I have often been suspicious of the Gülen movement, although as I reflect, I realize I may have been misread the movement. While this post will be lengthy, the topic remains relevant and intellectually interesting to those interested in Islam and reform, and so I hope to address why I was suspicious, and why I have slowly been changing my mind.
Fethullah Gülen stated a few days ago that he made a mistake by supporting the Justice and Development Party (AKP) during the 2010 referendum campaign. Even though, as of today, I do not think that supporting the constitutional amendment package was wrong in itself, it seems that this package has paved the way for the AKP’s growing semi-despotism.
Hizmet is composed of volunteers who are heterogeneous in terms of religiosity, ideology, lifestyle, occupation, degree of involvement in Hizmet activities and so on. Since Hizmet is not a hierarchical organization, it does not have a headquarters. As a result, it is difficult to talk about Hizmet’s mistakes. One can talk about the mistakes of some Hizmet volunteers or institutions that are affiliated with Hizmet.
Ahmet Turan Alkan 12 October 2010 It does not matter whether it is called a community or Hizmet: This movement has very powerful dynamics and despite the huge amount of doubts and reservations which are being sown about it, it has an “open” nature and it can be clearly and easily understood – as its […]
Michael Shank June 6, 2012 CBS News’ 60 Minutes recently produced a show about Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen, spurred by concern about the so-called Hizmet movement’s (aka Gulen movement) alleged connection to a growing network of high performing and nationally ranked charter schools in the U.S. These schools rank in Newsweek’s top ten miracle schools in America and have […]
İHSAN YILMAZ 18 May, 2012 When we look at the recent discussions and debates surrounding the Hizmet (Gülen) movement especially in the Turkish media, I observe that some writers are inclined to see the movement composed of a few relatively autonomous groups with sometimes clashing visions and practices. I do not think that behind this […]
Mustafa AKYOL Recently, there was a long New York Times story about the matter, which quoted a Turkish journalist who believed that Gülen followers “have proliferated within the police and the judiciary, working behind the scenes to become one of Turkey’s most powerful political forces.” So, as another Turkish journalist, let me also tell you […]
24 April 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL The Journalists and Writers Foundation released a statement on Tuesday in response to various allegations circulating in the media that Fethullah Gülen, a well-respected Turkish Islamic scholar, supported the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed intervention, dismissing such claims as a major distortion of the truth. The statement, posted on […]
ATUL ANEJA, April 26, 2012 As the endgame in Turkey’s transition to a mature democracy nears, media attacks have sharpened against the Gulen movement — a mass mobilisation vehicle that has, over the years, openly and peacefully challenged the concentration of privileges among the country’s military-backed old guard. Simultaneously, the movement has offered a socio-political […]
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has said he advocates broader rights specifically in the arenas of freedom of expression and freedom of the press for journalists, including those who “unjustly” accuse him of conspiring against them. The allegations were recently voiced following the recent release of four journalists released pending trial in the OdaTV case, […]
Erkam Tufan Aytav Some groups have been parroting, “The [Gülen] Community should become more transparent.” As you know, with “the Community,” they are referring to the Gülen movement. Let us try to understand this sentence and respond to it. First of all, I need to note that when they say, “the Community,” they are referring […]
M. Ali Birand Tuesday, 11 January 2005 Over the years, Fethullah Gülen has the center of attention for many groups in our society. He was viewed with suspicion and concern, as if he were a symbol of hidden power. The curiosity he attracted then is still continuing today. Even in his latest statements to daily […]
In an era rocked by political unrest and military coups, Gülen called for peace and dialogue and condemned violence and terrorism, quoting the great masters of Islamic mysticism, Muhyiddin-i Ibn Arabi and Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who showed the “path to true enlightenment through spirituality and love”.
Why do some portray Gülen and the residents of the retreat center, where he lives, as terrorists, while their neighbors describ them as “you couldn’t meet a nicer bunch of people”? Fethullah Gülen is one of the fruit-bearing trees of our time. He is as tall as the pine trees of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, where […]