Saylorsburg cleric sends statement to Muslim-Catholic conference

Turkish and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen
Turkish and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen


Date posted: February 20, 2016

A press release prepared by the Alliance for Shared Values says Saylorsburg resident Fethullah Gulen, the prominent Muslim cleric, has urged people of all faiths to come together to address global conflict at the first-ever US Muslim-Catholic Dialogue Conference, which seeks to promote interfaith dialogue and mutual respect worldwide.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has long been one of Turkey’s most important scholars, with multitudes of followers in his native country and around the world. More recently, Turkey’s increasingly autocratic president, Recip Erdogan, has accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the officially secular government from his Saylorsburg home, some 5,000 miles away, The Associated Press recently reported. Gulen’s supporters call the charge baseless.

The New York-based Alliance is a nonprofit affiliated with Hizmet, the global social movement inspired by Gulen, and often speaks for him.

Gulen was not able to attend the US Muslim-Catholic Dialogue Conference due to his poor health. His speech was read by Zeki Saritoprak, professor of Islamic studies at John Carroll University.

“The Earth has never been free of those who propagate fear, hate, and enmity for different motives,” Gulen’s remarks through Saritoprak said. “However, undeniably, humans are tired of wars, violent conflicts, bloodshed, atrocities, and they are thirsty for universal dialogue and peace. Our globalizing world presents a historically unprecedented ground for developing affinity, integration and mutual acceptance.”

In his remarks, Gulen applauded religious leaders across the globe for their efforts to foster peace and understanding, noting, “It would be unrealistic to expect all conflicts on the earth to cease anytime soon. However, it is also not wishful thinking to expect that relations among various communities around the world will become more humane, driven by access to information, the reliance on reason and the increased first-hand knowledge of each other facilitated by dialogue in our increasingly shrinking world.”

The remarks continued, “Fourteen centuries ago, the Holy Quran called for dialogue among Muslims, Jews and Christians, the latter two it referred to as Ahl-Al Kitaab, or people of the book. However, conflicts far outnumbered periods of peace in the intervening centuries due to conditions of those times. Now, however, the following centuries should be defined by mutual respect, love and coalescence.”

Gulen is rarely seen in public but gives weekly sermons at his Saylorsburg retreat center. The sermons can be seen online at herkul.org. His latest sermon was on Feb. 14. According to the Hurriyet Daily News of Turkey, an Istanbul court has ruled to block access to herkul.org in Turkey.

Source: Pocono Records , February 18, 2016


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