The anti-thesis of radical Islam

Prof. Mümtazer Türköne
Prof. Mümtazer Türköne


Date posted: March 10, 2014

MÜMTAZER TÜRKÖNE

Saudi Arabia’s move, accompanied by Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to withdraw ambassadors from Qatar is one of the important indicators of how the Arab Spring has started to be given a different twist. Qatar is accused of lending support to radical Islamist groups. In the same vein, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was listed as a terrorist organization. Given the fact that Saudi Arabia was one of the main sponsors of the coup d’état in Egypt, it is clear that the Arab Spring process has been reversed.

There is a paradox. This profound turbulence engulfing the Muslim world is the result of competition among petty ruling elites. The Middle East’s deeply fragmented oligarchic administrations compete with each other in a small geography, and the winner is entitled to determine the fate of Muslim societies. At the end of these personal competitions, Iran emerges as a decisive factor and the Islamist organizations that resort to violence find extra room for maneuvering.

Internal conflicts in the Muslim world are very profound and multi-layered. The conflict between modernity and tradition no longer applies. Tradition is here only to give legitimacy to monarchies or ruling cliques. As the political interpretation of Islam makes up all programs that seek to seize power, numerous groups — ranging from those that adopt democratic methods to those who stick to monarchies — become parties of the power competition. There is also a very powerful civil Islamic tradition that shies away from this harsh struggle for power. The severe competition in the political sphere is urging this civil sphere to become politicized.

This civil tradition is stronger than is generally thought. Religious communities and orders that organize easily represent this sphere, and they offer a protected zone for society. As they are well aware of the decadent nature of politics, they keep their relations with the political power and other political actors at a minimum. They try to maintain their autonomy by wielding their mass membership as a trump card against the political power. The MB is a civil/political movement that is poised in between. When the Arab Spring first started, the MB was considerably hesitant about entering elections. Even this matter led to divisions within the organization. If they hadn’t entered the election, Egypt might have avoided the problems in its transition to democracy.

In my final analysis, radical Islam starts to rise when Islam’s democratic methods fail in the face of monarchies and dictatorships. Because of this recurring mistake in the Middle East, we have seen the rise of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and similar organizations.

Turkey’s ability to stay outside of this turmoil is attributed to the performance of civil Islam. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) became popular as an effective implementation of democratic political Islam. However, as it came from a tradition of political Islam, it wasn’t able to escape the trap of creating a monopoly of political power. The only force that can resist the AK Party prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and that can limit his power is civil Islam. The Hizmet movement is Turkey’s strongest civil Islamic movement, and it can employ social dynamics to resist the AK Party. The race for the local polls slated for March 30 is between the AK Party and the Hizmet movement, not between the AK Party and other political parties.

This picture alone is proof that the political Islam experience has failed in Turkey. The sphere of civil Islam, where basic democratic rights are safeguarded by laws, emerges as the only anti-thesis for the rising radical Islamic movements around the Muslim world. Turkey should be closely monitored as a good example of this experience.

Source: Todays Zaman , March 10, 2014


Related News

First-Ever Comprehensive Biography on Fethullah Gülen

In the first-ever comprehensive biography, Fethullah Gülen: A Life of Hizmet – Why A Muslim Scholar in Pennsylvania Matters to the World, author Jon Pahl gains unprecedented access to Fethullah Gulen’s inner circle as well as to Gülen himself.

US Human Rights Report: Tens of thousands jailed in Turkey with little clarity on charges

The 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices — the Human Rights Reports — released by the US State Department on Friday said that Turkish courts had imprisoned tens of thousands of people with little clarity on charges and evidence over their alleged links with a failed coup in July 2016 that was blamed on the Gülen movement.

Prime Ministry asks president to purge ‘parallel state’ in his office

The Office of the Prime Minister has submitted a list of people who are allegedly members of the Hizmet movement to President Abdullah Gül, the Taraf daily claimed on Thursday, as part of widespread government attacks on the movement.

Government carried out a “controlled” coup in an attempt to exploit its outcomes: Opposition leader

The main Turkish opposition party has accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of having prior knowledge of the failed July 15, 2016 putsch, saying Ankara carried out a “controlled” coup in an attempt to exploit its outcomes.

Why Gülen movement teachings attractive to followers?

The Gülen Movement arose among pious men and women who wanted a modern interpretation of religion. In the dynamics of the transformation of the movement, the social milieu also played an important role. The movement became a spiritual refuge for those who searched for an interpretation where Islam was in harmony with modernity. The followers of the Gülen Movement do not describe themselves as a political movement.

Prep school owners write to Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court will review a law that seeks to shut down preparatory schools that assist students in studying for the national high school and university admission exams after organizations representing private prep schools wrote to the court, asking to make statements about the problems that might arise due to the closure of these institutions.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Prominent businessman Akın İpek pledges huge support to Kimse Yok Mu

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Fethullah Gulen’s books draw large interest in Sweden

Understanding shifts in Islamic interpretation in Turkey through Gulen-inspired Yamanlar High School

Syracuse Turkish community celebrates their heritage with a Children’s Festival

Gülen: Associating Hizmet with violent Kobani protests great slander

Ongoing tussle: Students, parents protest closure of Pak-Turk School in Khairpur

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News