An unshakable spiritual unity, unique to Hizmet Movement volunteers

Dr. Thomas Michel, SJ.
Dr. Thomas Michel, SJ.


Date posted: February 19, 2013

Hizmet (Gulen Movement) was discussed by Turkish and American academics at a panel titled “Hizmet: A Transnational Social Movement with Participants in Turkey, the US, and around the World” at Georgetown University.

The panel co-sponsored by Rumi Forum was moderated by Prof. John O.Vall, Georgetown University professor of Islamic History. Among the highlights, Prof. Thomas Michel, SJ.  commented that Hizmet Movement cannot be compared to other civil institutions as a unique and unshakable spiritual unity exists among its volunteers.

The presentation reviewed a social movement, known as Hizmet, originated by observant Muslims around the ideas of Turkish scholar, preacher and social advocate Fethullah Gulen. The movement combines personal spiritual development with social responsibility. Primary areas of activity include education, dialogue, media, healthcare, and disaster relief. Recently the movement and its source of inspiration, Mr. Fethullah Gulen, attracted attention due to political developments in Turkey and the controversy around public schools in the U.S. In Turkey, the struggle for democratization brought the movement to the limelight as many adherents of the historically authoritarian military-judicial tutelage system were brought to civilian courts by alleged Gulen sympathizers. Questions about the future of Turkish democracy, Kurdish citizens, freedom of the press, the authoritarian tendencies in the political system and the movement’s role in this context were discussed by Turkish and international media. In the U.S. the nature of Gulen’s influence on Turkish-American teachers who work at highly successful public schools were brought to the national attention. This presentation examined the history, activities, organizational nature and motivational factors within the movement and responded to some of the questions and allegations regarding what appeared in the mass media.

Underscoring his non-Turkish and non-Muslim identity, Prof. Michel noted that he has been observing the movement for years now and come to the conclusion that its primary mission is to combat ignorance, poverty and disunity, the three enemies of Muslims according to Said Nursi. He said Fethullah Gulen, as a scholar inspired by Said Nursi, reflected and built up on this view. “This gifted scholar, Fethullah Gulen declared war on the same three enemies by mobilizing people to establish a wide range of institutions. Kimse Yok Mu against poverty and dialogue initiatives against disunity exemplify these institutions. There are over 200 of those dialogue institutions operating in the US alone” Michel said. Additionally, “The movement cannot be compared to other civil institutions in the sense that a unique and unshakable spiritual unity exists among its followers, which others lack.” he claimed.

Later on, Alliance of Shared Values President Prof. Alp Aslandogan gave a presentation examining the movement under the categories including media, healthcare and dialogue. According to Prof. Aslandogan, the movement’s sympathizers share common grounds on values such as personal spiritual development, social responsibility, dialogue, peace building and equality. And the movement was pioneered by Fethullah Gulen in Turkey.

Calling attention to Gulen’s preaching background, Aslandogan said: ” Unlike typical preachers, Gulen reinterpreted Islamic tradition while staying true to the past and traditions. With his decent personality, he convinced and appealed to people and eventually gained their support.”

The panel in cooperation with Rumi Forum was held in Georgetown University Bunn Intercultural Center.

Source: [in Turkish] Medya73.com, 08 February 2013. English translation is retrieved from Hizmetmovement.com.


Related News

Somali denies allegations that ‘aid supplies did not reach camp’

The claim was also denied by the person in charge of the camp, Ibrahim Abdinur Muhammed, demonstrating that defamatory activities are being conducted by pro-government media outlets against Hizmet movement.
Muhammed said the organization had helped 450 families living in the camp and that it continues to send assistance to the camps in six other locations in Somali in the form of health and food supplies and clothing as well as education tools.

Monday Talk with Alp Aslandogan on Gulen Movement and Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey

Vocal Europe: What sort of link does Alliance for Shared Values have with the movement in general and with Mr Gulen in particular? Alp Aslandogan:  Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV) has six regional partner organizations and AFSV serves as a loose umbrella for these organizations. They focus on interfaith and intercultural dialogue, helping new immigrants […]

I object to AK Party’s ‘New Turkey’

At this point, we need to state that the third term in office which the prime minister Erdogan refers to as the period of mastery appears to be a goal of converting society through a single cultural identity rather than a period of restoration that will strengthen social peace.

AK Party deputy Hakan Şükür against closure of prep schools

Former national team captain and current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul deputy Hakan Şükür, referring to the government’s plan to shut down prep schools, has said it was wrong to vote “yes” on their closure before a process is carried out which eliminates the need for the schools.

Police chiefs removed in four provinces across Turkey

The purges are thought to be an attempt to remove those the government believes are members of the Hizmet movement from public sector jobs.

NEW BOOK: So That Others May Live: A Fethullah Gulen Reader

So That Others May Live offers a definitive compilation of Gülen’s characteristic essays. Some of them are available here in English for the first time. The rest have been carefully re-translated and edited, providing even familiar readers with new insight into Gülen’s most remarkable writings on faith, morality, education, civic service, and modern civilization.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Fethullah Gülen: Even democracy needs a metaphysical dimension

Zaman Media Group receives 5 awards from WAN-IFRA

Prime Minister Erdogan’s Revenge

NPR’s Interview with Gulen – He Denies Involvement In Coup Attempt

Fethullah Gulen is hopeful about future

Kimse Yok Mu awarded in Davos

Earthquakes strengthen Taiwan, Turkey friendship

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News