamentalism (Neue Züricher Zeitung/Qantara.de, 23 August 2010) 10 Gülen s critics have no supporting evidence, says academic (Today s Zaman, 17 August 2010) 12 Gülen, the most important figure of tolerance and dialogue (Today s Zaman, 25 July 2010) 13 Gülen awarded honorary doctorate by Leeds Metropolitan University (Today s Zaman, 19 July 2010) 17 Gülen Movement raises a new renaissance generation (Today s Zaman, 4 July 2010) 18

3 An interview with Helen Rose Ebaugh (fethullah-gulen.org, July 2010) 22 The Gülen Movement a glocal approach to worldwide conflict (dialoogacademie.nl, 30 June 2010) 26 Der Vorbeter (Süddeutsche Zeitung 26./27. Juni 2010) 28 Turk who leads a movement has advocates and critics (New York Times, 11 June 2010) 32 Reclusive Turkish Imam Criticizes Gaza Flotilla (The Wall Street Journal, 4 June 2010) 35 Doğu Ergil answers 100 questions about Fethullah Gülen and his movement (Today s Zaman, 30 May 2010) 37 The Crisis in Turkey? (The Huffington Post, 2 May 2010) 40 Gulen Inspired Schools: Glocal Schools serving with Integrity and Sincerity (fethullah-gulen.org, 9 April 2010) 41 The protocols of the learned elders of Fethullah Gülen (Hürriyet Daily News, 16 March 2010) 44 What s Really Behind Foreign Policy s Coup Argument? (Today s Zaman, 4 March 2010) 46 A Response to Rachel Sharon-Krespin s Fethullah Gülen s Grand Ambition: Turkey s Islamist Danger (Today s Zaman, February 2009) 48

4 Introducing Fethullah Gülen Fethullah Gülen is an authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology. Fethullah Gülen promotes cooperation of civilizations toward a peaceful world, as opposed to a clash: Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand and about whom you remain unconcerned. (Fethullah Gülen, Criteria or Lights of the Way. London: Truestar.) We believe Mr. Fethullah Gülen and the civil society movement inspired by his views, which is known as the Fethullah Gülen movement, are significant and deserve attention for the following reasons: Fethullah Gülen s Authority and Impact: Mr. Fethullah Gülen is known and respected among Turkish Muslims as well as Muslims from around the world as an authoritative mainstream Muslim scholar of the Sunni tradition, to which 87 90% of the world s Muslim population belongs. He is also a thinker, a poet, a prolific author, an educational activist and an opinion leader. His readership in Turkey is estimated at several million. His influence outside Turkey is growing daily as his works are translated into many languages including English, Arabic, Russian, German, Spanish, Urdu, Bosnian, Albanian, Malay and Indonesian. In addition to printed publications, his ideas are accessible to an ever increasing world population through private radio and television networks sympathetic to his views. Public Stance against Violence, Terror and Suicide Attacks: Fethullah Gülen has been recognized for his consistent stance against the combination of violence and religious rhetoric. More specifically, He was the first Muslim scholar to publicly condemn the attacks of 9/11 (in an advertisement in the Washington Post). 1 He helped publish a scholarly book on the Islamic perspective on terror and suicide attacks, condemning such acts on humanitarian and religious grounds.

5 2 Introducing He did not express these views only to Western readers but voiced them in mosque sermons with congregations of thousands of Muslims. He unequivocally rejects suicide attacks. He has given interviews to Turkish, Japanese, Kenyan and American newspapers in which he categorically condemned the use of political, ideological and religious reasons to justify acts of terror. He has appeared on numerous national television shows publicly condemning such acts. Pioneer in Interfaith Dialogue: Fethullah Gülen has been actively promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue for over a decade, starting long before the tragedy of 9/11. In Turkey, he has been credited with bringing about a positive atmosphere in relationships between the majority Muslim population and the various religious minorities such as Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Catholic, and Jewish communities. Outside Turkey, his ideas on interfaith dialogue have inspired many to establish organizations engaging in dialogue with the same objectives of mutual understanding, empathetic acceptance, peaceful coexistence, and cooperation. His efforts for dialogue and tolerance were recognized by a personal audience with the late Pope John Paul II and an invitation from the chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, as well as meetings with the leaders of various Christian denominations. For Cooperation of Civilizations: Fethullah Gülen promotes the cooperation of civilizations as opposed to clash, through dialogue, mutual understanding and gathering around shared values. As a civil society opinion leader he supports Turkish efforts toward joining the European Union and says that this relationship will benefit both parties. Emphasis on the Spiritual Dimension of Faith: Owing in part to his early education in the spiritual discipline, Fethullah Gülen is known for his emphasis on Islamic spirituality (known in the West as Sufism), and the embracing attitude towards fellow human beings that this emphasis brings. Due to his representation of love, compassion and an open-hearted approach to all issues concerning humanity, he is known by some as a modern-day Rumi. He was asked by Şefik Can, a late Sufi master, a descendant of Rumi and author, to write the foreword for his book on Rumi s life and teachings. Fethullah Gülen s own two-volume book on Sufism is used as a textbook for university courses on the spiritual traditions of the world. Science and Faith in Harmony: Fethullah Gülen sees science and faith as not only compatible but complementary. He therefore encourages scientific research and technological advancement for the good of all humanity. Intellectual Dimension: He is well-versed in the leading thinkers of the Western tradition and can converse with them comfortably through his writings and addresses. Pro-Democracy: Fethullah Gülen recognizes democracy as the only viable political system of governance. He denounces turning religion into a political ideology, while encouraging all citizens to take an informed and responsible part in political life of their country. He stresses the flexibilities in the Islamic principles relating to governance and their compatibility with a true democracy. Solutions to Social Problems Working on the Ground: The most striking feature of Fethullah Gülen s life is the fact that his vision and ideas have not remained rhetorical but instead have been realized globally as civic projects. By some estimates, several hundred educational organizations such as K-12 schools, universities, and language schools have been established around the world inspired by Fethullah Gülen and sponsored by local entrepreneurs, altruistic educators and dedicated parents. Notable examples of such schools include those in southeast Turkey, Central Asia, several countries in Africa, the Far East and Eastern Europe Regardless of their location, these schools are symbols of harmonious interfaith and intercultural relationships, successful unification of faith and reason, and dedication to the service of humanity. Especially in conflictridden regions such as the Philippines, southeast Turkey and Afghanistan, these institutions help reduce poverty and increase educational opportunities, which in turn decrease the appeal of terrorist groups with exclusivist agendas operating in these countries. In addition to contributing to social harmony, these schools produce winners in international science and math competitions. Other Civil Society Projects: Other civic projects inspired by Fethullah Gülen s ideas and encouragement include relief organizations, sustainable development organizations, media organizations, professional associations, and medical institutions. Source:

6 A brief biography of Fethullah Gülen (Compiled by the Gülen Institute) Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader, educational activist, and preacher emeritus. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide social movement of human values known as the Hizmet (Service) Movement or the Gülen Movement. Focused on education where secular curricula are taught by teachers who aspire to represent high values of humanity, this social phenomenon defeats easy categorization. Volunteer participants in the movement, consisting of students, academicians, business owners, professionals, public officials, white-collar and blue-collar workers, farmers, men and women, young and old, contribute to multiple ways of service, which crystallize in tutoring centers, schools, colleges, hospitals, a major relief organization, publishing houses, and media institutions, both in Turkey and in more than a hundred countries of the world. Gulen s discourse cherishes and his life exemplifies values like empathic acceptance, altruistic service of one s community and humanity in general, complementary roles of the intellect and the heart, sincerity, holistic view of the human, deepening faith and love of the creation. He is noted for his pro-democracy, pro-science, pro-dialogue and nonviolence stances in critical junctures of the history of his society. In May 2008, Fethullah Gulen was listed among the top hundred public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy magazine. Despite the high regard millions hold for him, Gulen considers himself only one of the volunteers of the civil society movement he helped originate and denounces any attribution of leadershi He spends most of his time reading, writing, editing, worshiping, and receiving medical care. Sharing the suffering of humans in every corner of the world, he has always been known for his deep respect for and connection to all creation. Living to let others live ( yasatmak icin yasamak in Turkish) is the core principle of his understanding of service. His promotion of dialogue, empathic acceptance, and harmonious coexistence can best be reflected in a comparison with that of Rumi, the 13th Century Anatolian spiritual poet and one of Gulen s sources of inspiration. Fethullah Gülen was born into a humble family in Erzurum, Turkey, in 1941, and was raised in a spiritually enriching environment. He attended a public elementary school for three years but could not continue due to the appointment of his father to a village where there was no public school. He later obtained his diploma by self-studying and passing a comprehensive examination. His religious education consisted of studies in classical Islamic sciences such as Qur anic recitation and memorization, exegesis (tafseer), Arabic language, Prophetic Tradition (hadith) as well as the spiritual tradition of Islam (tasawwuf), which he studied under renown scholars and spiritual masters around his hometown such as Muhammed Lutfi Efendi of Alvar. During the 1950s Fethullah Gülen completed his religious education and training under various prominent scholars and Sufi masters leading to the traditional Islamic ijaza (license to teach). This education was provided almost entirely within an informal system, tacitly ignored and unsupported by the state and running parallel to its education 3

7 system. At the same time, Fethullah Gülen pursued and completed his secondary level secular education through external exams. In the late fifties, he came across compilations of the scholarly work Risale-i Nur (Epistles of Light) by Said Nursi but never met its famous author. After passing an exam administered by the Turkish State s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi) in 1958, he was awarded a state preacher license and began to preach and teach in Edirne, a province on the European part of the country. In this period of his youth, he had the opportunity to deepen his knowledge in the Islamic tradition, informally study social and natural sciences, and examine the classics of both Eastern and Western philosophy and literature. Among the historic figures who had the most impact on his intellectual life we can mention Abu Hanifa, Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Rumi, Yunus Emre, and Nursi. It was his broad-ranged reading attitude that equipped him for his well-known comprehensive interpretations. wanted him dismissed. Before they could do so, Fethullah Gülen obliged them by having himself assigned to another city, Kirklareli, in There, after working hours, he organized evening lectures and talks. In this phase of his career, just as before, he took no active part in party politics and taught only about moral values in personal and collective affairs. 4 A brief biography of Fethullah Gülen Throughout his career he maintained his personal life style of devout asceticism while mixing with people and remaining on good terms with the civic and military authorities he encountered in the course of that service. He witnessed how the youth were being attracted into extremist, radical ideologies, and strove through his preaching to draw them away from that. Using his own money he would buy and distribute published materials to counter an aggressively militant atheism and communism. He saw the erosion of traditional moral values among the youth and the educated segment of Turkish society feeding into criminality, political and societal conflict. These experiences were formative influences on his intellectual and community leadership and reinforced his faith in the meaning and value of human beings and life. In 1961, Fethullah Gülen began his compulsory military service in Ankara and was later transferred to the Mediterranean coastal city of Iskenderun. In Iskenderun, his commanding officer assigned to him the duty of lecturing soldiers on faith and morality, and, recognizing Fethullah Gülen s intellectual ability, gave him many Western classics to read. Fethullah Gülen attributes his comprehensive exposure to the western philosophical thought to the encouragement of this commander. Throughout his military service Fethullah Gülen maintained his ascetic lifestyle as before. In 1963, following military service, Fethullah Gülen gave a series of lectures in Erzurum on Rumi. He also co-founded an anti-communist association there, in which he gave evening talks on moral issues. In 1964, he was assigned a new post in Edirne, where he became very influential among the educated youth and ordinary people. The militantly laicist authorities were displeased by his having such influence and In 1966, Yasar Tunagur, who had known Fethullah Gülen from earlier in his career, became deputy head of the country s Directorate of Religious Affairs and, on assuming his position in Ankara, he assigned Fethullah Gülen to the post that he himself had just vacated in Izmir. On March 11, Gülen was transferred to the Izmir region, where he held managerial responsibility for a mosque, a student study and boarding-hall, and for preaching in the Aegean region. He continued to live ascetically. For almost five years he lived in a small hut near the Kestanepazari Hall and took no wages for his services. It was during these years that Fethullah Gülen s ideas on education and service to the community began to take definite form and mature. From 1969 he set up meetings in coffee-houses, lecturing all around the provinces and in the villages of the region. He also organized summer camps for middle and high school students. In Izmir, the largest province of the west coast of Turkey Fethullah Gülen s outstanding discourse began to crystallize and his audience to expand. He traveled from city to city to give sermons in mosques, speeches at gatherings in various places including theatres and coffee houses. Speaking on essential subjects ranging from peace and social justice to philosophical naturalism, his primary aim always remained as urging the younger generation to harmonize intellectual enlightenment with spirituality anchored in the faith tradition, and to serve fellow humans altruistically. Gulen s discourse, which had been easily distinguished by its depth of knowledge, logic, sensitivity, proper referencing and stellar eloquence, attracted the

8 attention of the learned citizens including academic community and college students, as well as common people all around the country. His speeches were recorded on tape, distributed even in villages, and zealously embraced. As he frankly asserts, he simply thought to cultivate this public credit, though he never deserved it, by channeling good intentions and devotional energy towards a positive end. Fethullah Gulen describes this initially national and subsequently universal ideal as gathering around high human values by means of education and dialogue. Regarding this ideal, Fethullah Gülen has always named his function as an advisor or motivator at most. His audience in Izmir initially served as a seed to form a community of like-minded citizens from all walks of life and later expanded to citizens from very different backgrounds, including non-muslims who share the humanistic dimension of Gulen s vision if not its Islamic roots. to deny them further education and keep them at home. The hostels set up by Fethullah Gülen and his companions offered parents the chance to send their children to the big cities to continue their secular education, while protecting them from the hyper-politicized environment. To support these educational efforts, people who shared Fethullah Gülen s service-ethic now set up a system of bursaries for students. The funding for the hostels and bursaries came entirely from local communities among whom Fethullah Gülen s service-ethic idea (hizmet) was spreading steadily. With Fethullah Gülen s encouragement, around his discourse of positive action and responsibility, ordinary people were starting to mobilize to counteract the effects of violent ideologies and of the ensuing social and political disorder on their own children and on youth in general. Students in the hostels also began to play a part in spreading the discourse of service and positive action. Periodically, they returned to In 1970, as a result of the March 12 coup, a number of prominent Muslims in the region, who had supported Kestanepazari Hall and associated activities for the region s youth, were arrested. On May 1, Fethullah Gülen too was arrested and held for six months without charge until his release on November 9. Later, all the others arrested were also released, also without charge. When asked to explain these arrests, the authorities said that they had arrested so many leftists that they felt they needed to arrest some prominent Muslims in order to avoid being accused of unfairness. Interestingly, they released Fethullah Gülen on the condition that he gave no more public lectures. In 1971, Fethullah Gülen left his post and Kestanepazari Hall but retained his status as a stateauthorized preacher. He began setting up more student study and boarding-halls in the Aegean region: the funding for these came from local people. It is at this point that a particular group of about one hundred people began to be visible as a service group, that is, a group gathered around Fethullah Gülen s understanding of service to the community and positive action. Between 1972 and 1975, Fethullah Gülen held posts as a preacher in several cities in the Aegean and Marmara regions, where he continued to preach and to teach the ideas about education and the service ethic he had developed. He continued setting up hostels for high school and university students. At this time educational opportunities were still scarce for ordinary Anatolian people, and most student accommodation in the major cities, controlled or infiltrated by extreme leftists and rightists, seethed in a hyper-politicized atmosphere. Parents in provincial towns whose children had passed entrance examinations for universities or city high schools were caught in a dilemma to surrender their children s care to the ideologues or their home towns and visited surrounding towns and villages, and, talking of their experiences and the ideas they had encountered, consciously diffused the hizmet idea in the region. Also, from 1966 onward, Fethullah Gülen s talks and lectures had been recorded on audio cassettes and distributed throughout Turkey by third parties. Thus, through already existing networks of primary relations, this new type of community action, the students activities, and the new technology of communication, the hizmet discourse was becoming known nationwide. In 1974, the first university preparatory courses were established in Manisa, where Fethullah Gülen was posted at the time. Until then, it was largely the 5

9 6 A brief biography of Fethullah Gülen children of very wealthy and privileged families who had access to university education. The new courses in Manisa offered the hope that in future there might be better opportunities for children from ordinary Anatolian families. The idea took hold that, if properly supported, the children of ordinary families could take up and succeed in higher education. As word spread of these achievements, Fethullah Gülen was invited, the following year, to speak at a series of lectures all over Turkey. The service idea became widely recognized and firmly rooted in various cities and regions of the country. From this time on, the country-wide mobilization of people drawn to support education and non-political altruistic services can be called a movement the Gülen Movement. In 1976, the Religious Directorate posted Fethullah Gülen to Bornova, Izmir, the site of one of Turkey s major universities with a correspondingly large student population and a great deal of the militant activism typical of universities in the 1970s. It came to his attention that leftist groups were running protection rackets to extort money from small businessmen and shopkeepers in the city and deliberately disrupting the business and social life of the community. The racketeers had already murdered a number of their victims. In his sermons, Fethullah Gülen spoke out and urged those being threatened by the rackets neither to yield to threats and violence, nor to react with violence and exacerbate the situation. He urged them, instead, to report the crimes to the police and have the racketeers dealt with through the proper channels. This message led to threats being made against his life. At the same time, he challenged the students of left and right to come to the mosque and discuss their ideas with him and offered to answer any questions, whether secular or religious, which they put to him. A great many students took up this offer. So, in addition to his daily duties giving traditional religious instruction and preaching, Fethullah Gülen devoted every Sunday evening to these discussion sessions. In 1977, he traveled in northern Europe, visiting and preaching among Turkish communities to raise their consciousness about values and education and to encourage them in the same hizmet ethic of positive action and altruistic service. He encouraged them both to preserve their cultural and religious values and to integrate into their host societies. Now thirty-six, Fethullah Gülen had become one of the three most widely recognized and influential preachers in Turkey. For example, on one occasion in 1977 when the prime minister, other ministers and state dignitaries came to a Friday prayer in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, a politically sensitive occasion in Turkey, Fethullah Gülen was invited to preach to them and the rest of the congregation. Fethullah Gülen encouraged participants in the Movement to go into publishing. Some of his articles and lectures were published as anthologies and a group of teachers inspired by his ideas established the Teachers Foundation to support education and students. In 1979, this Foundation started to publish its own monthly journal, Sizinti, which became the highest selling monthly in Turkey. In terms of genre, it was a pioneering venture, being a magazine of sciences, humanities, faith, and literature. Its publishing mission was to show that science and religion were not incompatible and that knowledge of both was necessary to be successful in this life. Each month since the journal was founded, Fethullah Gülen has written for it an editorial and a section about the spiritual or inner aspects of Islam, that is, Sufism, and the meaning of faith in modern life. In February 1980, a series of Fethullah Gülen s lectures, attended by thousands of people, in which he preached against violence, anarchy and terror, were made available on audiocassette. In 1980, on September 5, Fethullah Gülen spoke from the pulpit before taking leave of absence for the next twenty days because of illness. From March 20, 1981, he took indefinite leave of absence. By the third coup, the Turkish public appeared to have learnt a lesson. There was no visible public reaction. The faith communities, including the Fethullah Gülen Movement, continued with their lawful and peaceful activities without drawing any extra attention to themselves. Fethullah Gülen and the Movement avoided large public gatherings but continued to promote the service-ethic through publishing and small meetings. At this point, the Movement turned again to the use of technology and for the first time in Turkey a preacher s talks were recorded and distributed on videotape. Thus, in spite of the atmosphere of intimidation following the coup, the hizmet discourse, far from being suppressed, continued to spread in a way that, ironically, was possibly more effective. In the years immediately following the coup, the Movement continued to grow and act successfully. In 1982, Movement participants set up a private high school in Izmir, Yamanlar Koleji. In 1989, Fethullah Gülen was approached by the Directorate of Religious Affairs and requested to resume his duties. His license was reinstated to enable him to serve as an Emeritus Preacher with the right to preach in any mosque in Turkey. Between 1989 and 1991, he preached in Istanbul on Fridays and on

10 alternate Sundays in Istanbul and Izmir in the largest mosques in the cities. His sermons drew crowds in the tens of thousands, numbers unprecedented in Turkish history. These sermons were videotaped and also broadcast. At the beginning of the 1990s, the police uncovered a number of conspiracies by marginal militant Islamists and other small ideological groups to assassinate Fethullah Gülen. These groups also placed agent-provocateurs in the areas around the mosques where he preached with the aim of fomenting disorder when the crowds were dispersing after Fethullah Gülen s sermons. Due to Fethullah Gülen s warnings and the already established peaceful practices of the Movement, these attempts failed and the agent- provocateurs were dealt with by the police. The showdown between the military wing of the National Security Council and the ruling Virtue Party-True Path Party coalition eventually led to the so-called February 28, 1997 post-modern military coup, which forced the coalition government to resign and a harsh set of social engineering measures to be pursued by the new government under close military scrutiny. In March 1999, upon the recommendation of his doctors, Fethullah Gulen moved to the U.S. to receive medical care for his cardiovascular condition. Upon recommendation of his doctors, Gulen stayed in the U.S. to continue to receive medical care and to avoid stress caused by politically charged atmosphere of the February 28 post-modern military cou In 1991, Fethullah Gülen once again ceased preaching to large mosque congregations. He felt that some people were trying to manipulate or exploit his presence and the presence of Movement participants at these large public gatherings. However, he continued to be active in community life, in teaching small groups and taking part in the collective action of the Movement. In 1992, he traveled to the United States, where he met Turkish academics and community leaders, as well as the leaders of other American faith communities. By this stage, the number of schools in Turkey established by the participants in the Gülen Movement had reached more than a hundred, not counting institutions such as study centers and university preparatory courses. From January 1990, Movement participants began to set up schools and universities in Central Asia too, often working under quite harsh conditions. Starting in 1994, Fethullah Gülen pioneered a rejuvenation of the Interfaith Dialog spirit in the Turkish-Muslim tradition, which was forgotten amidst the troublesome years of the early twentieth century. The Foundation of Journalists and Writers, of which Gulen was the honorary president, organized a series of gatherings involving leaders of religious minorities in Turkey such as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch, Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Vatican s Representative to Turkey and others. The Abant platform, named after the location of the first meeting in Bolu, Turkey, brought together leading intellectuals from all corners of the political spectrum, the leftists, the atheists, the nationalists, the religious conservatives, and the liberals, providing for the first time in recent Turkish history a place where such figures could debate freely about the common concerns of all citizens and pressing social problems. During this period Fethullah Gülen made himself increasingly available for comment and interview in the media and began to communicate more with state dignitaries in order to help ease the tensions generated by the artificial debates around a phantom threat to the secular nature of the Turkish republic. The growing influence of Fethullah Gulen and the significance of the civic movement he helped generate worried some circles in the country who benefited from a closed society with governmentfavored enterprises, a monopoly on the intellectual life and an isolationist approach to foreign affairs. These circles accused Gulen of having long-term political ambitions and eventually persuaded an ultra-nationalist prosecutor to bring charges against him in 2000 based on a doctored set of video clips which first appeared in mass media in June While these charges were found to be baseless and eventually dismissed in 2008, the case caused a setback in the interfaith and intercultural dialog spirit that Gulen helped re-kindle. He currently lives at a retreat facility in Pennsylvania together with a group of students, scholars and a few visitors who consider it a good day in terms of his health if he is able to have a half-hour conversation answering their questions. This brief biography is mainly based on Fethullah Gülen s biographical interview, Küçük Dünyam (Istanbul: Ufuk, 2006), his latest publications, the series of Kırık Testi (7 volumes, Istanbul), the biographical analysis about Fethullah Gülen by Ali Ünal, Bir Portre Denemesi (Istanbul: Nil, 2002), and it includes excerpts from Chapter 2: Historical Background of the book entitled The Gulen Movement: Civic Service without Borders by Muhammed Cetin (New Jersey: Blue Dome, 2008). 7

11 Selected Publications on Gülen in English 1. Esposito, J., and Yilmaz, I., 2010, Islam and Peacebuilding: Gulen Movement Initiatives, New Jersey: Blue Dome. 2. Ebaugh, Helen R., 2009, The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam, New York: Springer. 3. Cetin, Muhammed, 2010, The Gulen Movement: Civic Service without Borders, New Jersey: Blue Dome. 4. Ergene, Enes, 2008, Tradition Witnessing Modern Age: An Analysis of the Gulen Movement, New Jersey: Tughra. 5. Carroll, Jill, 2007, A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gulen s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse, New Jersey: Tughra. 6. Hunt, Robert, and Aslandogan, Yuksel, eds Muslim Citizens of the Globalized World: Contributions of the Gülen Movement, New Jersey: The Light Inc. and IID Press. 7. Yavuz, Hakan, and Esposito, John L. eds Turkish Islam and the Secular State. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. 8. Gündem, Mehmet Days with Fethullah Gülen: An Analysis of a Movement with Questions and Answers, Fifth Edition. Istanbul: Alfa; also available in English at 9. Saritoprak, Zeki An Islamic approach to peace and nonviolence: A Turkish experience. In Special Issue of The Muslim World 95(3): Blackwell. 10. Ünal, Ali, and Williams, Alphonse, eds Fethullah Gülen: Advocate of Dialogue. Fairfax: The Fountain. Representative Publications in English by Gülen 8 A brief biography of Fethullah Gülen 1. Gülen, M. Fethullah Pearls of Wisdom. Ali Ünal, trans. Fairfax: The Fountain. 2. Gülen, M. Fethullah Questions and Answers about Faith. Muhammed Selcuk, trans. Fairfax: The Fountain. 3. Gülen, M. Fethullah Criteria or Lights of the Way. London: Truestar. 4. Gülen, M. Fethullah In True Islam, Terror Does Not Exist. In Terror and Suicide Attacks: An Islamic Perspective. Ergün Çapan, ed. New Jersey: The Light Inc. 5. Gülen, M. Fethullah Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism, vol. 1. New Jersey: The Light Inc. 6. Gülen, M. Fethullah Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism, vol. 2. New Jersey: The Light Inc. 7. Gülen, M. Fethullah Love and the Essence of Being Human. Faruk Tuncer, ed. Mehmet Ünal and Nilüfer Korkmaz, trans. Istanbul: Journalist and Writers Foundation Publications. 8. Gülen, M. Fethullah Toward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance. New Jersey: The Light Inc. 9. Gülen, M. Fethullah The Messenger of God, Muhammad: An Analysis of the Prophet s Life. Ali Ünal, trans. New Jersey: The Light Inc. 10. Gülen, M. Fethullah The Statue of Our Souls: Revival in Islamic Thought and Activism. Muhammed Cetin, trans. New Jersey: The Light Inc.

12 Academic Events Focusing on Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement 1. East and West Encounters: The Gulen Movement, University of Southern California, December 4-6, The Fifth International Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: The Gulen Movement in Thought and Practice, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, March 6-7, Islam in the Age of Global Challenges: Alternative Perspectives of the Gulen Movement, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., November 14-15, International Conference on Muslim World in Transition: Contributions of the Gulen Movement, School of Oriental and African Studies, and London School of Economics, October 25-27, Third International Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: Contributions of the Gulen Movement, University of Texas at San Antonio, November 3rd, International Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gülen Movement in Thought and Practice, Rice University, Houston, Texas, November 12 13, 2005, co-sponsored by the Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance, Rice University, and A.D. Bruce Religious Center at University of Houston. 7. The Chicago Interfaith Gathering Towards Interreligious Dialogue in the New Millenium: Finding Common Ground, Special Session on the Gülen Movement, November 10 11, 2005, co-sponsored by the Loyola University of Chicago, The University of Chicago Divinity School, DePaul University Department of Religious Studies, Catholic Theological Union, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Archdiocese of Chicago Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. 8. Second International Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gülen Movement in Thought and Practice, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, March 3 5, 2006, co-sponsored by the Graduate School for Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University. 9. Second Annual Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gülen Movement in Thought and Practice, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, November 3 5, 2006, co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University. 10. The Muslim World in Transition: Contributions of the Gülen Movement, House of Lords, United Kingdom, October 25 27, 2007, co-sponsored by the University of Birmingham, UK, Hartford Seminary, USA, Leeds Metropolitan University, London Middle East Institute, and SOAS, University of London. 11. Peaceful Coexistence: Fethullah Gülen s initiatives for peace in the contemporary world, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, November 22 23, 2007, organized at Erasmus University Rotterdam, co-sponsored by Leeds Metropolitan University and Dialoog Academie. Source: 9

13 Interview with Helen Rose Ebaugh on the Gülen Movement An Alternative to Fundamentalism By Matthias Daum, (Neue Züricher Zeitung/Qantara.de, 23 August 2010) Helen Rose Ebaugh, an American professor specializing in the sociology of religion, sees the movement founded by the controversial Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen as both an opportunity for the West and a serious alternative to religious extremism. Matthias Daum asked for more details Why do people in the West have such difficulties with the Gülen movement? can at the same time be the best doctors, teachers and researchers. 10 An Alternative to Fundamentalism Helen Rose Ebaugh: It has a great deal to do with the general Islamophobia that existed after 9/11. Fundamentalist movements unsettle people a lot. At the same time, little is known about them. This is also the case with other Islamic faith-based movements, such as the Gülen movement. Please enlighten us. How would you describe the Gülen movement? Ebaugh: It is an Islamic-inspired civic movement that is neither political nor religious per se. It has its origins in Turkey. In the turbulent 1960s, communists and socialists were making overtures to the country s students. Fethullah Gülen found this a very troubling development and wanted to offer young people an alternative. In Europe, the movement is seen as conservative. Is it? Ebaugh: It is conservative insofar as Mr Gülen s message can be summed up in the words We have to educate the youth. He says that good Muslims What sort of humanity does Fethullah Gülen represent? Ebaugh: A good person should be educated, uphold moral and ethical values, maintain a relationship to God and assume social responsibility. Helping others is the top priority. All Gülen adherents donate money. This willingness to donate can only really be understood against the background of Ottoman culture. Some critics point to the opacity of the movement. Ebaugh: There is no hierarchy, instead only a few opinion leaders around whom the adherents gather. This is not a problem for the movement; it is, in fact, one of its strengths. The adherents are the movement. When I conducted research for my book The Gülen Movement, everyone was very open towards me. In many Gülen institutions, I was even allowed to see their budgets and accounting records. It isn t the lack of transparency that some people find disturbing, but rather the lack of a bureaucracy. You can t draw

14 a flow chart of the movement. No one person is responsible, because everyone is responsible. So there are no official contacts? Ebaugh: Yes, but this very horizontal organisational structure also has advantages. The establishment of schools, for instance, is a strictly local affair. Bureaucracies only exist within the various institutions. These include the TV broadcaster Samanyolu and the newspaper Zaman, both of which are closely affiliated to the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as the aid agency Kimse Yok Mu. What is the movement s position on dialogue with other religions? Ebaugh: It is one of the movements that strongly advocates dialogue between the three Abrahamic faiths. This is why Turks love to go to the USA. No one cares about the headscarf here. To be honest, I really don t know what all the fuss is about. To what extent is it prepared to make concessions, for instance on the issue of equal rights for women? Ebaugh: That is a problem. One doesn t see too many women in public positions within the movement. I believe, however, that this will change. On a similar note, the issue of the headscarf is a hotly debated issue in Europe. What stance does the Gülen movement take in this respect? Ebaugh: [laughs] This is why Turks love to go to the USA. No one cares about the headscarf here. To be honest, I really don t know what all the fuss is about. Nonetheless, it is the subject of debate. Ebaugh: Exactly. Other issues are more important to the Gülen movement, such as the separation of religion and state in Turkey. How do you think the West should react to the Gülen movement? Ebaugh: I find myself in agreement with the former US Secretaries of State James Baker and Madeleine Albright and the former CIA officer Graham Fuller. They say that we should support such movements, because they offer an alternative to fundamentalism. I recently saw statistics from the south of Turkey that showed that Gülen students are not attracted to the PKK; one of the reasons for this is that they have been given a good education. Fethullah Gülen is supposedly very ill. What will happen to his movement after his death? Ebaugh: Nothing. The movement is much too strong. This is how it differs from a sect or a commune. Helen Rose Ebaugh lectures on the sociology of religion at the University of Houston in Texas. She is the author of the book The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam, Springer Verlag Niederlande, Houston Translated from the German by John Bergeron Prof. H. R. Ebaugh 11 Ebaugh: Mr Gülen himself says that if you have to choose between the headscarf and a good education, choose education. A very pragmatic stance. Editor: Aingeal Flanagan/Qantara.de Source: c=478&wc_id=1090

15 Gülen s critics have no supporting evidence, says academic By Emre Oğuz, (Today s Zaman, 17 August 2010) in Turkey, she said, however, the courts found no evidence of wrongdoing. In 2000, then-state Security Court (DGM) prosecutor Nuh Mete Yüksel launched a case against Gülen on charges of establishing an illegal organization. At the end of the eight-year case, he was acquitted. Upon appeal, the General Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the acquittal. 12 Gülen s critics have no supporting evidence, says academic American sociology professor Helen Rose Ebaugh, who has written a book analyzing the Gülen movement, has said those criticizing the movement have no documents to back up their criticisms. Ebaugh, the author of a book titled The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam, was speaking at a conference organized by the Copenhagen-based Dialog Forum Foundation over the weekend. Stating that she received letters from some circles harshly criticizing Fethullah Gülen and the movement inspired by him after she began her research, Ebaugh said that when she called on them to prove their accusations they had failed to do so. She says they did not send her anything supporting their claims because such evidence does not exist. Gülen is a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. Responding to questions by the participants at the conference, which was dominated by academics, the professor also provided information about her book. Noting that Americans knew little about Islam before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, she said radical Muslims immediately began appearing in the media after the attacks. Ebaugh, who still gives lectures on the sociology of religion at the University of Houston, said Gülen showed the other face of Islam when he condemned terror with statements he made at the time. Noting that like many other Americans, that was the first time she heard Gülen s name, and she said she had an opportunity to examine the Gülen movement after she began her research. Recalling that Gülen stood trial in a court case for many years Ebaugh underlined that the biggest contribution by the Gülen movement is the schools opened by the movement around the world. Noting that she met with several principals of these schools both in Turkey and the US, she said the young people who received an education at these schools are now serving at other such institutions across the world. She added that in time they will carry the thoughts of Gülen to more people. The professor also commented on recent remarks by Gülen calling on the Turkish people to vote yes in the upcoming Sept. 12 referendum in Turkey, when the nation will vote on a constitutional amendment package. Stating that she was first surprised to hear that he made a special statement on the issue, as Gülen is not engaged in politics, she says when she understood how vital the changes were for Turkey, she acknowledged him to be right. Stating that the fact that Gülen made a special statement on the issue although he distances himself from politics shows how important the amendments are for the country, she added that it would be harder for the European Union to deny Turkey s membership if the package is approved. On Sept. 12, the nation will vote on a number of constitutional changes approved by Parliament in May. Among other things, the reform package includes changes to the structure of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Furthermore, the package repeals Article 15 of the Turkish Constitution, which gives immunity to the generals responsible for the Sept. 12, 1980 cou Source:

16 13 Fethullah Gülen and Pope John Paul II Gülen, the most important figure of tolerance and dialogue By Orhan Akkurt, (Today s Zaman, 25 July 2010) Mr. Fethullah Gülen is the most influential representative of love, tolerance and dialogue in our world today. In the West, especially in the United States, an increasing number of scholars have discovered Gülen to be a man of love and tolerance and consider his teaching as a model of dialogue among religions, cultures and civilizations. These are the words of Dr. Heon C. Kim, a specialist in contemporary Islam. Highlighting the great need for dialogue in today s world, Dr. Kim praises Gülen s teachings of love, tolerance and dialogue, which have been practiced and spread worldwide by the Gülen movement, the fastest expanding Islamic movement around the globe. It is appropriate and reasonable, Dr. Kim states, that a recent survey, The 500 Most Influential Muslims, published by Georgetown University in 2009, placed Gülen as one of the top 50 influential Muslims today and introduced him as one who affects huge swathes of humanity and has gone on to become a global phenomenon. Dr. Kim completed his years of doctoral research on Gülen and the Gülen movement in 2008, and is currently teaching at Temple University, Philadelphia. One of the most pioneering and cutting-edge contributions of his dissertation is to make tangible the spiritual dimensions of Gülen s life and thought and the inner dynamic of the Gülen movement. His research shows in detail that the Islamic spirituality of love, tolerance and dialogue, which was once exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad and subsequently followed by great Sufi saints, is at the core of Gülen s thought and the activities of the Gülen movement. Base upon this finding, Dr. Kim agrees with those Western scholars who identify Gülen as a contemporary Rumi (Jalal al-din Rumi, a great Sufi saint in Islamic history and the best-known Muslim mystic in the West), and further considers Gülen s teaching of dialogue as an alternative to both the jihadist/fundamentalist movements and those in the West who adhere to the clash of civilizations paradigm. When and how did you first learn about Gülen? After I graduated from Arabic studies in South Korea I went to Egypt to further learn about Islam. While studying Islamic theology in a graduate program at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, I observed that many Muslim scholars hold an intolerant view of Islam when it comes to other religions and cultures, which was contrary to my conviction that Islam is a religion of submission and peace that is respectful of other religious traditions. After having this experience, I was fortunate to meet several Turkish students of Gülen in South Korea. Being initially impressed by their open-mindedness, I read some of Gülen s books, and his moderate Islamic thought

17 14 Gülen, the most important figure of tolerance and dialogue was intellectually and spiritually inspiring to me. In order to introduce his moderate and authentic form of Islam as a counter to the Wahhabi/literalist versions of Islam prevalent in our world today, I translated one of Gülen s books into Korean. It was published first in 1999 and subsequently reprinted in 2001 in the aftermath of Sept. 11. My growing interest in Gülen s thought led me to visit Gülen in Turkey in With his permission, I was able to participate in the daily class that he gave for his students. Although I could not readily follow his lectures at first since I was not fluent in Turkish at the time, I could still appreciate his gentle behavior and simple lifestyle. What did you do after meeting with Gülen? After spending three months participating in Gülen s daily class, I learned enough Turkish to be admitted into a graduate program in Islamic philosophy at Marmara University in İstanbul. The more I learned Turkish, the better I began to understand Gülen s teaching, especially his Islamic ideal of love, tolerance and dialogue. I ended up spending three years in Turkey in order to study at the university and better learn about Gülen s thought. During my stay I also traveled throughout the country and observed Islam in public life. Especially in Anatolia, central Turkey, I witnessed the beautiful characteristics of hospitality, peace, tolerance and self-sacrifice, all of which Gülen praised as Anadolu İnsanlarının Ruhu [the spirit of the Anatolian people]. Another characteristic that was strongly impressed upon my memory was the people s living embodiment of Gülen s teaching to give, give and give more for God s pleasure and hizmet [service for humanity]. My learning of Gülen s moderate Islamic thought did not end with his arrival to the US in After he left Turkey, I decided to pursue my doctorate in the US, a nation which actively promotes religious and cultural diversity and encourages academics to do their study and research free of political/religious restrictions. This is unfortunately not the case in many Islamic countries, Turkey included. Why did you choose Gülen and Sufism as your dissertation topic? First, what I had directly experienced in Egypt and Turkey was not Islam in literature but Islam in people. Islam in people was not literalistfundamentalist Islam, but Sufi Islam, a spiritual form of Islam that is deeply embedded in the lives of ordinary people and appears as a cultural reality. Literalist-fundamentalist Islam, also known as jihadist and Islamist, views non-muslims, especially from the Judeo-Christian world, as the other and adopts a somewhat antagonistic view towards them. Many Western academics have spent far too much time focusing on this form of Islam. In reality, however, this version of Islam is followed by less than 5 percent of Muslims in the world. What the vast majority of Muslims follow instead is what we academics call a popular Islam, and Sufism has played a major role in helping to define popular Islam with its millennium-long history. This reality of Sufism has not been fully understood in academic circles. Worse, Sufism has long been condemned by fundamentalist-jihadist Muslims as a non-islamic tradition and misunderstood by the Orientalist Western scholarship as a naïve personal mystical experience. Both approaches fail to accord with my own experiences and the reality of Sufism. An academic approach to Sufism phenomenological as it is is very much needed, and this was the principle motivation behind my dissertation research. Based on my own experiences in Turkey, I was confident that Turkey in general and Gülen in particular would provide the most remarkable case study for an in-depth analysis of Sufism. Since the Kemalist secularist ban on Sufi orders in 1925, Sufism was blamed as a reason for the nation s backwardness in comparison with the development that was occurring in the West. Consequently, Sufi orders were considered to be a threat to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. Certain politicians, secularist intellectuals and army elites suspected Gülen as an Islamist Sufi leader who led a dangerous cult. Quite opposed to this suspicion, the Western view of Gülen and the Gülen movement, from academia to newspapers, recognized the significant contributions that Gülen has made in the world. I wanted to see what the true identity of Gülen and his movement is. Do you mean there is a strong connection between Gülen and Sufism? Yes, absolutely. What I have found is that Gülen can be considered a Sufi saint, but he has never

18 been an Islamist, as all of his life, works, his thought and his movement indicate moderate Islam that acknowledges other religions as partners of dialogue. Indeed, Gülen himself has met with Jewish and Christian leaders, including Pope John Paul II in Another important fact is that while Gülen can be considered a Sufi saint, he is not the leader of a Sufi order. He does not teach from the platform of a Sufi order but instead teaches that Sufism is to live an Islamic spiritual life as practiced by the Prophet Muhammad, his companions, Rumi, Yunus Emre, and Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, all of whom did not found any kind of Sufi order. To underline this understanding of Sufism, I refer to it as Sufism without Sufi orders. This Sufism without Sufi orders in Gülen s thought has the benefit of not creating boundaries, as often occurs amongst Sufi orders. Instead, it calls all Muslims to respect other Muslims and non-muslims as equal creations of God s Love. He encourages Muslims to engage in dialogue with others, remembering that they are all a reflection of the Divine Love. This dialogic Sufism that I call it offers an alternative to fundamentalist/ jihadist Islamist movements and creates a dialogical bridge between Islam and other religions. dialogue for peaceful coexistence. Mr. Gülen has been advocating love and tolerance-based dialogue for almost three decades now. He has always said we should engage in dialogue with everyone without any discrimination. To me, his teachings of dialogue are extremely important today since many people believe in the clash of civilizations. Could you explain more about Gülen s views on dialogue? In Gülen s thought, dialogue appears as a natural consequence of humanism. Mr. Gülen defines humanism as a doctrine of love and humanity. He warns against an unbalanced understanding of humanism, for instance one that misunderstands jihad and views non-muslims as the antagonistic others. Gülen s humanism opposes a fanatical jihadist approach to humanity, and instead intends to actualize love of all humanity. To Gülen, humanity is the most valuable being in the universe as the greatest mirror of God s names and attributes. Every human being is equally endowed with capacity to mirror divine nature and has the capability to be developed to an excellence greater than the universe. Thereby, first, all humans are equal as a mirror of God s attributes, irrespective of religion, race, wealth and social status. And second, since humans are created by the Creator s own love, love is the most essential element in humanity. These concepts of equality, love and humanity are the basis of Gülen s humanism, and serve as the founding principles of the Gülen movement. A foremost practical manifestation of Gülen s lovebased humanism is dialogue. To Gülen, dialogue is an activity of forming a bond between two or more people. To form such a bond means to position human beings at the axis of dialogue. Therefore, dialogue in a true sense is a sublimation and pragmatic extension of humanism, which can be only accomplished by mutual respect, tolerance and love. Nowadays, more and more people in the world realize the need of So you see dialogue and tolerance as the solution to the clash of civilizations? Yes. I consider them as an alternative and even the only solution to contemporary problems of humanity. In recent years, a great number of political social scientists have adopted Samuel Huntington s Clash of Civilizations theory. This theory suggests an intrinsic incompatible relationship between Western civilization and non-western civilizations and foresees inevitable civilizational clashes and wars. This view has spearheaded immense scholarly debate, producing a number of critical works. I myself have taken part in this debate by writing several papers and presenting some of them at a series of academic conferences in the US. In these papers I traced back the intellectual origin of Huntington s theory. His conviction of civilizational incompatibility and clashes essentially premises the dialectic tension or opposition of the antithetical relationship of the self and others, which evolves from Friedrich Hegel s and later the Hegelian concept of ideologically inferior others and Karl Marx s and later the Marxist notion of political-economically alienated others. Huntington adds to his predecessors by putting forward the concept of religious incompatibility as between Christianity and Islam. Though embracing different foci, the views of Hegel, Marx and Huntington are constant in identifying humanity as the opposing and conflicting relationship of the 15

19 self and others, which can be called a dialectical approach to humanity. As a polar opposite to the dialectical approach to humanity, Gülen s understanding of humanity and humanism assumes the equality and compatibility of the self and others that leads to love, tolerance and dialogue. In fact, Gülen s humanism directly refuses to see others as a dialectical antithesis. Instead it asserts that the distinction between the self and the other can only exist as an object of dialogue in a way of protecting and empowering one s spirituality against his/her egoistic carnal self that gives rise to constant conflict with others. I term this humanism dialogic humanism, and define it as a system of thought and way of life that approaches humanity as a unit of self and others and as an object of love and dialogue. I specifically assign it as an alternative consideration to the dialectical approach to humanity. For this aspect alone, I think Gülen s teachings on humanism should be considered and valued. counts millions as members. My research has shown that hizmet has been the key factor in spreading the movement. While most studies on the movement focus on external factors like organizational structure as being the main reason for the movement s success, my findings are that the practice of hizmet is the primary reason, if not the only reason, for the success of the movement. Other than the practice of hizmet, it would be very difficult to explain why almost all members of the Gülen movement volunteer much You mentioned that Gülen s humanism and his approach to dialogue are the founding principles of the Gülen movement. 16 Gülen, the most important figure of tolerance and dialogue Yes, I did. I also mentioned hizmet, or service for humanity in English. My own research has demonstrated that Gülen s humanism is reflected in both the members individual lives and the group activities of the Gülen movement. Hizmet is the core working concept here. I further consider that hizmet is the most distinctive principle that characterizes Gülen s thought and the Gülen movement and differentiates it from other Islamic movements. Hizmet in Gülen s Islamic theology is an ultimate ideal to be pursued individually and communally for the service of humanity. Gülen teaches that the worldly life should be used in order to earn the afterlife and to please the One who has bestowed it. The way to do so is to seek to please Allah and, as an inseparable dimension of it, to serve immediate family members, society, country and all of humanity accordingly. This service [hizmet] is our right, and sharing it with others is our duty. Hizmet can be best actualized by a man of action and thought [aksiyon ve düşünce insanı], another well-known concept of Gülen s. Unlike a typical Sufi order that gives priority to individual mystical experience in remembrance of Allah in seclusion, Gülen emphasizes that any spiritual experience and exercise is completed by taking action in society. Unlike Islamist movements, he stresses that the action in society is vitalized by humanism of love and dialogue. of their money, time and effort. The spirit of giving is the real source behind the movement s activities over the world. Many outsiders who partaken in the movement s activities would agree with my conclusion. If properly presented, I believe the Islamic humanism of love, tolerance and dialogue that Gülen teaches is the perfect antidote to the dialectical approach to humanity, which leads to endless conflict by continually creating tensional gaps among civilizations, nations, social classes and humanity itself. Gülen initiated the Gülen movement as an instrument and living model of hizmet. With the principle of hizmet, the movement has spread Gülen s humanism over the world. His movement now reaches major cities in over 100 countries and Source:

20 Gülen awarded honorary doctorate by Leeds Metropolitan University (Today s Zaman, 19 July 2010) M. Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Muslim scholar, educator and peace activist, has been awarded an honorary doctorate of education by Leeds Metropolitan University for his contribution to education, peace making and intercultural dialogue. Özcan Keleş, executive director of the Londonbased Dialogue Society charity, accepted the honorary doctorate on Thursday on behalf of Gülen at the university s summer graduation convocation. Fethullah Gülen considers this award as recognition of the work and efforts of what is known among academic circles as the Gülen movement or what Gülen himself prefers to call a movement of volunteers, Keleş said. Stating that by honoring Gülen the university honors all of those who are inspired by his teachings and example, he said the award connects the university to millions of people all around the world. The aim of Gülen s lifelong work and that of the movement he inspires is to contribute towards the development of a more humane society which is committed to the well-being of others, he said. Professor Elspeth Jones, international dean at the university, also made a speech on Gülen s contribution to dialogue and education. The movement is local, civic and autonomous and its primary purpose is to contribute towards developing a fully humane society, durable peace and greater understanding. Gülen asserts that we are human first, Muslim or of any other religion or culture next. He stresses the importance of serving the community in which we live, and he is against any form of terrorist activity or violence, she said. at the top of the list of The World s Top 20 Public Intellectuals by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect in Now residing in the US, Gülen has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world. He has written nearly 50 books in Turkish, some of them translated into several languages. Source: The dean concluded her speech with Gülen s remarks: Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand and about whom you remain unconcerned. 17 Gülen is a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. One of the world s most influential Islamic scholars, Gülen came out


TURKEY CAPITAL AND CAPITALISTS IN TURKEY POLITICAL ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY. Democracy 36 Everything is public now, Gülfer Akkaya Issue 8 April 2014 POLITICAL ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY TURKEY CAPITAL AND CAPITALISTS IN TURKEY Democracy 36 Everything is public now, Gülfer Akkaya Culture 48 The privatization of art or the sphere of legitimacy

More information

Islamophobia and its consequences on Young People

Islamophobia and its consequences on Young People Islamophobia and its consequences on Young People European Youth Centre Budapest 1 6 June 2004 Seminar report Ingrid Ramberg The views expressed herein are the responsibility of the authors and do not

More information


FROM SUSPECTS TO CITIZENS: PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN A BIG SOCIETY FROM SUSPECTS TO CITIZENS: PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN A BIG SOCIETY Jamie Bartlett and Jonathan Birdwell July 2010 Open Access. Some rights reserved. As the publisher of this work, Demos wants to

More information



More information


THE COMMON GOOD AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S SOCIAL TEACHING THE COMMON GOOD AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S SOCIAL TEACHING A statement by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales 1996 Preface by Cardinal Basil Hume Introduction and Guide to The Common Good

More information

Carnegie PAPERS. Saudi Arabia s Soft Counterterrorism Strategy: Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Aftercare. Christopher Boucek.

Carnegie PAPERS. Saudi Arabia s Soft Counterterrorism Strategy: Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Aftercare. Christopher Boucek. Carnegie PAPERS Saudi Arabia s Soft Counterterrorism Strategy: Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Aftercare Christopher Boucek Middle East Ser Middle East Program Number 97 September 2008 2008 Carnegie Endowment

More information

The Newsroom as an Open Air Prison: Corruption and Self-Censorship in Turkish Journalism

The Newsroom as an Open Air Prison: Corruption and Self-Censorship in Turkish Journalism Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy Discussion Paper Series #D-91, February 2015 The Newsroom as an Open Air Prison: Corruption and Self-Censorship in Turkish Journalism by Yavuz Baydar

More information

Truth is Bitter. A report of the visit of Dr Alex Boraine to Northern Ireland 2

Truth is Bitter. A report of the visit of Dr Alex Boraine to Northern Ireland 2 All Truth is Bitter A Report of the Visit of Doctor Alex Boraine, Deputy Chairman of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to Northern Ireland Report of the Visit of Dr Alex Boraine to

More information


BAHÇEŞEHIR COLLEGE TAKES HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION TO EVERY CORNER OF TURKEY BAHÇEŞEHIR COLLEGE TAKES HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION TO EVERY CORNER OF TURKEY Bahçeşehir College takes high-quality education to every corner of Turkey with great investments. Students are provided with skills

More information

What Catholics Should Know About Islam VVERITAS. Sandra Toenies Keating

What Catholics Should Know About Islam VVERITAS. Sandra Toenies Keating What Catholics Should Know About Islam VVERITAS Sandra Toenies Keating The Knights of Columbus presents The Veritas Series Proclaiming the Faith in the Third Millennium What Catholics Should Know About

More information

A New Settlement: Religion and Belief in Schools CHARLES CLARKE AND LINDA WOODHEAD

A New Settlement: Religion and Belief in Schools CHARLES CLARKE AND LINDA WOODHEAD A New Settlement: Religion and Belief in Schools CHARLES CLARKE AND LINDA WOODHEAD The Westminster Faith Debates bring together leading academic and public figures to debate the latest research on religion

More information

All our experience of tackling terrorism tells us that the hardware is useless without the software

All our experience of tackling terrorism tells us that the hardware is useless without the software All our experience of tackling terrorism tells us that the hardware is useless without the software Bringing it Home Community-based approaches to counter-terrorism Rachel Briggs Catherine Fieschi Hannah

More information


TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN? Kokoomus Network for International Affairs & Toivo Think Tank Conference In Cooperation with Centre for European Studies Fight Against Terrorism & Development Policy: TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN? November

More information


THE SECOND REPORT ON ISLAMOPHOBIA . THE SECOND REPORT ON ISLAMOPHOBIA (January - December 2011) Sarajevo March, 2012 Table of Contents I. Introduction... 3 II. Executive Summary... 5 III. Recommendations... 8 IV. Definition... 10 V. Statements

More information

Blind Spot? Security Narratives and Far-Right Violence in Europe

Blind Spot? Security Narratives and Far-Right Violence in Europe Blind Spot? Security Narratives and Far-Right Violence in Europe Dr. Arun Kundnani ICCT Research Paper June 2012 Abstract This paper discusses the challenges of countering far Right political violence

More information

Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About

Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About Donald E. Knuth ISBN: 1-57586-327-8 Copyright notice: Excerpted from Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About by Donald E. Knuth, published by CSLI

More information

Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE This article was downloaded by: [Bilkent University] On: 7 July 2010 Access details: Access Details: [subscription number 923401773] Publisher Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered

More information



More information

Report of the High-level Group 13 November 2006

Report of the High-level Group 13 November 2006 Report Report of the of the High-level Group Group 13 13 November 2006 2006 United United Nations Nations Report of the High-level Group 13 November 2006 United Nations New York, 2006 Note The designations

More information

Turkey: A Culture of Change

Turkey: A Culture of Change Turkey: A Culture of Change Turkey: A Culture of Change ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Acknowledgments Erkut Yücaoğlu President of TÜSİAD High Advisory Council Former President of TÜSİAD Country Communication Advisory

More information

the journey into adulthood

the journey into adulthood the journey into adulthood understanding student formation boston college Understanding Student Formation Boston College College is a critical stage in the development of young adults. They leave behind

More information

Teaching about religion in public schools: Where do we go from here?

Teaching about religion in public schools: Where do we go from here? Teaching about religion in public schools: Where do we go from here? This question and others were considered at a conference sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the First Amendment

More information

Living With Our Deepest Differences:

Living With Our Deepest Differences: introduction Living With Our Deepest Differences: Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society Teacher s resource Lesson plans All rights reserved. The materials in this volume may be reproduced for classroom

More information


Voice of OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE ATATÜRK SOCIETY OF AMERICA SUMMER 2011 Voice of OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE ATATÜRK SOCIETY OF AMERICA SUMMER 2011 Atatürk's Immortal Words in an Anthem for Anzac Day An Interview with Muazzez İlmiye Çığ Good Will Gestures in Thessaloniki ATATÜRK

More information



More information

Dunedin s Kindergarten Pioneers: Some new stories

Dunedin s Kindergarten Pioneers: Some new stories UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO COLLEGE OF EDUCATION Te Kura Akau Taitoka Dunedin s Kindergarten Pioneers: Some new stories The founding of free kindergarten provision in Dunedin 1879 1890 Kerry BethelL University

More information

In a Changing Ireland Has Social Care Practice Left Religious And Spiritual Values Behind?

In a Changing Ireland Has Social Care Practice Left Religious And Spiritual Values Behind? In a Changing Ireland Has Social Care Practice Left Religious And Spiritual Values Behind? Edited by Judy Doyle and Carmel Gallagher School of Social Sciences and Legal Studies, Dublin Institute of Technology,

More information

Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church

Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church Authors: Dr. John E. Goldingay Dr. Deirdre J. Good Dr. Willis J. Jenkins The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge The Rev. Dr. Grant R. LeMarquand Dr. Eugene

More information

Self-Governance in Puerto Rico Journal Notes

Self-Governance in Puerto Rico Journal Notes 1 My Journal of Fieldwork in Puerto Rico These Journal Notes were written in 1974. In 2011, I found the manuscript buried under papers in a cabinet, forgotten. This Journal was written for myself as the

More information


IS RECONCILIATION POSSIBLE? LESSONS FROM COMBATING MODERN RACISM IS RECONCILIATION POSSIBLE? LESSONS FROM COMBATING MODERN RACISM By Valerie Batts, Ph.D. Two weeks after September 11, 2001, the bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA met for a scheduled meeting on the

More information