Supporters of Saylorsburg Muslim cleric say protesters have got it all wrong

M. Fethullah Gulen
M. Fethullah Gulen


Date posted: July 12, 2013

Jenna Ebersole

Protesters planning a trip to Saylorsburg on Saturday are bringing an internal Turkish issue to the American streets, a representative from an organization connected with Fethullah Gülen said Thursday.

A Turkish couple in Florida began organizing the protest about two weeks ago. It is set for 1 p.m. in front of Gülen’s home and retreat center on Mount Eaton Road. A Facebook page for the event listed about 430 people planning to attend as of Thursday.

The controversial Turkish cleric has millions of followers but has also faced critics who accuse him of trying to turn Turkey into an Islamic regime. Protesters said he has a secret agenda for America and is the puppeteer behind the current leader in Turkey.

Alp Aslandogan, president of the Alliance for Shared Values, said Thursday he recognizes the right to protest but hopes that it remains peaceful.

“We support their freedom of expression,” he said, adding though that the retreat center is on private property.

Peaceful co-existence

The alliance is an umbrella group for other interfaith and humanitarian organizations, Aslandogan said. It is inspired by Gülen, the terminology preferred by groups associated with the Gülen movement globally.

Aslandogan said that in its many years in Saylorsburg, the center has never seen a protest.

“They have had a very good relationship with their neighbors,” he said.

Aslandogan is an American citizen from Turkey who lives in New Jersey and has spent time locally.

“In a sense, we see ourselves as part of the Pocono community,” he said.

He said the protesters actually appear anti-American in statements made in Turkish online despite their opposite claims.

Protesters also expressed suspicion about U.S. charter schools affiliated with Gülen. But Aslandogan said they are non-religious, composed mainly of Americans, and highly successful.

Provokes passions

He said he was also puzzled by the protesters’ linking of Gülen and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the protests in major Turkish cities.

“He was actually critical of the way the government handled the situation,” Aslandogan said, which included tear gas from police.

Gülen is not a political figure, but rather a man who promotes values that could overlap indirectly with some political parties, Aslandogan said.

The problem often in the American interpretation of the issue is a misunderstanding of secularism in Turkey, he said, which he said means something different to Turks.

Gülen followers agree with secularism’s meaning in the West, the separation of church and state, he said. But Turkish secularists are against religion generally, he said.

Nicole Guven is a Honesdale resident whose husband is Turkish. She spent time in Istanbul in 2011 with an English newspaper.

Guven said that in general, Turks are very passionate one way or the other about Gülen. Pennsylvanians in Turkey are often asked whether they know him.

The central conflict, she said, is between a secular and religiously conservative Turkey. In striving to break with religion in politics, women before the current party came into power could not attend college or work for the government if they wore headscarves.

Secular Turks have become concerned about a perceived Islamization with the current regime, she said.

“So the measures that we may see as oppressive can also be viewed as necessary for the country to remain a secular democracy,” she said in an email.

No terror ties

Gülen was once accused of trying to install an Islamic regime, Guven said, though he has had no connection with terrorism.

Guven said she personally supports a secular Turkey, but protesters’ accusations about his continued control likely go too far, as does the goal of expelling him.

“What’s great about this country, though, is that the man is allowed to practice his religious beliefs here and will not be persecuted for it,” she said. “Even if I don’t agree with his politics or religious beliefs, that doesn’t mean I should persecute him.”

Source: PoconoRecord , July 12, 2013


Related News

Remarks by Congressman Randy Weber (Representing Texas) at IFLC Washington DC

International Festival of Language and Culture – IFLC 2016 Remarks by Congressman Randy Weber (Representing Texas) IFLC Washington DC

Fethullah Gülen suggests Turkish coup attempt could have been staged

Islamic cleric who has been blamed by Turkey’s president for the coup attempt on Friday evening gives a rare interview and suggests that the event may have been staged by the Turkish government as a way to shore up power and excuse further arrests of those who oppose Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Fethullah Gulen sends his condolences to victims of Boston bombings

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic bomb attack at the Boston Marathon that cost the lives of innocent people and injured many more. I express my absolute condemnation of this senseless act of violence that accomplished nothing more than the infliction of unbearable pain on innocent people. I send my sincere condolences to the […]

Supreme court calls on AK Party’s Şahin to substantiate claim about Gülen

The Supreme Court of Appeals has asked a senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) official to hand over any evidence regarding his allegations about US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen amid claims by the official that a judge at the high court had acted contrary to legal procedures and contacted Gülen before issuing his final verdict in a case against a businessman several years ago.

The mother of all wars

The heart of the matter is whether the [Turkish Government] corruption charges are valid. If they are, then there will be little to say other than calling all corrupt politicians to resign. Few people are interested in this factual matter, however, as the mother of all political wars escalate everyday with accusations, counter-accusations and unabashed partisanship.

Al Gore’s daughter fasted for the first time for Peace Islands Institute’s iftar dinner

Iftar dinner (breaking of fast), which was held in Columbia University, brought together numerous prominent members of the community. The event, organized by Peace Islands Institute (PII), New York Interfaith Center and Columbia University Religious Studies Department, hosted former US Vice President Al Gore’s daughter Karenna Gore and one of the Indonesia’s prominent religious figures, Imam Semsi Ali.

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

Cancer patient arrested over Gülen links shortly after surgery

WikiLeaks Emails Show Turkey Tried To Hide Corruption Evidence

Arinc: Gulen lights the way for us

Paranoia: Turkish ‘hero’ T-shirts land dozens in jail

Turkish police detain another woman shortly after caesarean delivery

International panel on Mary was held in Istanbul

Municipality illegally demolishes building in İstanbul

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News