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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet Movement, John Esposito, Georgetown University

I think that the Gulen movement is an extraordinarily unique movement. And it took me many years really to appreciate it. Because it was so different also because, it doesn’t advertise itself. So you have a movement that having a significant impact, locally and globally and yet it’s not as if they are always out there and you are facing in terms what they do. And when one first gets interested in it, you also begin to realize that at times because people don’t know or understand or because of the other people’s ideological agendas this is kind of negative are. But the fact is that the more and more that you get to know and engage the Gulen movement globally and all of its components, whether you look at it in Turkey and across the world and the components that are educational, social, cultural etc. what you see is a unique movement. Particularly as I look to Muslim world I don’t know of a movement that is as diverse in its impact, in terms of countries, in terms of sects of the society but also in terms of the areas that it has an impact, i.e. it is a movement that impacts the corporate sector, it can impact the political sector, the religious sector, social sectors, and do it an extraordinarily pluralistic way and that was also interesting.
When you get your average Muslim movement, social movement whatever, too often it’s focus is not as universal as it should be. Somewhere now are beginning to making adaptation but none has the track record: fifteen hundred schools across the world, various forums, Rumi, Niagara, inter-religious all across the world and doing that in a way that is able to at least as I see them in cities when I meet audiences they pull it a sectors of society and a community where I kind of wonder how did they get this people to come here? So I think it is a very significant movement in terms of its long term impact but also it is one that others will be wise to attempt to emulate.