Scholars: Hizmet efforts to build schools will not stop

Participants of the Formosa Institute’s international conference on the Hizmet movement are shown at National Taiwan University in Taipei. Photo credit: The China Post)
Participants of the Formosa Institute’s international conference on the Hizmet movement are shown at National Taiwan University in Taipei. Photo credit: The China Post)


Date posted: December 12, 2012

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) Supporters of a civic movement inspired by Fethullah Gulen, one of the most important Muslim figures in Turkey, will not cease their efforts to build schools as long as there is a demand for such service around the world, according to a Turkish scholar dedicated to the movement.

The Hizmet movement places great emphasis on education, said Sait Yavuz, a lecturer and president of the Gulen Institute at University of Houston, in a recent interview with the CNA.

It was only in recent decades that Turkey began allowing the establishment of private schools, Yavuz said. He said the ban restricted the development of students with special talents.

“There are students who are promising students, who could become great scientists, but giving them the same curriculum is putting them into a narrow box,” Yavuz said.

After the government lifted the ban on private schools, Gulen and others, many of them business people, began working on the idea of setting up private schools and they opened the first one in 1982, according to Yavuz.

Although the schools had to follow a government-set curriculum, they were able to employ dedicated teachers and thus offered a better education than public schools, he said.

Students from the Gulen-inspired schools won Turkey’s first gold medal in the International Science Olympiads, Yavuz said.

Asked about the movement’s next goal, Yavuz said “there is no next step, because this step is not going to end. … It will end when we don’t need any more educational facilities, which will not happen. So we’ll continue.”

Supporters of Gulen, an Islamic scholar, educator and author with millions of followers worldwide, are believed to have established schools and educational institutions in some 140 countries around the world.

The movement has also inspired the establishment of charities, hospitals and media enterprises, including one of Turkey’s largest newspapers Zaman.

Gulen, 71, preaches a moderate brand of Islam and the need for interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

Mark Owen Webb, chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Texas Tech University, said he thinks the biggest appeal of the movement is its educational efforts to raise a golden generation of children.

Webb, who has visited schools established by Gulen’s supporters and who has been involved in the movement for a decade now, said parents frustrated with public schools may find Gulen-inspired schools attractive.

He said that during a visit to one such a school in Ukraine, he noticed that the students spoke multiple languages.

“I met one of the kids and he was practicing English, and he could have passed for an American boy,” Webb said, adding that dedicated teachers are the biggest advantage of the Gulen-inspired schools.

Asked about the Hizmet movement (aka Gulen movement) in a country like

that does not have a large Muslim population, Webb said many of Hizmet’s values are similar to Buddhist philosophies, such as the idea of reducing suffering.

Anyone can also respect and understand the notion that justice and compassion are important, said Webb, who described himself as an agnostic.

Meanwhile, Jon Pahl, a Christianity history professor and director of MA programs at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, said he hopes Hizmet will contribute to “a growing movement toward interreligious understanding.”

As a Christian, he said, he was impressed by the commitment of Hizmet volunteers.

Pahl said he thinks religious peace-building in the 20th century has largely been overlooked and that the Hizmet movement is part of the religious commitment to creating a more just and peaceful society.

The scholars were in Taiwan for an international conference that was held Dec. 8-9 to discuss the Hizmet movement and Gulen’s philosophy.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel December 12, 2012


Related News

Conference on Hizmet Movement to be held in Taipei

The conference, held under the banner “Hizmet Movement and the Thought and Teachings of Fethullah Gulen: Contributions to Multiculturalism and Global Peace,” is slated to take place Dec. 8-9 at National Taiwan University’s College of Social Sciences.

Karınca Yuvası (Ant Nest) from Turkish designers to Bangladeshi orphans

Eleven designers came together at a recent charity event coordinated by fashion designer Esra Seziş and actor Taylan Güner. There, they made a unanimous decision that each designer would create three pieces for auction, the revenue from which would be donated to orphans in need. They called this pact Karınca Yuvası (Ant Nest). The intention was sincere, and the results were magnificent.

Turkey’s post-coup crackdown moves overseas

In several cases, Turkey has offered to run the seized institutions, although it is expected to face legal challenges. Kimse Yok Mu, which had more than 200,000 volunteers in 100 countries before being forcibly closed after the coup attempt, is understood to be preparing to take the decision to international courts. Joshua Hendrick, an expert on the Gulen movement said Ankara faced a big challenge when it came to stepping into the shoes of its former allies.

Former US diplomat: War on Turkish schools in Africa ruining Turkey’s credibility

Former US Ambassador to Ethiopia and Adjunct Professor of International Relations David Shinn told Sunday’s Zaman in an exclusive interview that Turkey tends to lose its credibility when it asks African governments to close Turkish schools as African leaders traditionally put up resistance when they are told what to do by an “external power.”

Erdogan Budgets $150m To Displace Hizmet Schools In Africa

The motive behind Maarif Foundation is to use it as a tool to pressurize African countries to transfer ownership of Hizmet movement linked schools to the Maarif Foundation since the request for the closure of these schools were turned down for lacking in merit.

Earthquakes strengthen Taiwan, Turkey friendship

Christie Chen Friday 21 September, 2012 Two major earthquakes that struck 13 years ago far apart from each other, have brought two distant countries – Taiwan and Turkey – together on the path of humanitarian aid. “I was certain that my house was going to collapse,” Turkey-based Taiwanese businessman Faisal Hu recalled the night of […]

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

Father jailed over Gülen links, 6-months-old paralyzed baby left in intensive care

An NBA Center Faces Imprisonment And Possible Execution In Turkey

Erdoğan’s ‘Reichstag fire’

Back to school in Turkey after post-coup teacher purge

Obama is the real turkey in this scenario

Train, equip and persecute?

Why did Turkey seize Bank Asya?

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News