Date posted: October 17, 2013
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.