Gülen resembles earlier spiritual teachers in that he evaluates the human as a whole; he is concerned with human’s not only spiritual but also material well-being. This holds true not only on a personal, but also societal level. Gülen sets a spiritual map that begins with faith, leavens with knowledge and love of God, preserves its right state with enthusiasm and loyalty, and attains consistency with delights of the spirit.
Gulen proposes to grant Jerusalem a supranational and supra-religious status including visa-free access for the followers of all religions and to develop a unique administration for the city whereby it would be governed by a committee under the United Nations comprising the representatives of three Abrahamic religions.
Since July 15 attempted coup, women have been subjected to an uptick of a variety of intimidation strategies, including rape, the threat of rape, harassment, and other forms of violence—not only by Erdoǧan’s AKP-led (Justice and Development) government, but also by civilians emboldened by the new climate in which macho, hyper-masculinity and misogyny have become widespread.
Gülen was concerned with the state of Turkish youth, which he considered to be losing its way and its faith under the secular republic. However, he was not attracted to the growing calls for the establishment of conservative Sharia states around the Muslim world. Erdoğan has lost favour across the West because of the increasingly totalitarian policies of his regime. In such a climate, the Gülen movement will win the sympathy vote outside Turkey.
The most recent persecutions have destroyed livelihoods and lives. Our collective voices should oppose and resist the authoritarian actions of the Turkish government. We must organize to protect the innocent and to shelter them from ongoing harm, insofar as possible.
When looking at the evidence, it’s clear the Gülen movement is the furthest thing from a cult. It is a mainstream Islamic movement, its practices rooted deeply in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, but also confident to engage with members of other rich religious and intellectual traditions of many other cultures. Whereas cults generally disengage from wider society, the Gülen movement has gone out of its way to engage with the world through its schools, dialogue efforts, and businesses.
Fethullah Gülen: In the past, I did support the idea of a presidential system if it is to be modeled after the U.S. or France or other countries where there are checks and balances against the president. But Erdoğan’s proposal was akin to a sultan regime. I could not support such a system with a clear conscience. Erdoğan put pressure on me and Hizmet sympathizers to publicly support his idea of a presidential system.
One of the foundational principles of the teachings of M. Fethullah Gulen, and thus one of the animating principles of the Hizmet movement, is the notion that education is one of the primary means by which the human person becomes most authentically human and thus reaches her or his full potential.
Gülen defines “Muslim” as someone who conforms to his description of being tolerant. His view of Islam, simply put, is of a faith that exemplifies the principles which he embeds in the word “tolerance.”
In the Hizmet Movement collective decision making (istişare) is performed on a consensual basis by participants in a network, activity or project. Gülen is known to apply this norm to his own activities and to encourage his students and friends to follow this practice. In addition, every project, business or activity has a mütevelli heyeti—essentially a board of trustees that comprises managers and financiers who “consistently carry out the responsibilities that fall on (their) shoulders.”