Gülen is well aware that generally speaking Islamism is a reactive and reactionary ideology that is formed by contemporary human and social needs rather than what actually religion dictates. Put differently, he strongly refutes the claim of the Islamists that what they advocate is indeed the true, authentic, original and pure Islam.
Gülen stresses that wherever a Muslim is, even outside a Muslim polity; he or she has to obey the law of the land, to respect others’ rights and to be just. He does not see the world not in terms of Muslims versus others. He also does not think that trying to revive the Caliphate is feasible.
Religiously, the Gülen Movement both reflects the long tradition of Turkish Sufi brotherhoods, and Gülen’s own emphasis on societal change through education, humanitarian activism, and interfaith dialogue. Gülen never sympathized with, or adopted, the AKP’s more conservative form of political Islam.
[Erdogan] has called Hizmet a state within a state, which to me is a strange characterization. To me, that’s like saying that the Catholics are a state within a state in America, or the Jews, a state within a state in America. Those kinds of statements are derogatory, they’re pejoratives. Catholics have a right to seek influence in America; Jews have a right to seek influence in America, that’s how we operate here.
I’m saddened to hear that the Hizmet Movement here is being categorized as a terror group. To classify them as terrorists in any form is a great misrepresentation. And I consider it a privilege and an honor to be associated with them and to be part of the brotherhood. They’re a benefit to the Muslim community and humanity as a whole.
Is Mr. Fethullah Gülen an Islamist? Recently Mr. Fethullah Gülen has been referred to as an Islamist in some news articles. Mr. Gülen’s life, his opinions in his speeches and writings, and his actions in educational and dialogue oriented initiatives show that such description is inaccurate. A more accurate title for Mr. Gülen is a Muslim […]
Gülen: “Members of minority communities should be allowed to live according to their beliefs. If these sorts of legislations are made within the norms of international law and international agreements, Islam will have no objection to any of these. No one can ignore the universal values that the Qur’an and the Sunnah have presented with regard to the rights mentioned above.”
Contemporary scholars of peacebuilding have elaborated on certain elements that are essential for making peace in any part of the world. Two of these elements are education and knowledge. There is no doubt that Fethullah Gülen’s greatest efforts and contributions are related to these two fields.
Gülen has been defined as nationalist but when analyzed in detail it will be seen that he cannot be a nationalist for various reasons. First of all, as an observant Muslim, he can only be a patriot and love his people but this cannot be to the exclusion of others.
As a Christian involved in working with Muslims and other religious believers for peace through interreligious dialogue, I am grateful for the insights of Said Nursi and for the leadership in this field provided by Fethullah Gulen.