Hizmet and the interfaith movement


Date posted: March 25, 2015

ABDULRAMAN KADIRI / ABUJA

As a former admirer of the famous communist cum philosopher, Karl Marx, I had perceived religion as the real ‘opium of the people’ as a result of the several crises rocking the world, whose origin appear to be deep-rooted in religion ideologies.

But over the recent years I decided to gradually shed my ‘opium view’ about religion after painstakingly evaluating the role of religious bodies in the development of human race.

Missionaries, from both the Christian and Islamic faiths, I realized, played and continue to play major roles in ensuring development in all facets of human endeavours, notwithstanding the underlying occasional rivalry.

However, the popular belief that a secular society will put an end to the unhealthy rivalry has often come under challenge by selfish individuals who manipulate religion to cause disaffection and sow the seed of discord.

Incidences of discrimination and refusal by groups to spread developmental projects to particular region(s) or communities based on their religion orientations continue to hold sway in most part of the developing world.

But the activities of Hizmet movement in promoting rapid human physical development continue to stimulate my belief that religion can enthrone the desired common good when properly harnessed.

Hizmet movement, which is inspired by a US-based Turkish Cleric, Fethullah Gulen, has been in the fore-front in propagating modern face of Islam, while at the same time building bridges of peace through interfaith dialogue.

The highly respected Cleric draws his motivation in promoting interfaith duologue from the harmonious relationships that took place in the Ottoman Empire, which consisted of Muslims, Christians, Jews and some Zoroastrians.

Gülen, who always advocate cooperation and understanding between followers of different faiths, has met with several leaders of other religions, including the late Catholic pontiff, Pope John Paul the II, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, among many others.

Through massive establishment of secular schools in both Muslim and non-Muslim world, Hizmet appear to have opened a new vista in interfaith and intercultural activities, even as its sojourn into Africa as helped immensely in shoring up the level of education in the region.

The schools, apart from parading cutting-edge facilities, also award scholarship to brilliant students irrespective of religion or ethnic colouration. This has seen to significant number of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, among others benefiting from the scholarship scheme while still retaining their individual religious identity.

According to report, Hizmet educational footprint extends to over 160 countries with more than two million students in thousands of schools. Large chunk of the schools located in Africa are reputed to have foster unity and harmony among students of diverse backgrounds, in a region that is often bedevilled by sectarian strife and acrimony.

My recent visit to one of the schools associated to the movement was an eye opener, significant number of the staff in the school belong to the Christian faith. Students were treated equally and one could hardly differentiate their religion leanings except in few cases.

Hizmet, which means service, has no formal organisation structure. Unlike other religious group, it is not profit driven and has no official membership. But over the years its positive impact especially the focus on quality education has endeared it to many people.

The continuous attempt by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led Turkish government to strangulate the movement while turning a blind eye to activities of violent groups that operate ‘under his nose’ aroused the concern of many people, who believe that the movement should be supported to counter those that hold extreme views about religion.

The Turkish government move to close down a network of private schools run by Hizmet outside its shores and a tongue-in-cheek campaign against other investments associated with the movement was resisted by affected countries, which see Hizmet as a worthy partner in ensuring human physical development.

Many say the Turkish president action may not be unconnected with his fear over the growing popularity of the movement, which he perceives as a threat to his ‘autocratic’ government that was in recent past enmeshed in corruption scandal and flagrant clamp down on media.

Before it fell out with the government as a result of bad governance, Hizmet played a part in driving the earlier electoral success of Erdogan, who has been in power for not less than a decade now. It has since keeps distance from established Islamic political parties

There are said to be millions of Hizmet followers in Turkey, where they promote tolerant Islam which emphasizes selflessness, hard work, interfaith interaction and education.

But the movement’s good work extends far beyond Turkey. The funding of hundreds of quality schools in almost all the countries in Africa and other parts of the world by the movement has continued to win praise from all quarters.

With a mix of moderate Islam, philanthropy and a touch of interfaith dialogue, Hizmet shows that religion is not opium of the people.

Source: Daily Trust Nigeria , March 25, 2015


Related News

Former Norwegian PM: Our center takes same approach as Gülen

KADİR UYSALOĞLU, OSLO Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik has said the ideas of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish-Muslim scholar, and the activities of his movement are in complete harmony with the approach of The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, which Bondevik currently heads. Bondevik yesterday paid a visit to the En Verden i […]

Tape politics

Someone placed a bugging device to wiretap the prime minister in a room that was being placed under constant surveillance. What is easier than catching the perpetrators behind this? Who entered and left the room should have been recorded. This incident took place in 2011 but as of now, this still remains unresolved and the Hizmet movement is being blamed for it.

Erdogan purge far worse than the McCarthy era

What is happening in Turkey right now makes the McCarthy era in the US look like a picnic. When communists were targeted under McCarthyism they were blacklisted; hundreds were jailed, and many were compelled to leave the country. In Turkey it is not communists, but Gulenists. Anyone remotely associated with the Gulen movement is being rounded up and jailed – not by the hundreds, but by the tens of thousands.

Turkey, ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ and ‘Titanic’

Questions to challenge the primary and unjustified premise: What judicial (or other) process determined that these corruption investigations were a coup attempt against the government? What proof or evidence do you have to support this most serious claim? What disciplinary process did you undertake to determine that the people that were purged were members and culprits of this ‘coup’? In the absence of evidence and disciplinary process how did you determine these people’s association with Hizmet? When is government corruption not a judicial coup? How can you have the right to unilaterally determine the intent and purpose of these ongoing judicial investigations when your government is implicated in them? If your government can purge over 7,000 police officers (and thereby affect and prevent these investigations) without evidence, due process or disciplinary procedure, do you not set a precedent for every future potentially corrupt government to follow?

Fethullah Gulen’s Prominence in Indonesia

“The Honorable Gulen is a scholar whose horizon has transcended Turkey’s borders. He is a prolific mind who perfectly marries his thoughts to his words. The tenderness and elegance in his words captivate not only the mind but also the hearts of the reader.”

TÜBİTAK official says forced to make changes to bugging device report

The former head of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey’s (TÜBİTAK) Research Center for Advanced Technologies on Informatics and Information Security (BİLGEM) has said he was forced to make changes in a report as part of an investigation into a “bugging device” found at the prime minister’s office.

Latest News

Woman says she miscarried baby due to stress under police custody

Australian Relief Organisation runs 2017 qurban campaign

Australian Catholic University Gulen Chair Launch

2017 model bigotry: Defamation of Jews and Gulen movement in Turkey

Yet another woman faces detention at hospital immediately after giving birth

Jailed police chief’s children, aged 15 and 17, detained in new post-coup probe

Turkish minister: I would strangle Gülen supporters wherever I see them

Donate your qurban, bring joy to families in need

Political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi raises voice against detention of women after delivery in Turkey’s hospitals

In Case You Missed It

‘A bridge should not demolish other bridges,’ says scholar Gülen

US law professor has no doubt Gulen trial in Turkey was political

Albanian president hails Turkish schools in his country

Turkish PM asks citizens for help in witch-hunt against Gülen sympathizers

Daily Sabah rehashes decades-old, refuted claims against Gülen

Society, not community!

Watch out! Anatolian Tigers on the prowl

Doesn’t Obama know Gülen is in the US?

Students from 32 countries participate in international cultural festival in Cambodia

Copyright 2017 Hizmet News