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

Kurdish intellectuals denounce attack on Şırnak educational institution

24 April 2012 / AYTEN ÇİFTÇİ/ALİ GÜVEN, İSTANBUL/ŞIRNAK Kurdish intellectuals have joined critics of a suspected outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack on a building, which hosts a private university prep course in Şırnak on Saturday, saying the masterminds of such attacks will not achieve their goals. The building, where weekend and evening courses to […]

Fatih University wins European Universities Championship

The Fatih University basketball team has won the 13th European Universities Basketball Championship, which took place in Slovenia.

ECtHR Asks Turkish Gov’t For Explanation Over The Case Of Abducted Lawyer

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to evaluate the application of Emine Özben whose husband Mustafa Özben (42), a Bar-registered lawyer and academic, was abducted on May 9, 2017 in Ankara  by elements linked to Turkish security and intelligence services on August 4, 2017.

Inspector candidate labeled ‘red’ by ministry confirms profiling reports

A candidate inspector for the Ministry of Finance who learned from recent media reports that he had been profiled by the ministry on the basis of his family background has confirmed that the information disclosed by the media matches his personal information.

Turkey’s Gulen supporters flee to Greece – BBC World

Hundred of members of Turkey’s Gulenist network have sought refuge in neighbouring Greece. Turkey accuses the network of being behind the failed coup in July 2016. And in recent months, the number of lives in exile appears to be increased as the BBC’s Cagil Kasapoglu reports from Thessaloniki.

A Voice from Africa: Is This Erdogan’s Play For Autocratic Power In Turkey?

Erdogan has unlimited power for the next three months during the state of emergency and he is already thinking of instituting the death penalty (remember the Austro-Hungarian German dictator called Hitler). Here’s to hoping he self-implodes in the next three months, because it is doubtful he will relinquish his hold on power at the end.

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

Turkey’s post-coup purges shake higher education

Canadian Globe Editorial- It just gets worse in Turkey

Fethullah Gulen Statement Accepting the 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award

Bringing Peace While Breaking Fasts

Gülen’s lawyer to sue daily Sabah over black propaganda

Teachers detained on coup charges while casting votes in referendum

Organization (Kimse Yok Mu?) helped 79 Syrian families

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News