Date posted: November 1, 2013
Following the international Hizmet Symposium in Washington D.C, the Rumi Forum held its second day of the conference with academics from more than twenty countries.
Emre Celik, President, Rumi Forum: “It’s important that the wider academic and world community has access to appropriate information regarding both Gulen himself and the movement, so in regards to peace building activities, we thought this would be appropriate.”
Professors said that Hizmet is an anti-violence group that uses education and dialogue to achieve its goals.
Dr. Amidu Olalekan Sanni, Lagos State University, Nigeria: “I think the Hizmet group has been very influential in terms of human development, basically in the area of education and health. The first Hizmet university is actually based in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.”
Dr. Nazila Isgandarova came from Canada to present a seminar on the perfect universal man in classical Sufi literature. It’s a concept written by one of the influential scholars of our time, Mr. Fethullah Gulen.
Dr. Nazila Isgandarova, Islamic Spiritual Caregiver: “Gulen was able to apply this concept of aksiyon insani, which means a “man of action”, and he made it more practical and a gender inclusive concept.”
One of the highlights of the symposium was Dr. Martha Kirk’s presentation called Iraqi Women of Three Generations. There are 32 Hizmet schools in Iraq and she said these institutions teach Iraqi women self confidence.
Dr. Martha Kirk, University of the Incarnate Word: “[A student in Iraq] said, “if one of the graduates of our schools was president of Iraq, this country would be much better.”
Theologian Pim Valkenbert said he was curious to find out what inspired people to participate in the Hizmet movement.
Dr. Pim Valkenberg, Catholic University of America & Alper Alasag, Platform INS, Netherlands: “Giving God what you have received from God. I think that’s the basic motive that gets at least the religious people from among them going. That’s what I recognized from from my Christian perspective that’s very important for Muslims.”
Academics explained interfaith initiatives and found solutions to mutual concerns at this year’s Hizmet conference. Attendees said that the symposium strengthened their hope to contribute to peacebuilding efforts globally.