Date posted: August 6, 2016
A few weeks ago, there was an attempted coup in Turkey. Cleric Fethullah Gulen is still being accused of masterminding this attempted coup. Thousands of people have been imprisoned only because they are potentially sympathizing with Gulen. Gulen “categorically” denies being behind the coup and has been very vocal in condemning such attempts that undermine democracy. Based on his previous teachings, lectures, books and articles, his denial of involvement is extremely convincing.
Gulen is a moderate Islamic Scholar who is currently living in the US since 1999. His followers form a civil service movement called “Hizmet or Gulen” movement. The movement is well received throughout the world for their service to the social needs. His interpretation of the Islam has been consistently peaceful and peace-motivated.
One of the distinct and explicit features of Gulen has been a well-defined stance against violence and social chaos. In his lectures, he has advised against creating and taking part in social chaos. He has strongly discouraged going on the street to demonstrate and disturbing the social harmony. Even in the case where oppression becomes wide spread, maintaining social order is paramount. In his books, his lesson to the oppressed factions of society has been very similar to the teaching of Jesus mentioned in the Bible: “turn the other cheek when someone strikes you” [5:38-41]. As a matter of fact, he has expressed immediately his stance after any type of violence such as oppression or blood shed. Immediately after the September 11 tragedy, he was the first Muslim scholar who underlined the Quranic fact [5, 32] “ A real Muslim identity will not commit a satanic act of killing, as presented in an article in Washington Post. His philosophy of life is “to respect and love all the creation due to love and respect towards God”. Gulen sees himself as the follower of the Prophet Muhammad and Sufi masters such as Rumi. He praises the likes of Jesus and Ghandi and anyone who brings peaceful methods of social betterment to the table.
He is intensely dedicated to education and sees it as the strongest force that can defeat the darkness of violence. He has motivated millions of people to teach in underserved areas, whether it is downtown Cleveland or war-torn Bosnia.
I consider that it is very illogical and unsubstantiated to blame a personality and implicitly the followers of his teachings for an action that is a potential source of a lot of human deaths, destruction and chaos. A similar philosophy of respect and love for everything due to their real Source, the Creator, could be one of our vital prescriptions that is essential against all types and sources of ferocity which we unfortunately witness in the world today.