Muslim world in transition: Contributions of the Gülen Movement

Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz
Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz


Date posted: October 29, 2007

İHSAN YILMAZ

A conference was held in London on Oct. 25-27 to discuss contributions of the Gülen movement, led by Fethullah Gülen. This conference was launched at the House of Lords and was attended by several members of parliament, lords, baronesses, newspaper editors, academics, dignitaries and high-ranking civil servants.

The conference’s main theme centered on the Gülen movement’s actual and potential positive contribution to transition in the Muslim world vis-à-vis education and dialogue for a lasting peace, democracy, peaceful coexistence and human rights.

The conference proceedings book has already been published by the Leeds Metropolitan University Press and describes the movement as a leading movement in contemporary Turkey with a universal educational and interfaith agenda that aims to promote creative and constructive positions on issues such as democracy, multiculturalism, globalization and interfaith dialogue in the context of secular modernity.

As promised in the preface of the book, Gülen’s re-reading of religious texts in the context of a renewal and re-interpretation of Islam that can take part in the building of a fully humane society in Europe also featured in the deliberations of the conference.

Many presenters underlined that the Gülen movement is renewing Islamic discourse and practices in tune with contemporary times without boasting that it is doing so. Many of the movement’s activities in the Muslim world were elaborated on in detail from an academic perspective for the first time. Some papers argued that Gülen’s understanding of Anatolian Muslimness and his tajdid (renewal) can be transferred with some contextual modifications to other parts of the Muslim world as well as to Muslims living in the West.

The conference was not without criticism. E-mails were sent to members of the editorial board asking them to call off the conference, labeling the Gülen movement an extension of the imperialist West and a project of moderate Islam fashioned by the US that seeks to destroy democracy in Turkey, etc.

Many scholars who participated in the conference commented about how they were surprised to see that the author(s) of these e-mails naively expected serious scholars to believe these groundless and unsubstantiated accusations, adding that these e-mails helped them understand Turkey more in terms of the old elite’s adamant, but desperate, fight against the prospects of open society.

Many papers agreed that Gülen is a contemporary Rumi. It is no coincidence that Rumi — like Gülen — was also misunderstood by some in his lifetime. Some reactionary conservatives in Rumi’s time criticized him harshly because he was open to “the other” and accepted everyone as they were. Some even claimed that Rumi was not a Muslim at all while others claimed that he was a spy of the occupying Mongols. Some even suggested that Rumi was after political power. Looking in retrospect, it is crystal clear how odd these accusations really are.

Coming from and continuing in the same tradition, it is not surprising then that Gülen faces similar odd accusations directed at him by those who see the world from a narrow perspective. Likewise, sharing the same fate with Rumi makes Gülen a Rumi of this age.

Source: Today's Zaman , October 28, 2007


Related News

Fethullah Gülen Offers Antidote For Terror

Fethullah Gülen responds as the voice of an intellect, in the name of Islam, to those who engage in brutal terrorist acts. His response is crucially important. Gülen presents a recommendation of culture based on tolerance. Thus far, the war against terrorism has been waged through the obstruction of terrorist activities, spearheaded by security units. It is impossible for Western countries to do more.

Fethullah Gülen’s Statement of Condemnation on the Bombing in Manchester, UK

It is heartbreaking that a concert, a joyful event meant to bring people together to enjoy music and friendship, so quickly devolved into a scene of violence, chaos and terror. Any attack on the sanctity of human life is an attack against humanity. I will continue to denounce without hesitation any use of violence to promote an agenda – whether religious, political or ideological.

Where does Gülen stand on: democracy, human rights, and minorities?

Gülen recognizes democracy as the only viable political system of governance. He denounces turning religion into a political ideology, while encouraging all citizens to take an informed and responsible part in political life of their country. He stresses the flexibilities in the Islamic principles relating to governance and their compatibility with a true democracy.

University of Florida and the failed coup in Turkey

On July 15 in Istanbul, Turkey, soldiers closed the two bridges across the Bosphorus, the first indication that elements of the army were planning to remove the government of President Recip Tayyip Erdogan. In Ankara, the national capital, other soldiers took control of television stations and shelled the parliament building. President Erdogan had to use […]

The Hizmet (Gulen) movement and transparency

Erkam Tufan Aytav Some groups have been parroting, “The [Gülen] Community should become more transparent.” As you know, with “the Community,” they are referring to the Gülen movement. Let us try to understand this sentence and respond to it. First of all, I need to note that when they say, “the Community,” they are referring […]

3 taken into custody for asking Minister Ala questions

Three people were taken into custody by security forces on Monday for asking Interior Minister Efkan Ala questions about Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the settlement process to end the Kurdish issue.

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

5-months pregnant woman detained as police fail to locate husband

Officials involved in illegal deportation of Turkish teachers indicted by Kosovar court

Being the conscience of a nation

Yobe, Turkish Institutions Team Up To Boost Education

Turkish family, kidnapped in Pakistan, deported to Turkey Saturday morning

What can Christians learn from a global Islamic movement?

Erdogan presses Kyrgyzstan for action against Gulen group

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News