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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

VIDEO - Towards an Islamic Enlightenment The Gulen Movement M. Hakan Yavuz

M. Hakan Yavuz offers an insightful and wide-ranging study of the Gulen Movement, one of the most imaginative developments in contemporary Islam. Founded in Turkey by the Muslim thinker Fethullah Gulen, the Gulen Movement aims to disseminate a ''moderate'' interpretation of Islam through faith-based education.

Its activities have fundamentally altered religious and political discourse in Turkey in recent decades, and its schools and other institutions have been established throughout Central Asia and the Balkans, as well as western Europe and North America. Consequently, its goals and modus operandi have come under increasing scrutiny around the world.

Yavuz introduces readers to the movement, its leader, its philosophies, and its practical applications. After recounting Gulen's personal history, he analyzes Gulen's theological outlook, the structure of the movement, its educational premise and promise, its financial structure, and its contributions (particularly to debates in the Turkish public sphere), its scientific outlook, and its role in interfaith dialogue. Towards an Islamic Enlightenment shows the many facets of the movement, arguing that it is marked by an identity paradox: despite its tremendous contribution to the introduction of a moderate, peaceful, and modern Islamic outlook-so different from the Iranian or Saudi forms of radical and political Islam-the Gulen Movement is at once liberal and communitarian, provoking both hope and fear in its works and influence.

M. Hakan Yavuz is a professor of political science at the University of Utah.Yavuz received his earlier education in Ankara, Turkey, graduated with B.A. from Siyasal Bilgiler Fakultesi, Ankara.  He received his M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and spent a semester at the Hebrew University, Israel (1990) and received his Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998 in political science. He has held MacArthur and Rockefeller fellowships.  He has taught at Waseda University in Tokyo, Central European University in Hungary, Sarajevo University in Bosnia, Manas University in Kirghizstan, and the Baku State University in Azerbaijan.

Yavuz published a number of books: Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gülen Movement (Oxford University Press, 2013); with Isa Blumi, War and Nationalism: The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913 and Their Sociopolitical Implications (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013 in press); with Peter Sluglett, War and Diplomacy: The 1877-78 Russo-Ottoman War (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2011); Secularism and Muslim Democracy in Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 2009); Islamic Political Identity in Turkey (Oxford University Press, 2003/2005); with John Esposito,  Turkish Islam and the Secular State (Syracuse University Press, 2003); The Emergence of a New Turkey: Democracy and the AK Parti (The University of Utah Press, 2006).

Yavuz also carried out an extensive fieldwork in the Middle East,in Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, and in the Balkans to examine the relationship between Islam and nationalism and the preservation and dissemination of Islamic knowledge under socialism.  He is an author of more than 40 articles on Islam, Islamic modernity, nationalism, Kurdish and Armenian questions, and modern Turkish politics.  He published in Comparative Politics, Middle East Critique, SAIS Review, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Central Asian Survey, Journal of Islamic Studies, and Journal of Palestine Studies. He is an editorial member of Middle East Critique and  Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.