Gülen movement can serve as bridge between Islamic and secular nations, intellectuals agree

Many academics and journalists attended the symposium held in Germany.(Photo: Today's Zaman)
Many academics and journalists attended the symposium held in Germany.(Photo: Today's Zaman)


Date posted: November 24, 2015

SEYİT ARSLAN

Amid ongoing efforts by the Turkish government to close down schools opened by Turkish entrepreneurs linked to the faith-based Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, intellectuals and academics across Europe at a symposium in Germany agreed that thanks to its worldwide educational activities, the movement can serve as a bridge in promoting interreligious and interethnic dialogue between Islamic countries and secular ones.

The two-day symposium, organized jointly by the Dialog and Education Association (SDB) and the German Dialog Institutes Union in Frankfurt, was attended by various academics, journalists, scholars and opinion leaders from a number of countries.

Among the attendees at the symposium, titled “Global values and Hizmet movement: Taking responsibility under global difficulties,” was Rainer Hermann, a respected writer for Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) daily, Günter Mulack, the head of the Deutsches Orient-Institut, Professor Urs Baumann from Tubingen University, lawyer Seyran Ateş, Professor Hausili Gerber and Professor Barbara Lemberger from Munich Ludwig Maximilian University.

Speaking at the symposium, Hermann stated Gülen views democracy as the first condition for the development of a society.

“He [Gülen] respects rules and always states that problems need to be resolved through peaceful means. He also defends freedom of faith and minority rights. In that sense, the movement draws a distinctive approach to the problems. For instance, they care about education. I personally saw the high quality of the Turkish schools opened by Turkish entrepreneurs linked to the movement,” Hermann stated.

Gülen is highly respected both in Turkey and in many countries around the world for the educational activities he has pioneered along with his efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the globe. He is in self-imposed exile in the US, although there is no legal hurdle that prevents him from returning to Turkey. Shortly after he went to the US in 2000, he was charged with establishing an illegal organization in Turkey, but was eventually acquitted in 2008.

Gerber meanwhile spoke about the political pressure that the movement faces in Turkey, saying that almost all civil society organizations in history faced similar oppression. “The Hizmet movement is going through a process that many other cicil society organizations experienced before. But this movement has the great potential to serve as a bridge between seculars and religious groups in the world and in Europe in particular,” Gerber stated.

The Turkish government declared the Hizmet movement a treasonous enemy after a corruption scandal involving people in his inner circle that erupted with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013. Erdoğan openly declared last year that he would do whatever it takes to eliminate the “parallel structure,” a term he invented to refer to alleged sympathizers of the movement within the state bureaucracy, even if this requires a “witch-hunt.”

As part of his smear campaign, Erdoğan, on a tour of several African countries in January, called on African leaders to close down Turkish schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in Africa. During his visit to Ethiopia, he said, “In the countries we visit, we have been talking about the status of these schools and saying they should be closed.” Erdoğan also said he has been telling African authorities that the Turkish Ministry of Education is ready to offer the same service provided by these schools. “The ministry is close to finishing its preparations to that effect,” he said.

Source: Today's Zaman , November 23, 2015


Related News

Crackdown in Turkey felt in Capital Region

Volunteers at the Turkish Cultural Center of Albany offered Turkish language and cooking classes, invited the public to Ramadan friendship dinners and sought to build a bridge between East and West by leading a dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. They were research scientists, professors, graduate students, state employees and restaurant owners.

Erdoğan’s former speechwriter: Call for Gülen’s return was tactical move

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former speechwriter and current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Aydın Ünal wrote on Thursday that Erdoğan has never liked Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and that his call for Gülen to return to Turkey in 2012 was a political maneuver.

The more we learn, the more we are the same

During my stay in Turkey, I met with many business leaders and academics that provide funding for schools and universities based on this philosophy. As one businessman told me, “Educated people can understand each other.”

This is too much! [About the Lies and Slanders directed to Gulen movement]

Prime minister said during the fourth ordinary general meeting of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in March of 2012:
“You are not backed by dark forces. You are not backed by the mafia, gangs, junta regimes. You are not backed by the bankers in Galata. You did not take advantage of the sources of the Treasury or public banks. You did not act according to an ideology. You did not surrender to the pressures and roadblocks. You only trusted in the people. Because you only relied on people, you are great and make this country great.”

Mothers meet in İstanbul to mark Mother’s Day, see their children

A mother, Vera Stamova from Moldova, expressed similar feelings. “My two children study in Turkey. My younger daughter studied in Turkish schools [in Moldova]. She received a quality education. I love Turkey and I have great confidence in Turkish people. If I had another child, I would also send her to Turkey. I miss them a lot, but they are very lucky and are taken good care of here,” she said.

Gülen’s defense against Erdoğan’s onslaught

In an effort to find a scapegoat for the colossal wrongdoings in government — including graft, money laundering, re-zoning land and influence peddling allegedly committed, according to the opposition, with the full knowledge and consent of Erdoğan — the Turkish prime minister has staged an unprecedented onslaught against Gülen with all kinds of name calling. He has accused Gülen of plotting a coup against his government without offering a single shred of evidence

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

NTIC’s growing support help 13000 underprivileged children

Media freedom in Turkey takes another blow

Parents seek TL 40,000 in damages for violation of students’ educational rights

Turkish officers speak: Erdogan may have staged coup

Hizmet-affiliated schools removed from private school incentive list

Lawyer: Claims about Gülen followers among ‘jihadist group’ baseless defamation

Gülen-linked journalist association warns that movement’s support for gov’t can end

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News