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

Turkish educator says Demirel stood with Turkish schools abroad

Turkish educator Süleyman Alptekin has said that Turkey’s ninth president, Süleyman Demirel, who died on Wednesday at the age of 90, won people’s hearts with his open support for Turkish educators and Turkish schools abroad inspired by the views of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Alptekin was flown back to the country in Demirel’s plane after being seriously injured in an accident in Bangladesh in 1997.

Religious leaders in Philippines defend Turkish NGOs being linked to terrorism

De La Salle Philippines president Bro. Armin Luistro and leaders of religious groups on Tuesday expressed support to two non-government organizations being linked to terrorist organizations, noting the NGOs’ track records in peace-building.

Erdoğan’s plan to contain corruption scandal

Despite the obstacles he has orchestrated for those pursuing the investigations, Erdoğan has never been able to gain enough traction to shift the debate away from corruption since Dec. 17. He must now be running on fumes.

Fethullah Gülen grieving for Islamic world amid Eid al Fitr holiday

Fethullah Gulen celebrated eid al fitr with the Turkish American community members. He listened to the sermon after the Eid Prayer with tears in his eyes. After the sermon, he exchanged eid greetings with his guests. Osman Şimşek said in the sermon, “Although we are full of joy for our holiday and are thankful to God-All Merciful, we also feel grief and sorrow because of the horrid situation, which parts of the Islamic world are currently in.”

Dr. Reuven Firestone Interviewed by Muslim Turkish Movement “Hizmet”

Hizmet is active in interfaith dialogue in Turkey and many other countries, and has built private and charter schools in many countries, including the US.

Fethullah Gülen lawsuit [in the US] thrown out in setback for Turkey’s Erdoğan

A US judge has dismissed a human rights lawsuit against Fethullah Gülen, a US-based Turkish cleric who is a former ally turned prominent critic of his home country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The lawsuit, funded by Turkey, had claimed the Muslim cleric in Pennsylvania orchestrated human rights abuses in his native Turkey.

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

Thunder’s Enes Kanter says his father has been arrested and faces torture in Turkey

Deputy denies telling daily Star of Hizmet plot against him

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen condemns Paris attacks in strongest terms

Turkey’s top Muslim leader abhors terrorism

Former AK Party minister praises Turkish Olympiads

Deputy PM Bozdag: We’re proud of Turkish schools

At home and abroad, Erdogan shoots himself in the foot

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News