Fethullah Gülen on Islam, democracy and freedom of speech

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen


Date posted: February 5, 2015

PAUL MOSES

Publishing a book in 2009 about Francis of Assisi’s peaceful encounter with Egypt’s Sultan Malik al-Kamil during the Fifth Crusade led me to meet a lot of people with an interest in improving interreligious relations. Among them were a number of Turkish immigrants who are followers of the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. I observed that through a network of private schools, foundations and media organizations, they have worked very hard to improve Muslim-Christian relations.

I offer that as a brief backdrop to an important op-ed piece in The New York Times in which the reclusive Gülen, living in exile in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, speaks out forcefully against the increasingly harsh nature of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule. He writes:

Turkey’s rulers have not only alienated the West, they are also now losing credibility in the Middle East. Turkey’s ability to assert positive influence in the region depends not only on its economy but also on the health of its own democracy.

The core tenets of a functioning democracy — the rule of law, respect for individual freedoms — are also the most basic of Islamic values bestowed upon us by God. No political or religious leader has the authority to take them away … Speaking against oppression is a democratic right, a civic duty and for believers, a religious obligation. The Quran makes clear that people should not remain silent in the face of injustice: “O you who believe! Be upholders and standard-bearers of justice, bearing witness to the truth for God’s sake, even though it be against your own selves, or parents or kindred.”

It’s an interesting piece in which Gülen invokes Islam in defense of free speech. That value has been under attack in Turkey, where Erdogan’s government has been arresting, smearing and intimidating journalists. Gülen may not have the power of a state behind him, but he has the power of an idea.

Source: Commonweal Magazine , February 3, 2015


Related News

Bal asks whether Erdoğan is trying to suppress religious communities

Former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy İdris Bal submitted a parliamentary question to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday, asking whether Erdoğan regards himself the Caliph of the Muslim world and whether the prime minister is trying to suppress religious communities in Turkey.

The tragic end of the witch hunt

Several claims and accusations have been voiced, and the Hizmet movement has been described as a gang and a “parallel structure,” Are these accusations based on concrete evidence? No. Fabricated news published by pro-government media outlets, unfounded accusations and slanderous claims that are legally null and void have been refuted one by one. However, the pro-government media does not care about this, since they do not care in the least about rights or the rule of law.

PKK terrorism, piety and the Gülen movement

Adem Palabıyık*, March 29, 2012 A Chinese proverb notes that if you kill somebody, you intimidate thousands of others. To this end, the assaults against the Zaman offices in Europe by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) supporters in recent times appear to be relevant to this proverb. Intimidation… But why the Gülen movement? The reason for […]

64-year-old bedridden woman in 17th month of her imprisonment on “terror” charges

Fatma Yurt, a 64-year-old Turkish woman who is confined to bed, is in the 17th month of her imprisonment over alleged links to the Gulen group, which the government of accused of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016.

Approval rate of Turkish schools abroad at 78 percent

Research company Veritas conducted a survey in July 2013 with 4,296 people in face-to-face interviews in 42 provinces in an effort to measure the approval rate of the Turkish Olympiads that are organized annually.
Accordingly, 67 percent of the respondents expressed a positive opinion of these language olympiads while only 8 percent expressed a negative view.

Deputy Bal says did not resign from AK Party on anyone’s orders

Responding to speculations put forward by circles close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) that independent Kütahya deputy İdris Bal resigned from the party on an order from Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, Bal has said he did not resign from the party on anyone’s orders, stating that if they could prove this, he is also ready to resign from his post as deputy.

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

Gülen donates Manhae award honorarium to Peace Projects

Fethullah Gulen’s Message of Condolences and Condemnation for Terrorist Attack Against Mosque in Egypt

Pakistan submits to Turkey’s ‘authoritarian demands’ on Gulen

Woman with soft tissue tumor held in Ankara prison for 8 months: report

The Persecution of the Hizmet (Gülen) Movement in Turkey: A Chronicle

Saudi scholar finds what he has been looking for in Gulen

Are the Turkish Leader Erdogan’s Claims of Terrorist Coup Plotting to Be Believed?

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News