Dr. Jill Carroll speaks on Fethullah Gulen and The Gulen Movement


Date posted: February 4, 2014

Dr. Jill Carroll, author of the book A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gülen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse, speaks at the lecture and book signing event in Chicago at Niagara Foundation. Dr. Carroll talks about the components that lead her to write the book and provides valuable insight on its context and content.

Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish intellectual, scholar, and activist whose influence over a new Islamic intellectual, social, and spiritual revival is revealed in this insightful book. Readers will gain a fuller understanding of where Gulen stands on issues of inherent human value and dignity, freedom of thought, education and taking responsibility for creating society and the world. In addition, readers will also see how different perspectives across time, geography, and worldview can still find points on which to engage in dialogue and find a deep resonance.

Midwest Book Review: “Writer Carroll states in the introduction that prior to a trip she made late in 2004 she was unaware that the organizers of the Institute for Interfaith Dialog based in Houston, Texas as well as the organizers of the trip itself were members of a community of people inspired by the notions of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar. Reading further we find Carroll’s intent in this book is to ‘place the ideas of Fethullah Gulen into the context of the larger humanities. Chapter titles are

1: Gulen and Kant on Inherent Human Value and Moral Dignity
2: Gulen and Mill on Freedom
3: Gulen, Confucius, and Plato on the Human Ideal
4: Gulen, Confucius, and Plato on Education
5: Gulen and Sartre on Responsibility.

Kant’s belief was that humans have inherent value, Gulen spoke of the transcendent value of human beings. Mills’ assertions that the tyranny of the majority must be met head long was presented from his viewpoint of the nineteenth century Briton. Gulen avows that ‘freedom allows people to do whatever they want, provided they do not harm others and they remain wholly devoted to the truth.’ A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gulen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse presents the query ‘what is the level of resonance between Islam and the West?’ That the twenty-first century has become an episode of heretofore unnoticed quandary is obvious. Up until 9-1-1 few worldwide really gave much thought to anything other than their own viewpoint. Writer Carroll finds significance can be gleaned an awareness of the theoretically divergent views of Gulen, Turkish Muslim scholar and those of Immanuel Kant, Confucius, Plato, John Stuart Mill, and Jean Paul Sartre regarding critical hypothesis including intrinsic ethical pride, creature significance, learning, autonomy, and accountability. The reader may be surprised to find out these figures who are separated by centuries in time, as well as oceans or continents have a propensity toward speaking the same language. Writer Carroll’s attentive writing style has produced a judicious and timely work, she is knowledgeable, presents her thesis in readable manner and holds reader interest. Not for everyone, if you are looking for a lighthearted, ‘story’ book for a quick afternoon read A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gulen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse is not that book. If you would like to learn a little more about Gulen and his notions of education and dialog then A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gulen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse will prove an eye-opening read. Educational read, happy to recommend for those who are hoping to learn something of an interesting thesis.”

Louis Cantori, University of Maryland: This book is magnificently successful in demonstrating the compatibility of Western humanistic and the religious Islamic dialogue of Fethullah Gulen without removing from the sight the divine inspiration of the latter’s thinking. In a Western world emotionally held intellectual hostage by “The War on Terror” and its assumption of Islamic culpability, it cuts to the contrary heart of the matter. The reader is left with the conclusion that Islam and the West are two civilizations whose core ideas can be the subject of a mutually informing intellectual dialogue.”

David B. Capes, Houston Baptist University: “In this brilliant and timely book Dr. Jill Carroll describes effectively not only the need for dialogue, she also shows us the critical way forward. In the spirit of Rumi, Dr. Jill Carroll invites all to come to the table to discuss the truth about ourselves and our world.

Source: Gulen Movement


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