Fethullah Gülen’s Ideas and Impact

  Fethullah Gülen’s Ideas and Impact   "Reserve on your hearth a seat for everyone"     Fethullah Gülen has been recognized for his stances for interfaith and intercultural dialogue, for science, democracy and spirituality, and against violence, and turning religion into a political ideology. His readership in Turkey is estimated at around several million. His impact outside Turkey is growing daily as his works are translated into many languages. Gülen has been recognized for his consistent stance against the use of violence with a religious rhetoric. More specifically, he was the first Muslim scholar who publicly condemned the attacks of 9/11 with an advertisement in the Washington Post. He helped publish a scholarly book on the subject, unconditionally condemning terror and suicide attacks on humanitarian and religious grounds. He did not express these views only to Western readers but voiced them in mosque sermons with congregations of thousands of Muslims and to mainstream media outlets serving millions of readers and viewers. Gulen’s ideas and activism have inspired a faith-based social movement in Turkey sometimes referred to as “hizmet” which could be translated as volunteer service movement or in Gulen’s own terms, the movement of humans united around high human values. Participants in this movement have set up charitable foundations and companies that are active in the areas of education, media, health care, relief and business. By some estimates, over a thousand educational institutions such as K-12 schools, tutoring centers and reading rooms have been established around the world inspired by Gülen’s ideas and life. These are non-religious, non-denominational, secular schools sponsored by local entrepreneurs, altruistic educators and dedicated parents. Regardless of their location, these schools are symbols of harmonious interfaith and intercultural relationships, successful unification of faith and reason, and dedication to the service of humanity. Especially in conflict-ridden regions such as the Philippines, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Northern Iraq, Bosnia and Kenya, these schools are bastions of inter-religious and interethnic harmony.   The Muslim relief organization Kimse Yok mu, established upon Gulen’s encouragement has been instrumental in bringing aid to disaster victims around the world such as the victims of the Tsunami in South-east Asia, the floods in Bangladesh, the earthquakes in Pakistan and Peru and the ethno-political violence in Darfur. The organization assumed sponsorship of a village in Darfur, rebuilding their schools and a new medical clinic.

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