McGill University Prof: Turkish President Erdogan Wrong To Blame Man Of Prayer For Coup

Gregory Baum, Prof. Emer., Religious Studies, McGill University
Gregory Baum, Prof. Emer., Religious Studies, McGill University


Date posted: August 11, 2016

Gregory Baum

I am appalled by the accusation of Turkey’s president, Mr. Erdogan, singling out Rev. Fethullah Gülen as instigator of the recent military putsch. I am appalled because I am familiar with the work of this Turkish sage, have studied his thought and learned how he understands his mission in society.

As a Catholic theologian committed to interreligious dialogue, a student of contemporary Islamic thought and an admirer of Fethullah Gülen, I feel obliged to denounce the absurd idea that he or his movement is an initiator of violence.

Solidarity of Catholics with followers of other religions committed to justice and peace is a recent phenomenon, based on the Church’s new teaching at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). I actually had the honour as an appointed theologian to participate in the composition of Nostra aetate, the conciliar declaration of the Church spelling out its new approach to the world religions: respect, dialogue, recognizing many common values and hoping for cooperation in support of the common good.

In recent years I have studied the renewal movement (al-nahda) of Muslim religious thinkers open to democracy and pluralism and at the same time faithful to the substance of their faith; they want to be modern as well as orthodox. Catholic theologians wrestled with this issue in the 20th century: they too wanted to be modern and orthodox. Their work eventually affected the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

Fethullah Gülen is part of the renewal movement, al-nahda. For him Islam is first of all a religion, the worship of God, summoning believers to be good and do good in their society. He emphasizes the Qur’anic message that God wants his people to be truthful, and just, and build a just and peace-loving society.

For Gülen, a man of prayer, the Qur’an contains an ethic of citizenship. In the name of Islam, he advocates education, productivity, dialogue with the sciences and universal friendship. These are the values promoted by Hizmet, the Gülen Movement. While religiously based, Hizmet is an educational movement. It is obvious that the faith-based Hizmet has no affinity whatever with the secularism of the military clique that staged the recent revolt.

Gülen has always remained non-political. Political parties come and go, he said, while Islam remains. Yet because he and his movement stand for truthfulness, and justice, and dare to question what happens in politics and government, they have been denounced more than once as enemies of the State.

In recent years journalists associated with Hizmet have drawn attention to the corruption and the increasing authoritarianism of the Erdogan government, observations that provoked Erdogan’s enmity. Hizmet was made the scapegoat for Turkey’s unresolved problems and now, after the putsch, Fethullah Gülen, Turkey’s spiritual sage, is indicted as its initiator. I call this absurd.

Gregory Baum
Prof. Emer., Religious Studies, McGill University

Source: Huffington Post , August 10, 2016


Related News

Return to Turkey or lose citizenship, gov’t tells Gülen followers

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) will revoke the citizenship of followers of the faith-based Gülen movement who sought refuge abroad due to a government crackdown on alleged movement sympathizers if they do not return to Turkey within a certain period of time, the pro-government Sabah daily reported on Thursday.

Yes, Love Is a Verb!

Because of his [Fethullah Gulen] influence…at risk children are now being educated in hundreds of countries…The sick are being treated…..and the starving are fed….often at great personal risk..

Biden’s office refutes Turkish minister’s claim that US has proof Gülenists plotted coup

US Vice President Joe Biden’s office refuted a claim made by Bekir Bozdağ, justice minister of Turkey, who said on Thursday night that Biden had confirmed that substantive information on the involvement of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen had been received by the US as part of an extradition request submitted by Ankara this month.

Debunking The Gülen-Erdoğan Relationship

Yes, at one time, there had been rapprochement and mutual support, but reality and history show that such an alliance has long been overstated. The truth is, Erdoğan and Gülen only came together when Erdoğan’s stated goals reflected deeply held beliefs by Gülen. As is often the case, perception is mistaken for reality. Gülen is not Erdoğan’s biggest threat, nor was he his chief ally.

Niagara Foundation Ohio Award Ceremony gathers a large attendance

Niagara Foundation, active across 11 states in Midwest, held its annual award ceremony on November 5th in Columbus, Ohio. Aimed to promote education and dialogue, the foundation’s annual event drew a large attendance of prominent guests including assembly members, academics and religious figures. Serkan Aykan, Niagara Foundation Ohio director, delivered the opening address of the […]

Turkish PM Erdoğan’s imagined enemies

Turkey is no longer the old Turkey. The affluent middle class, the young population and stronger civil society organizations, strengthened by the digital revolution with such tools as social media and Internet portals, will resist any attempts to turn the clock backwards on the development of Turkish democracy. People will simply ask why Prime Minister Erdoğan is not going after his people who have been sleeping with the enemy next door if he is really sincere in addressing external threats to this great nation.

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

EP’s Rebecca Harms Visited Turkish Educator Çabuk In Georgian Prison

Mr. Gulen is trying to interpret the broad humanistic principles of the Qur’an for the modern world

Mining disaster victims commemorated by Senegalese students

Turkish Charities accelerate Ramadan aid efforts worldwide

Taraf, Baransu file criminal complaint against PM Erdoğan

Islamic scholar Gülen criticizes Turkish gov’t response to Gezi protests

Jailed journalist facing new trial for not calling Gülen movement a terror organization

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News