Moderate Islamic Gulen Movement Builds Bridges of Understanding With Christians, Jews


Date posted: February 1, 2011

Jim Buie

Gulen Movement is trying to identify youths at risk to join terrorist groups and give them free tuition to private schools and a place in the Gulen communities, in hopes of turning their lives around.

I was reading in Today’s Zaman (English language daily newspaper in Turkey) about a conference at the University of Maryland focusing on the moderate, peace-seeking Islamic “Gulen Movement,” which has an estimated four million followers, mostly Muslims. It is seeking to be recognized as the world’s leading Muslim movement.

This article sparked a great conversation with a teacher colleague about Islam. As a faithful Muslim and as a Turk who has lived in Pakistan and is now seeking his green card to teach in U.S., he brought up to me how much he hates terrorism and Bin Laden, who he said is not a real Muslim but a criminal.

I asked him what he could tell me about the Gulen movement. Turns out he is an active part of it. The Gulen movement emphasizes that “education is the ultimate means through which we can deduce the divine will and thus improve the world.” Fethullah Gulen (still living) believes in a moderate and inclusive brand of Islam, and seeks to see a renaissance if not a reformation of his religion. There are three root causes of violence — ignorance, disunity and poverty. Founded in Turkey, the Gulen movement believes in science, interfaith dialog, and multi-party democracy. The movement has been praised by both Jews and Christians.

The Gulen schools serve more than two million students in 90 countries. In Pakistan and Afghanistan the Gulen Movement is trying to identify youths at risk to join terrorist groups and give them free tuition to private schools and a place in the Gulen communities, in hopes of turning their lives around.

The Gulen Movement also helps fund a daily English-language newspaper, Today’s Zamen, here in Turkey, which is quite good and is run by real journalists, not simply advocates.

Source: Original blog may be found at http://jimbuie.blogs.com/journal/2009/11/moderate-islamic-gulen-movement-builds-bridges-of-understanding-with-christians-jews.html

Jim Buie is an American Journalist and Teacher Living in Turkey.


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