Fethullah Gulen writes in WSJ: Muslims Must Combat the Extremist Cancer


Date posted: August 27, 2015

FETHULLAH GULEN

Muslims Must Combat the Extremist Cancer, Denounce terrorism, defend human rights and promote education.

As the group that calls itself Islamic State, known as ISIS, continues to produce carnage in the Middle East, Muslims must confront the totalitarian ideology that animates it and other terrorist groups. Every terrorist act carried out in the name of Islam profoundly affects all Muslims, alienating them from fellow citizens and deepening the misperceptions about their faith’s ethos.

It isn’t fair to blame Islam for the atrocities of violent radicals. But when terrorists claim the Muslim mantle, then they bear this identity, if only nominally. Thus members of the faith must do whatever possible to prevent this cancer from metastasizing in our communities. If we don’t, we’ll be partly responsible for the smeared image of our faith.

First, we must denounce violence and not fall prey to victimhood. Having suffered oppression is no excuse for causing it or for failing to condemn terrorism. That the terrorists are committing grave sins in the name of Islam is not merely my opinion; it is the inevitable conclusion of an honest reading of primary sources: the Quran and the accounts of the life of Prophet Muhammad. The core principles of these sources—relayed over the centuries by scholars who devoted themselves to studying the Prophet’s sayings and practices, and to the “author’s intent” in the Holy Book—dispels any claims terrorists make of religious justification.

Second, it is important to promote a holistic understanding of Islam, as the flexibility to accommodate the diverse backgrounds of its adherents can sometimes be abused. Islam’s core ethics, however, are not left to interpretation. One such principle is that taking the life of a single innocent is a crime against all humanity (Quran 5:32). Even in an act of defense in war, violence against any noncombatants, especially women, children and clergy, is specifically prohibited by the Prophet’s teachings.

We must demonstrate these values by showing solidarity with people who seek peace around the world. Given the nature of human psychology and the dynamics of the news, it’s obvious that mainstream voices are less likely to capture headlines than extremist ones. But instead of blaming the media, we should find innovative ways to ensure our voices are heard.

Third, Muslims must publicly promote human rights—dignity, life and liberty. These are the most basic of Islamic values and no individual, nor any political or religious leader, has the authority to snatch them away. Living the essence of our faith means respecting diversity—cultural, social, religious and political. God identifies learning from one another as the primary goal of diversity (Quran 49:13). Respecting each human being as a creation of God (17:70) is respecting God.

Fourth, Muslims must provide educational opportunities to every member of their communities, where the study of sciences, humanities and arts is embedded in a culture of respect for every living being. Governments in the Muslim world must design school curricula that nurture democratic values. Civil society has a role in promoting respect and acceptance. This is the reason participants of the Hizmet movement have set up more than 1,000 schools, tutoring centers and dialogue institutions in more than 150 countries.

Fifth, providing religious education to Muslims is critical to depriving extremists of a tool that they use to spread their twisted ideologies. When religious freedom is denied, as it has been for decades in parts of the Muslim world, faith grows in the shadows, leaving it to be interpreted by unqualified and radical figures.

Finally, it is imperative that Muslims support equal rights for women and men. Women should be given opportunity and be free from social pressures that deny their equality. Muslims have a great example in Prophet Muhammad’s wife Aisha, a highly educated scholar, teacher and prominent community leader of her time.

Terrorism is a multifaceted problem, so the solutions should address the political, economic, social and religious layers. Approaches that reduce the problem to religion do a disservice to at-risk youth and the world at large. The international community would do well to realize that Muslims are the primary victims of terrorism—both literally and symbolically—and they can help marginalize terrorists and prevent recruitment. That’s why governments should avoid statements and actions that result in the alienation of Muslims.

Violent extremism has no religion; there will always be people who manipulate faith texts. Just as Christians do not endorse Quran burnings or the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, and Buddhists do not endorse atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, mainstream Muslims do not endorse violence.

Muslims have historically added much to the flourishing of human civilization. Our greatest contributions were made in eras when the faith cherished mutual respect, freedom and justice. It may be immensely difficult to restore the blotted image of Islam, but Muslims can be beacons of peace and tranquility in their societies.

Mr. Gulen is an Islamic scholar and founder of the Hizmet civil-society movement.

Source: Wall Street Journal , August 27, 2015


Related News

A new book by Esposito and Yavuz on ‘The Gülen Movement’

Ali H. Aslan Teachings of Fethullah Gülen which have inspired hundreds and thousands of Turkish people work for global education, peace, and the spread of tolerance, has become the subject of a new scholarly book in the U.S. The book entitled, ‘Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement,’ was published by one of […]

A Shared Struggle: Muslim and Jewish fasters break it together

Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn’s Jewish and Muslim communities have used a common fasting day to build stronger bonds between them. Last Tuesday, July 16, Jews observed Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Hebrew calendar which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples and is a strict fast day. Meanwhile, until Aug. […]

International Conference on Hizmet Movement in Taiwan

Formosa Institute and Taiwan Association of Islamic Studies (TAIS) are organizing a conference titled “Hizmet Movement and the Thought and Teachings of Fethullah Gülen: Contributions to Multiculturalism and Global Peace” to be held on December 8-9 2012 and calling for papers. Objective The need for peaceful coexistence among the people of various cultures has long been […]

Turkish Cultural Center holds friendship dinner

The Turkish Cultural Center of Staten Island (TCCSI), held its is Sixth Annual Friendship Dinner and Award Ceremony at The Vanderbilt in South Beach on Thursday.

‘Building Bridges Through Education’ explores education’s role in a globalized society

Leaders of more than a dozen universities from around the world recently visited California University of Pennsylvania to discuss collaborative educational opportunities and the cultural gap that education can bridge.

Kimse Yok Mu provides TL 11 million aid to Palestine

Kimse Yok Mu Foundation has provided 11,248,000 Turkish Lira worth assistance to Palestinians to date. Over 3/4 of this amount has been given away in the form of food. With the launch of the local chapter in 2013, our foundation has increased its efforts in the region. Total amount in 2014 alone reached over 3 million Turkish Lira.

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

UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Gülen and the Hizmet Movement

Turkey detains Mozambican software developer over links to Gülen movement

US says it does not consider Gülen movement a terror organization

GYV says Gülen did not send letter to Erdoğan

Gulen calls for new constitution in Turkey

Hizmet movement applauded at friendship dinner in Italy

Awards from Romanian Prime Minister to Turkish School Students

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News