Rumi Forum's blog on Hizmet, Fethullah Gulen, peacebuilding, education and interfaith efforts.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ACADEMIC - Indonesian 'Fethullah Gulen conference' papers go online

The conference papers recently published from the Fethullah Gulen conference in Indonesia have gone online. These studies reflect the research that is necessary to better understand this global social and civic movement and its inspiring Fethullah Gulen

1Hisako Nakamura, " An Observation on the Gülen-Inspired Informal Education among Newly Converted Japanese Muslims"

2Prof. Dr. Mitsuo Nakamura, "Rationality and Enlightenment: A Comparison of Educational Reforms Promoted by Gülen Movement and Muhammadiyah"

3Dr. Ali Ünsal, "Gülen’s Perspective on Education: Foundations of His Ideas and Actions"
4Dr. Margaret A. Johnson, "Glocalization of the Gülen Education Model: An Analysis of the Gülen-Inspired Schools in Indonesia"
5Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, "Gülen’s Educational Philosophy: Striving for the Golden Generation of Muslims"
6Dr. Salih Yücel, "Spiritual Role Models in Gülen’s Educational Philosophy"
7Dr. Qamar Agha, "Fethullah Gülen’s Ideas on the Relationship between Science and Religion"
8Dr. Zeki Saritoprak, "How Do Gülen’s Educational efforts contribute to Global Peace"
9Dr. Suchart Setthamalinee, "The Role of Education in Raising New Generations: A Case study of Chinese Muslim in Northern Thailand"
10Dr. Muhammed Çetin, "The Contribution of Islamic Scholarship to Democracy"
11Prof. Dr.Maniruzzaman, "Gülen’s Idea of Education for Peace"
12Prof. Dr.Leonid R.Sykiainen, "Purposes of Education in the Light of Fethullah Gülen’s Teachings"
13David Tittensor, "An Alternative Pilgrimage: Teachers Doing Hizmet Abroad"
14Prof. Dr. Choi Woo-Won, "Transformation of Philosophy and New Education for the Global Age"
15Mahsheed Ansari, "The concept of mani ism (meaning by name) and mani harf (meaning by letter) as a comprehensive theoretical tool for educational philosophy and method and the importance and impact of the Risale i Nur in Fethullah Gulen’s educational out"
16Prof. Dr. Ismail Albayrak, "Main characteristics of the Gulen movement and the importance of education in globalising world'"
17Dr. Masayuki Akutsu, "Social Revitalization through Promotion of Education : Socio-Historical Analysis of Islamic Education and Muslim Society in Pre-Modern Islamic World"
18Prof. Dr. Gumilar R. Somantri, "Keynote speech for the International Conference on Fethullah Güllen at UI"
19Prof. Dr. Adama Diop, "Fetullah Gülen's Idea on the Relationship Between Science and Religion"
20Fr. Thomas Michel, "The Thinking Behind the Gülen-Inspired Schools"
21Prof. Dr. M. Amin Abdullah, "Fethullah Gülen and Character Education in Indonesia"
22Çemen Polat, "The Functions of Gülen-Inspired Educational Initiatives As Business Enterprises in the Philanthropic Fashion"
23Ahmet Orhan Polat, "The Key Factors Behind the Success of Gülen-Inspired Schools"



Sunday, November 28, 2010

MEDIA - Imam who lives in rural Pennsylvania arouses praise, concerns - PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Another article on Fethullah Gulen (Rumi Forum's Honorary President) and the hizmet movement has appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Imam who lives in rural Pennsylvania arouses praise, concerns
By Andrew Conte

Sunday, November 28, 2010
SAYLORSBURG — Just a short drive on a two-lane road from the Dunkin' Donuts here, the Golden Generation Retreat Center hardly seems like the home of one of the world's leading Islamic thinkers.
A metal gate at the driveway stands open, and no fences or walls protect the 25-acre property from suburban homes and rolling hillsides nearby. Officials recently invited their neighbors to celebrate the opening of a three-story meeting center and share a Thanksgiving feast.
"They're friendly people," said Rod Schreck, 74, who lives within walking distance.
Bekir Aksoy, president of the Golden Generation Retreat Center in Saylorsburg, shows a view of the 25-acre property from the balcony of the retreat's new three-story meeting facility.

"Put it this way," his wife, Maxine, 69, said, "they're better to us than we are to them."
Still, mystery surrounds the center's most famous guest, Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish imam who has lived here for 11 years after arriving in the United States for medical treatments. Gulen practices Sufism, a mystical form of Islam that requires strict religious observation, austerity and abstinence, according to one of his more than 60 books.
"We are for one thing: peace and prosperity in the world for everyone," said Bekir Aksoy, president of the retreat center. "There is no 'them' for us. All humanity is one."
After coming here, Gulen was tried — and then acquitted — in Turkey on charges related to inciting an overthrow of the government. He might face criminal charges again if he returned home, a supporter in Istanbul said. And that could trigger chaos.
So Gulen remains in this rural community about 30 miles northeast of Allentown and less than a two-hour drive from Manhattan. He lives alone in one room of the large main house and owns only the toiletries and small possessions in his bedroom, Aksoy said.
Debilitated by health issues — he has heart, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure problems — Gulen, 69, was not well enough to meet with a reporter during a recent visit, Aksoy said.
The new meeting center in Saylorsburg overlooks a row of guest houses.

The ongoing mystery around Gulen breeds suspicion, particularly since the 9/11 terror attacks added to Americans' unease with Islam. Some research groups raise questions about Gulen's real intentions. Yet, some contend he is no different from any other religious leader.
Concerns in the United States about Gulen and the spread of Islam are rooted in ignorance and misunderstanding, said Terry Rey, chair of the Department of Religion at Temple University, which co-hosted a conference on Gulen with his supporters this month.
"Any religious movement that begins to draw people is a threat to someone," Rey said. "As a scholar of religion, I can contextualize it, and I cannot see it as anything fundamentally different from what has always gone on."
An enigma
Internet rumors say the retreat center was used as a militia training ground and schools started by Gulen's admirers are brainwashing children.
An article published last year by the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based policy group, suggested Gulen's supporters control $25 billion and could be plotting a religious takeover of Turkey's government, a secular republic.
Daniel Pipes, the nonprofit's director, called Gulen dangerous. Pipes said he could be "perhaps the most sophisticated Islamist leader in the world" for eschewing violence and extremism but still seeking to apply Islamic religious law.
"He's a bit of a mystery," said Steven Emerson, an expert on Islamic extremists. "The question is, is he a radical or not?"
Neighbors of the Golden Generation Retreat Center were invited to partake of a Thanksgiving feast Nov. 21 and celebrate the opening of its meeting facility.

Michael Werz, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, described Gulen as a moderate who spoke out against terrorism and supported interfaith dialogue.
"He's a pretty middle-of-the-road guy," said Werz, who plans to speak Tuesday at an event hosted by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.
The government allowed Gulen to remain in the country as an alien worker with "extraordinary ability" since he won a court ruling in 2008 that overturned an initial denial by immigration officials.
Rumors that the retreat center is being used to create an army are unfounded, said Howard Beers Jr., chairman of the board of supervisors in Ross Township in Monroe County, home of Golden Generation. His construction company built the retreat center's facility.
"That's so far-fetched," he said. "People love to make up crap, and they know if they make that up, someone will believe them."
A state police supervisor in nearby Lehighton said the retreat center has not created problems or generated emergency calls. Gulencooperates during FBI visits, said J.J. Klaver, spokesman in the agency's Philadelphia field office.
"We have no reason to believe anything other than what he says is going on there, is going on," Klaver said.
Nothing obvious about the retreat center suggests that it could be a training ground for militants, either.
Newly constructed guest houses surround the meeting center. The houses hold up to 80 visitors, who come from around the world and stay for days at a time, said Steve Sablak, vice president of the retreat center.
The buildings appear clean and modern, with a granite countertop and plastic furniture in one kitchen. Visitors' clothes spilled out of small suitcases in a room lined with Turkish futons, and children's toys, including a Bob the Builder doll and a plastic ball, sat on the floor.
'Fantastically disorganized'
The understated campus belies the wide reach of Gulen's teachings.
Readers of Foreign Policy magazine voted Gulen the world's leading public intellectual in 2008. A report by Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst last year called him a polarizing figure in Turkey.

The number of people inspired by Gulen is estimated at more than 5 million.
Fethullah Gulen lives alone in one room of the Golden Generation Retreat Center's large main house and is said to own only the toiletries and small possessions in his bedroom.

Gulen's supporters belong to a "fantastically disorganized organization," said the Rev. Walter Wagner, a Lutheran minister and adjunct professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. They do not report to a central authority or maintain membership lists.
These people often refer to themselves as "volunteers" rather than followers. The movement — another term they shun — is typically known in the United States as hizmet, for the Turkish word for service. Turks refer to the group as cemaat, the word for a religious community.
Gulen's influence emanates from the schools founded by those inspired by his words, said Yvonne Haddad, a professor at Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in Washington. The schools, located in 120 countries, typically emphasize math and science over religion, with the goal of educating young people in poor areas.
"Conspiracy theories are everywhere," Haddad said. "I have looked at the material and interviewed people. As far as I know, it's no different than any other" school connected to a religious group.
Huseyin Gulerce, a columnist in Istanbul with the pro-Gulen Turkish newspaper Zaman, said the movement stresses three points: education, dialogue and communication.
"The first thing when I think about Fethullah Gulen and his movement is their schools," said Emin Kahveci, 25, a graphic designer in Istanbul.
Gulen's admirers started a school in Monroeville, called the Snowdrop Science Academy, in 2005. But the school closed four years later because it did not have enough students, a former administrator said..... ARTICLE CONTINUES


Friday, November 26, 2010

NEW VIDEO - How can dialogue serve as a tool of resolving protracted social conflicts?

Our latest video from our popular Rumi Forum luncheon series has been uploaded. We hope you enjoy it !

Mr. Jacevic uses various tools and approaches to build bridges between communities torn by dissent and destruction. As we increasingly face the challenges of the 21st internal stifle, in which wars are more often fought in city neighborhood than distant battlegrounds, we need to create even more innovative solutions that will build sustainable peace. While military expenditures sky rocket, we need to seek alternative forms to transform conditions that give rise to power, war and terrorism in the first place. Dialogue is therefore an essential prerequisite to enabling millions of people to live freely and productively, yet it is an underutilized and not fully appreciated method. Inter-faith dialogue is one of the various and many forms that will be discussed during this luncheon. YOUTUBE VIDEO BELOW - FULL LENGTH VIDEO at  VIMEO

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NEW BOOK - European Muslims, Civility and Public Life - Paul Weller + Ihsan Yilmaz

European Muslims, Civility and Public Life-  Perspectives On and From the Gülen Movement
edited by Paul Weller & Ihsan Yilmaz

Assessment of the influence and impact of the Islamic scholar and activist Fethullah Gülen, and those who are inspired by him, on contemporary Islam.


This edited collection deals with the challenges and opportunities faced by Muslims and the wider society in Europe following the Madrid train bombings of 2003 and the London Transport attacks of 2007. The contributors explore the challenges to the concept and practice of civility in public life within a European context, and demonstrates the contributions that can be made in this regard by the thought and practice of the global movement associated with the Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen. The importance and distinctiveness of teaching of Gülen and the practice of the movement is that it is rooted in a confident Turkish Islamic heritage while being fully engaged with modernity. It offers the possibility of a contextualised renewal of Islam for Muslims in Europe while being fully rooted in the teachings of the Qu’ran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.
This volume is an important contribution to the study of the movement, which advocates the freedom of religion while making an Islamic contribution to the wider society based on a commitment to service of others.

Table of Contents

1. A Gülen Movement Overview Paul Weller & Ihsan Yilmaz \ Part I: Perspectives on Gülen on Muslim Identity and Public Life \ 2. Dialogue and Transformative Resources: Perspectives from Fethullah Gülen on Religion and Public Life Paul Weller \ 3. Modern Ideals and Muslim Identity: Harmony or Contradiction? - A Text Linguistic Analysis of the Gülen Teaching and Movement Gurkan Celik, Kate Kirk & Yusuf Alan \ 4. Turkish Muslims And Islamic Turkey: Perspectives For A New European Islamic Identity? Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi \ Part II: Civility and Integration \ 5. Civility in Islamic Activism: Towards a Better Understanding of Shared Values for Civil Society Development Wanda Krause \ 6. Reflections on European Multiculturalism, Islam and Peaceful Coexistence: Tariq Ramadan and Fethullah Gülen Erkan Toguslu \ 7. Integration of Muslims in Europe and the Gülen Movement Araxs Pashayan \ Part III: Contexts \ 8. From “New Man” to “World Citizen”: The Replication of Gülen's Renewal Vision in the Dutch Context Tineke Peppinck \ 9. The Emergence of a Neo-Communitarian Movement in the Turkish Diaspora in Europe: the Strategies of Settlement and Competition in the Gülen Movement in France and Germany Emre Demir \ 10. Gülen Movement as an Integration Mechanism for Europe’s Turkish and Muslim Community Fatih Tedik \ 11. Reflecting on the Gülen Movement’s Interfaith Dialogue Work through the Activities of NITECA, a Gülen-Inspired Society Based in Northern Ireland  Jonathan Lacey \ Part IV: Combatting Terrorism \ 12. Robustness and Civility: Themes from Fethullah Gülen as Resource and Challenge for Government, Muslims and Civil Society in the United Kingdom Paul Weller \ 13. A Suni Muslim Scholar’s Humanitarian and Religious Rejection of Violence Against Civilians Y. Alp Aslandogan & Bekir Cinar \ 14. The Work of Fethullah Gülen and The Role of Non-violence in a Time of Terror Steve Wright \ 15. Combatting Terrorism in Britain: Gülen’s Ideas Asaf Hussain \ 16. Conclusion Paul Weller & Ihsan Yilmaz \ Bibliography \ Index


Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, UK.

Ihsan Yilmaz is Professor of Comparative Law, Legal Sociology, Islamic Law and Turkish Politics at the University of London, UK, and Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey.

* ISBN: 9781441102072

272 Pages, paperback      * Also available in: hardcover

European Muslims, Civility and Public Life - Continuum



MEDIA - John Esposito: It sets an example in that it (Gulen Movement) is very global and pluralistic

Ebru TV interviews Dr John Esposito and Dr Robert Pape at the recent Gulen Conference in Chicago
Full interview below

Supporters Gather Over Gulen Movement
Scholars from around the world gathered for a conference in Chicago to talk about the Gulen movement and Fethullah Gulen.  Organizers say the meeting was necessary because fear and hatred continue to influence public opinion and there is a need to focus on people and groups that promote peace and understanding.

Speakers from 26 different countries addressed the international conference.

It began with a keynote speech by John Esposito, who recently co-edited a book titled “Islam and Peacebuilding: Gülen Movement Initiatives.”

Also on hand was Thomas Michel of the Vatican, who focused on the two core values of the Gulen movement -- worship and servanthood to God

Meanwhile, the legendary scholar of religious studies Martin Marty suggested in his presentation that “the Gülen example helps relate moderate Islam to others....


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MEDIA - Gulen : A model for other religions - Dirk Ficca

‘Gülen not only my hero, also a model for other religions’
22 November 2010, Monday / Hatice Avcı, Brussels

A leading American minister Dirk Ficca spoke to Today’s Zaman in Brussels last week.

A leading American minister has said all religions need an adherent like Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish-Islamic scholar whose teachings focusing on interfaith dialogue have been widely lauded around the world.
“He is not only my hero for what he has done for the Muslim societies but also [offers] a model for all other religions,” said Dirk Ficca, executive director of the Chicago-based Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, an international NGO aiming to cultivate better understanding between the world’s religious and spiritual communities by highlighting the similarities while also acknowledging the differences between them....


MEDIA - An evening of friendship - NEWARK POST

An evening of friendship

The American Turkish Friendship Association and the Rumi Forum Thursday night held their second annual Friendship Dinner at the Embassy Suites in Newark.
Faruk Taban, President, Turkic American Alliance (TAA)

The theme of the dinner was The Art of Living Together and a number of speakers echoed that theme.

Receiving awards at the event were State Rep. Michael Ramone, R-Newark and outgoing New Castle County Sheriff Michael Walsh. The media award went to Ralph Bush, general manager of the Upper Shore Division for ACM Chesapeake, publisher of the Newark Post. The keynote address was delivered by New Castle County Council member Lisa Diller, whose district includes Newark. Diller, a former pastor spoke on one of the namesakes of the dinner, Rumi, a Muslim poet, theologian and mystic who lived in the 12th century. His teachings advocated peace and tolerance.

The night ended with a program of Turkish Music


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

International Essay competition - sponsored by Rumi Forum and Gulen Institute

Rumi Forum in line with its mission of promoting global peace has come together with the Gulen Institute to organize an International Essay Competition - details of which are below

Youth Summit 2011: An International High School Essay Contest

Capitol Building SideImage via Wikipedia
Rumi Forum and the Gulen Institute, University of Houston is organizing an International Essay Contest for all high school students in grades 9 through 12 enrolled in public or private schools. Winners will receive up to $4000 in prize money and a trip to the USA capitol, Washington DC

Students from all over the United States and abroad are encouraged to participate in the Essay Contest to address the following topic:

The use of military means as a solution to today’s international and national political issues: Diplomacy or war, democracy or military coup?

For more information follow this link: or email:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DCTV and Arlington Independent Media (AIM) now broadcast our speaker series and luncheon events

We are proud to announce that our luncheon series programs are now broadcast on 2 television channels.
Rumi Forum's programs are broadcast on Arlington Independent Media (AIM) and DCTV channels reaching a potential audience of more than 500,000 people.
For programming times please visit the below links

For those who prefer watching online please visit our YOUTUBE channel or watch full length videos on VIMEO

And just as a reminder don't forget that we're on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and PICASA PHOTOS

Friday, November 19, 2010

MEDIA - Ukrainian Newspaper 'The Day' features article on Fethullah Gulen

An interesting article has appeared in the Ukrainian paper 'The Day' that details the important role Fethullah Gulen (Honorary President, Rumi Forum) has played in bringing together communities and educating a new generation of socially responsible people. Some quotes from the article appear below.

Link to full article is at the end.

Are we to wait for our Fethullah Gulen?   /ДЕНЬ/


.....“Gulen is a spiritual personality,” states Shokalo with admiration. “His heartfulness and cordiality became the motive for the growth of his incredible ability to communicate! He became the pioneer of wide-ranging activity in the field of dialog with representatives of other religions in Turkish society, which has for long centuries been dominated by the Muslim population. Gulen’s meeting with the leader of Catholic world, Pope John Paul II, the Sephardic rabbi of Israel Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the Armenian Patriarch Karekin and leaders of other communities have found their response in society and prepared the foundations for close cooperation among the various groups. Due to this Gulen became a favorite and honored figure among the leaders and members of other religious communities.”

How we lack such a person, who would be able to unite… well, at least the Ukrainian Orthodox population. Or who would help to establish a constructive dialog between the intellectuals of our East and West. Whose voice would re-sonate to the quarrelling parties and scattered public organizations… Hasn’t the time come for the rich to listen to the pleadings of the poor? This can’t be done without negotiators. It is a pity that Ukraine doesn’t have a person of Mahatma Gandhi’s caliber. Turkey, a country which we snubbed for 30 years, has such a person. And this person is Fethullah Gulen — our contemporary. Incidentally, the Turks have never been set a task of liberation from the colonial oppression. Save perhaps the need of modernization, speeding up economic and spiritual development. The fact that a potentially powerful country has stepped out of shadows is partially to Gulen’s merit.

...Gulen’s schools are also highly prized in Russia. In particular, the academic Rybakov described his impression of [Gulen’s] pupils as follows: “Young, active, Europeanized to the highest extent — if one were to use this word in a positive meaning — broadly educated and wonderfully brought up. To be honest, I must say I first came across this new generation not even in Turkey, but in Central Asian nations, including the Kirghiz and Kazakhs, who were born in the Soviet Union, but started their lives in the Turkish schools that were opened there.”

...Thus, if there is a basis, we just have to learn from the Turks how to effectively create social networks, as they are the foundation of success. In any case, the Turkish example does give Ukrainians hope. Fethullah Gulen could have become a symbol for us. As he was the one who, according to Rybakov’s words, “without dramatic effects, slowly, quietly, as a gardener, changed the inner life of his country, transformed it beyond recognition, and, in the end, brought up a generation of free people.” Needless to say that Ukraine now requires renewal no less that Turkey once did...(READ FULL ARTICLE BELOW)



ORGINAL 'The Day' PAPER (in pdf format) - SEE PAGE 4:

Full Video of our 2010 Rumi Peace and Dialogue Awards ready for viewing

The Rumi Forum presented its 2010 RUMI Peace and Dialogue Awards at the dinner and ceremony held in the National Press Club. At the ceremony, extraordinary individuals and organizations who have greatly contributed their time, energy, leadership and dedication to the cause of dialogue, peace, community service and understanding were

a -dsc_0598VIDEOS
Part 1
Part 2
Tuesday, 26th October 2010
at 6:30 p.m.
National Press Club
Washington, DC

Saturday, November 13, 2010

As one Gulen Conference continues another one from Holland updates its videos and proceedings

As the 'International Conference on the Gulen Movement Chicago 2010' continues between November 12-13, you may be interested in reviewing the proceedings and videos presented at the European conference in Holland (Netherlands).

Mapping the Gulen Movement  (all videos at link below)

Friday, November 12, 2010

VIDEO Washington Post editors at Rumi Forum

The Rumi Forum was honored to host 2 editors from the Washington Post - Douglas Jehl, Foreign Editor and Raju Narisetti, Managing Editor

Both editors addressed the crucial and timely media topic of  For And About Washington: How The Washington Post brings the world to Washington and America to the world. (WATCH VIDEO BELOW)

Full video and podcast can also be downloaded from our web site

We have also recently updated our Picasa photo album with photos of Dr Robert Pape from Chicago and Congress woman Donna Edwards

Congresswoman Donna Edwards, recently at the Rumi Forum, spoke on intercultural dialogue and greater community understanding between American communities
Dr Robert Pape from University of Chicago at the Rumi Forum, spoke on terrorism and suicide bombers


And Rumi Forum sites:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fethullah Gulen's Message to International Conference held in Indonesia

A recent conference in Indonesia highlighting the educational model inspired by Fethullah Gulen was attended by numerous scholars and academics from the Asia-pacific region. Below is the message sent by Mr Fethullah Gulen

Fethullah Gulen Chair, Message to The Tenth International Fethullah Gulen Conference