Love is A Verb – forthcoming documentary on the Gülen Movement

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen


Date posted: October 16, 2013

HizmetNews, October 17, 2013

Terry Spencer Hesser of Global Vision Productions, a non-profit organization based in Chicago, has been working on a new documentary, Love Is A Verb, on the Gülen Movement and its teacher and inspirer Fethullah Gülen.

Terry Spencer Hesser and her team are currently in post-production where the editing, voiceovers and sound, graphics and color correction will be inserted. She has launched a fundraiser campaign to fund the post-production work and its publicity. Click here to contribute to the final stages of the documentary.

She named the documentary “Love is a Verb” because the generosity of Gülen volunteers is an act, not a feeling or a word, according to her. After three years of working together, she and her co-producer are in awe of Hizmet. She says she is far too stuck in her Western ways to be a part of this group of pious Turkish Muslims, but they are her friends and for that she am grateful.

However, the documentary was expensive and risky to shoot. Her team traveled to Turkey, Bosnia, Belgium, Iraq, and Somalia. They’re finally in the finishing stages of this project where they really need funding.

Below is her own letter about the project and some excerpts of the movie made.

Terry Spencer Hesser, Writer, Director & Executive Producer

Love Is A Verb is an examination of a social movement of Sufi-inspired Sunni Muslims that began in Turkey in the l960s and now spans across the globe. The group is called Hizmet, the Turkish word for “service” or The Gülen Movement after its inspiration and teacher, Fethullah Gülen, a man TIME magazine named as one of the most influential leaders in the world in 2013 for “…preaching a message of tolerance.”

In the decade after 9/11, I was vaguely aware that it was not a good time to be a Muslim in America, nor for that matter, an American in the Middle East. At the time, I never really knew any Muslims, nor did I make any effort to. Then in 2010, I met a group of people who invited me on an interfaith trip to Turkey. Although I am not religious, I jumped at the chance to see Turkey and to have an adventure.

I never dreamed that this trip would be a start of a three-year journey that would change my life.

We met teachers in Sarajevo, who crawled through a tunnel to open a school during the war. We met people who travel to some of the most dangerous places on earth to bring medical relief to those in need. We met a Kurdish woman who is working as an engineer to bring water in the desert. In Somalia we followed two doctors who put their lives at risk in a place where other relief organizations have deemed too dangerous, a place where they sleep under armed guard. We met a conductor whose orchestra is composed of children whose parents fought against each other in the war. We got a glimpse of the interfaith work Hizmet conducts in Turkey, including a visit to Rumi’s exquisite shrine.

At first I was not sure whether or not I believed the goodness that they all seemed to have. I wondered whether it was a con that I couldn’t see through because of our cultural differences. Or what their motivation was. But when I learned about their commitment to the greater good, and their history about why they work toward peace and dignity for all people, I became convinced about their sincerity. I met with Fethullah Gülen and was touched by his genuineness and surprised by his shyness and discomfort in my presence.

My trips to these countries gave me pause, made me glad to be an American, yet also humbled me.

In the West, every so often we hear about Muslims in a negative light. Now, I need your help to tell this amazing story of Muslims who are working toward bringing the kind of change we would all like to see in this world.

The movie I made is named Love is a Verb. I decided to name it that because the generosity of Gülen volunteers is an act, not a feeling or a word. The presents, the food, the concern that they have for others is the physical manifestation of love as a verb.

After three years of working together, my co-producer and I are in awe of Hizmet. I am far too stuck in my Western ways to be a part of this group of pious Turkish Muslims, but they are my friends and for that I am grateful. This film is how I am trying to show it, because through them I learned that Love is a Verb.

This expansive and unique story needed to be told. It was also expensive and risky to shoot. We traveled to Turkey, Bosnia, Belgium, Iraq, and Somalia. We’re finally in the finishing stages of this project.

Yet all of the money we had for this project went into the shooting of the film. We are currently in post-production where the editing, voiceovers and sound, graphics and color correction will be inserted. We need help in funding the post-production work and its publicity, so we can spread the word.

I hope you will help us share this story of service and compassion in a time where there is not enough of either in this world. In a time when the 24-hour news cycle focuses on the negative and the gulf that divides us, we need a story that talks about the values that we share and the hope that can bring us together.

Click here to contribute to the final stages of the documentary.


Related News

Education minister in Jamaica joins Kimse Yok Mu to feed needy

The humanitarian relief organization Kimse Yok Mu Foundation extended a helping hand to the needy in the Central American country Jamaica. The donations arrived in the country located in the Caribbean Sea after a long flight from Turkey.

Fethullah Gülen’s Condemnation of the New Year’s Eve Terrorist Attack in Istanbul Nightclub

Fethullah Gulen issued a message of condolences and condemnation of the terrorist attack in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve. Gulen said, “I pray that God grant mercy and forgiveness to those who lost their lives during a time normally reserved for celebration, hope and renewal.”

Lies in the “Research” by Der Spiegel

MAHMUT ÇEBİ  August 8, 2012 Fethullah Gülen has so far been designated with numerous titles: Islamist, pro-Christian, pro-sharia, pro-Vatican, pro-ummah, pro-Turan (Turkish ethnic nationalist), pro-American, pro-Israel, Calvinist, etc. Those who never listened to him or read his books have attacked him with as many defamations as they wished. But these decades-long groundless attacks have never […]

The era of dialogue will never be over

I saw, once again, what it means to be “stuck in time.” Breivik looks only to the past and disregards the potential for the human will to create change. He claims, in opposition to Gülen, that the time for dialogue is over. “We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come,” he declares.

The US Should Not Extradite Fethullah Gülen, To A Paranoid Turkish Government

It should be common sense to say that Gulen should not be handed over to a paranoid state, which cannot handle its own affairs. Fethullah Gulen himself has done what others also have, which is to suggest that Erdogan himself facilitated “the coup” in order for him to introduce his new phase of order over the country, becoming a dictator under NATO protection.

White House praises Rumi Forum

21 November 2011, Monday / ALİ H. ASLAN, WASHINGTON The White House, on its official website, commended the Washington-based Rumi Forum, an international organization promoting interfaith dialogue and peace, for its work in fostering “inter-religious and intercultural understanding” in a “consistent” manner since its establishment in 1999. The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood […]

Latest News

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

Grondahl: Turkish community strong in wake of threats from back home

Turkish-Kyrgyz educator’s abduction shows Ankara’s ruthless disregard for law: HRW

Kenya: Investigate Deportation of Turkish National

In Case You Missed It

A Forum On Africa in Turkey (II)

Gülen conference in London

Albanian president to Erdoğan: Turkish schools pose no threat

Pro-government Yeni Şafak daily fires critical columnist

Hizmet from the Heart

A Turkish family has disappeared in Pakistan, and suspicion turns to intelligence agencies

Students, Parents Protest Over Afghan-Turk Schools’ Transfer To Maarif Foundation

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News