M. Fethullah Gülen: educator, mystic, peacebuilder


Date posted: December 27, 2018

Richard Penaskovic

Those who want to reform the world must first reform themselves; purify their inner worlds of hatred, rancor, and jealousy; and adorn their outer worlds with virtue.” M. Fethullah Gülen

“The greatest gift today’s generation can give is to teach their children how to forgive and be tolerant.” M. Fethullah Gülen

Reuter World News reports that the Trump administration is mulling over the question whether to extradite to Turkey the Muslim cleric, M. Fethullah Gülen for masterminding the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Recently, during a news conference in Doha, Qatar, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu remarked that at the G20 summit President Trump told Recep Erdogan that the U.S. was working on extraditing Gülen and 80 of his followers to Turkey for treason and tax evasion.

Remarkably, President Erdogan has zero evidence to back up his charge that Mr. Gülen was behind the failed coup. If extradited to Turkey, Mr. Gülen would appear before a kangaroo court and be sentenced to death.

Apparently, President Erdogan feels threatened by Mr. Gülen, who is the complete opposite of Erdogan. Mr. Gülen is a world-renowned educator, mystic and peacebuilder, who eschews politics. He’s a poet and writer of numerous books and articles that speak about world peace, spirituality, and the importance of interfaith dialogue.

Mr. Gülen, who has several million followers world-wide, now 80 years old, has suffered with a heart condition and diabetes for the past 30 years. He spent his professional life as a charismatic preacher in the Ministry of Religious Affairs. He has not been engaged in political action, nor has he displayed opposition to the Turkish Republic.

Mr. Gülen has been the inspiration behind the Hizmet or service movement. His followers established several universities in Turkey and hundreds of elementary and high schools throughout the world, including some in the U.S. These schools emphasize science and math and do not offer classes in religion. 

I visited some of these schools when I went on a tour of Turkey in 2005 with several individuals from Atlanta, including a rabbi, the president of a Lutheran denomination, an expert on Sufism and a political scientist from Georgia. We were impressed with these schools, some of which were in rural parts of Turkey.

In one school we were the first Americans the students ever met. They were very gracious to us and gave us new meaning to the word, hospitality.

Our itinerary took us to Istanbul, Konya, Aspendos, and Antalya on the Mediterranean Sea. Each night we were invited to dinner in the home of our Turkish hosts. After one dinner, a young 8-year-old child approached me, knelt down, and asked to kiss my hand, as a sign of respect. I was very touched by this.

Later that evening, I realized that the hospitality we experienced in Turkey was simply the outward manifestation of an inner attitude of welcome that arises from a profound conviction of faith. I also thought that the hospitality we received from our hosts made us realize that the person who inspired the Hizmet movement, Mr. Gülen must be a saintly man.

Some years later, at a conference on Gülen held in Baton Rouge at Louisiana State University, I spoke to a Jesuit priest who had visited Mr. Gülen at his home in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

This priest told me that he had met with three popes in his lifetime. However, he was more impressed with Mr. Gülen than any of these three popes, two of whom, Pope Benedict XIV and Pope John Paul II have been canonized as saints. This priest characterized Mr. Gülen to me as a mystic. 

The F.B.I. has thoroughly investigated the charges made against Mr. Gülen by Erdogan and found Mr. Gülen completely blameless. Hence, it would be a total travesty of justice if President Trump decides to accede to President Erdogan’s wishes and extradite Mr. Gülen to Turkey only to face a death squad.

Moreover, according to the U.S. Immigration Services (www.uscis.gov/green-card-holder) a permanent resident or green card holder, such as Mr. Gülen, has the right to live permanently in the United States.  

Finally, I would point out that the Editorial Board of the New York Post on Dec. 17 noted that,“For all Erdogan’s bluster over the Saudi murder of regime critic, Jamal Khashoggi, he wants nothing more than to do the same thing without the bad press.” 

Richard Penaskovic is an Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Auburn University

Source: Auburn Villager , December 27, 2018


Related News

Thunder’s Enes Kanter says his father has been arrested and faces torture in Turkey

“My father is arrested because of my outspoken criticism of the ruling party. He may get tortured for simply being my family member,” Kanter said in his statement Friday.

The Guardian view on the week in Turkey: coup – and counter-coup?

Now, with the European convention on human rights suspended and a six-month state of emergency that allows President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to rule without parliament – although thousands still turn out nightly in his support – some are beginning to wonder if the cure has turned out to be little better than the original threat.

A Forum On Africa in Turkey (I)

Istanbul was peaceful when we arrived to attend the 29th Abant international forum titled: “Africa: Between Experience and Inspiration”. The event which brought together about 160 participants held between June 28-30, 2013 at a serene and scenic mountain resort of Abantu Buyuk Hotel in Bolu,Turkey.

Junior Coalition Partner Demands Explanation Why Bulgarian Govt Turned over Abdullah Buyuk to Turkey

Right-wing Reformist Bloc, the junior partner in Bulgaria’s minority coalition cabinet, has demanded that Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova explain to Parliament why the government turned over Turkish businessman Abdullah Buyuk to Turkey last week. “The Reformist Bloc expresses disagreement with the violation of basic principles that guide the coalition; for us these are the rule […]

Lawyers for Gulen Call Flynn’s Comments ‘Troubling’

Gulen has never been charged with a crime in the U.S., and he has consistently denounced terrorism as well as the failed coup in Turkey. One of Gulen’s lawyers, Jason Weinstein, called Flynn’s comments about Gulen “troubling” but said the extradition process is a legal matter in the hands of the Department of Justice.

Gülen calls for peaceful coexistence, warns about deceit and oppression

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has called for living together in peace, echoing similar remarks issued by President Abdullah Gül last week against the background of two-week-long anti-government protests in Turkey. “For the love of God, let’s live for a while in a [spirit] of brotherhood,” Gülen said, borrowing a theme from a popular song […]

Latest News

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

Turkish Food Festival seeks to teach Greenville about Turkey’s culture and cuisine

Chestnut Retreat Center offers a look inside their Saylorsburg facility and its mission

Erdoğan’s overarching purge is not a road accident

Is Gulen the scapegoat of Ankara crisis?

Post-coup purge in Turkey leaves children parentless after mother and father are put behind bars

Turkey’s post-coup purge and persecution makes no exception for children

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences for the Beirut Explosion

In Case You Missed It

Turkish ruling party’s targeting of the Gülen movement constitutes a crime against humanity

Alevi associations react against halt of mosque-cemevi project

Kimse Yok Mu reaches out to refugee families in Afghanistan

University preparatory courses and the Hizmet movement in Turkey

Kimse Yok Mu officials extend helping hand to Syrian refugees

Turks most honest donors to Somalia, says minister

Extradition request for Gülen aims at manipulating public perception

Copyright 2020 Hizmet News